(Statement of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte on Archbishop Soc Villegas’ letter to the late Cardinal Jaime Sin on the commemoration of the 31st anniversary of People Power 1986. This statement was distributed to the media by the City Information Office via e-mail).
I recently read a letter to the late Cardinal Sin by Archbishop Soc Villegas and I was so disturbed by the rant that I decided take out my pen from retirement and practice once again the only talent that I have, writing.
On the evening of February 25, 1986, I was playing in dreamland when my father interrupted my slumber and told me to get dressed because we have to go downtown.
While we were huddled in the car, he told us, “Timan-i ninyo ning gabhiona ni. Ayaw ninyo kalimti.” (In English this means: Remember this night. Do not forget).
I have a memory of myself standing on the stairs of the San Pedro church bell tower, listening to the incessant ringing of the bells. I did not understand what was happening, but I surmised that it must be something very important because my father had to get me out of bed to watch cheering and partying adults on the streets.
Fast forward to 2017 and I would now say that the celebration of the 1986 EDSA revolution is important but only to commemorate what we did for our country on a certain period in our history.
I find it hard to understand why this bloodless revolution has become the standard definition of freedom for our country and this standard is forced down our throats by a certain group of individuals who think they are better than everyone else. These are the elite and their friends, including Archbishop Villegas.
Oh, dear Archbishop. How dare you say that my father has singlehandedly defaced the memory of the EDSA revolution.
Since 1986 and until seven months ago, I remember that our nation has been hounded by corruption, crime, territorial war of gangs and druglords, extrajudicial killings, narco politics, terrorism, protracted rebellion, abuse of power in government, political bickering and the entry of foreign mafias.
It surely did not start when President Duterte took office.
He won the Presidency precisely because you ignored what was wrong with this world. All you desired was to put into power a leader who walks and talks like you — someone who is definitely not Rodrigo Duterte.
When your friend failed as a President, I cannot remember you calling it the rape of EDSA. You just swept it under your glitzy rugs and you moved on, back to business — back to acting as if you can save us all from hell.
Your group is sadly a bunch of delusional hypocrites. While all of you were up there riding high on your horses, you failed to notice that many of us down here empathize with what Rodrigo Duterte is saying because it is the hard truth. It is truly without the air of hypocrisy that we smell from your kind.
How dare you call us pimps of the EDSA spirit and yet it is you who cannot accept what has happened to our country since 1986.
How dare you say that we are trying to prostitute the meaning of EDSA.
My father perfectly understood what the spirit of EDSA is, otherwise, he would not have told me to never forget that night of 31 years ago. And I now believe that he understands it better than you do.
You preach about freedom as if you invented it, as if it is your gift to us. Let me tell you what freedom is. It is to live a life that is free from your selective moral standard. This is what the meaning of EDSA is.
Unfortunately for you Archbishop Villegas, this is not a biased commentary on your letter to the dead because I am not a fan of President Duterte.
But you are truly, madly, deeply worse than a hundred President Dutertes.