NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 23 October) — So nothing is absolutely bad at all. Despite of, or because of the outrageousness of the Duterte regime, two Filipinos have reached the pinnacle of glory and brought honor and prestige to our blighted land, namely, Olympic gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz and Nobel Prize awardee Maria Ressa.
President Duterte will go down in history, too, with the historic achievements. The future generation will learn that without him, the course of history might be different. It will be known by all and sundry that the legendary achievers rose from the heap of muck and trash thrown at them by his repressive regime and came out shinning, vindicated.
Both Hidilyn and Maria were red-tagged in 2019 as among those in the list of personalities who allegedly planned to remove Duterte from the Palace.
It’s difficult to forget the nauseating smirk of Palace legal adviser Salvador Panelo when he showed to the public, in TV, a copy of the matrix of those scheming to overthrow the Duterte regime.
Diaz, who was preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic, earlier voiced the extreme lack of support for athletes in the Philippines. This likely cost her the red tag. The ouster plot matrix turned out a hoax. But the damage had been done. Portrayed as a communist ally, Hidilyn began to fear not only for her security and safety but most of all for the members of her family who were at the receiving end of trolling assault and who had become a pariah in their community.
Nonetheless, Hidilyn braved through the chilling episode and brought home the gold.
Maria Ressa, on the other hand, founder and CEO of Rappler, an online publication, was also red-tagged apparently for having inconvenienced the Duterte regime with its critical stories on the drug war and human rights violation, unbridled corruption, incompetent response to the pandemic, cowardly response to Chinese aggression in West Philippine Sea and other issues and concerns of national interest. For standing for press freedom and truth, she has been charged of cyber-libel crime for an alleged offense committed months before the passage of the cyber-crime law; was arrested, convicted (on appeal); and banned from leaving the country. Ressa and Rappler are faced with around a dozen of lawsuits that include several violations of tax law and rules and regulations of the Security and Exchange Commission, all obviously aimed to silence her and shutdown the news organization for good. Moreover, Ressa and her staff were viciously trolled – threatened with rape and physical violence, and the burning of their headquarters.
Maria Ressa stood tall, from the repression and humiliation, and plucked the Nobel Prize.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)