Who's destabilizing who?

In the streets around MalacaƱang - I was on my way to a wake - there are streamers, lots of them. "Yes to peace through federalism," they say. "No to destabilization." The signs were put up by a group calling themselves People Power Against Destabilization and for Democracy.

Par for the course, considering the ongoing battle towards what "people power" really means. This side is claiming that the people did not really benefit from the return of democracy - that only the elites benefited, that only the elites are benefiting, while the masses continue to have their faces smashed in the mud. This side, they say that this, this is real people power. Rodrigo Duterte is leading real people power, and he is leading real change, and this will bypass the forces that have screwed the masses over and over: the oligarchs, the Catholic church, the media, the liberal elites. Screw them.

Part of that narrative is how those forces are now banding together to take away this one golden opportunity to bring real, lasting change to the Philippines. There's the biased mainstream media, funded by the Americans and the oligarchs, maybe, bent on painting Duterte's every reform in a bad light, covering all his speeches for the slightest hint of outrage to splash on their physical and virtual pages.

There are the international organizations that can only criticize Duterte, never mind that they're out there in their safe comfy offices and not in the dirty streets of the Philippines that he is actually cleaning up. Why spout such bullshit when they can easily come here and see for themselves how much better things are becoming?

There are the oligarchs looking to undermine our dear president by putting him in compromising situations, although thankfully his love for country is stronger than his financial needs. He's always said his government is not corrupt, and will never be corrupt - and he always means what he says.

There are the members of the evil Liberal Party, led by that bitchy witch Leni Robredo, who is not the saint the deluded yellowtards make her to be, if those "leaks" are true - and they must be, because they have been suppressed by the biased media, and someone worked hard to leak them! These evil people - they only want power for themselves. They want all the riches for themselves. Screw the real will of the people (or the 39% of the voting population that voted for Duterte) and continue to screw them over so they can live beyond comfortably. They caused Mamasapano and Luisita and Yolanda and the Quirino Grandstand. Why should they be trusted?

And so, that familiar line has returned to the discourse: "destabilization plot".

There is always a destabilization plot against the president. Any president. Duterte is saying so, or at least his acolytes are. Noynoy Aquino said so, too, or maybe his acolytes did. I'm pretty sure Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said those words herself, in the aftermaths of several failed coups and the several knee-jerk responses to them. There's something about the term that triggers those panic-causing alarm horns. Destabilization plot. You conjure images of force, of bloodshed, maybe of a tank ramming through the elegant lobby of a five-star hotel. It's amazing, if not disarming, how this term still holds the power it has despite it being used so often.

But things are different this time around, of course. There's an added tinge of menace behind the accusations - or perhaps it's because I'm of the thinking that Duterte might impose authoritarian rule, might clamp down on some, or all, of our freedoms, might lead us adrift because he wants to be seen as a hero who loved his country more than anyone. Or maybe it's because of his sycophants, both in elected office and in unblocked social media accounts, the former railroading their agenda just to keep up impressions of change, the latter breathlessly celebrating these moves, and attacking anyone who dissents as a plant, a paid troll, a yellowtard that must be vanquished for good.

I don't know. It just feels menacing to me. We've reached a point where everybody is politically engaged, and it's an all-or-nothing thing. Either you love your country or you don't. And if you love your country, why are you not with us? Why are you with the destabilizers? Look, we're making progress! We're not just correcting the mistakes of that bald yellow idiot, but going beyond his wildest dreams. Why are you with the destabilizers? Do you understand? This is the only opportunity we have for real change! And our dear president is being surrounded by forces that want to topple him. We might fight to preserve and protect the president, so he can bring real change! To change, we must preserve! Change! Preserve!

Or maybe it's the sinister-sounding names of some of the groups supporting him, and their blind, fanatical devotion to someone who has yet to prove his worth on the national stage.

And your responses...

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