Apparently in the last 24 hours or so one of the topics, and videos that went viral is this video of a certain Robert Blair Carabuena physically harassing a Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) official. According to the information that was obtained before he deleted his social network accounts, he is a graduate of Ateneo de Manila University. He currently works as a recruitment executive at tobacco company Philip Morris.
I am not a fan of the MMDA. Frankly, the rotten apples that exist in the basket of our “traffic enforcers” spoil the rest of the bunch. I do believe, however, that no MMDA official deserves to be treated like that just for doing his/her job, certainly not the MMDA official who was at the receiving end of it all, Saturnino Fabros.
If you read the commentary on blogs and websites across the Philippine scene, you will definitely find no shortage of outrage. I have yet to find any comment praising Carabuena for what he did. Commentators who left their mark on websites have gone as far as to call for equivalent physical harm to Carabuena.
There is just one question I have for all those who showed outrage: Why are you angry now?
Is it a sign that we’re finally showing a distaste for impunity as a society? Is it because we couldn’t imagine ourselves going as far as to physically manhandle an MMDA official? Is it perhaps because he got caught on camera? Or is it perhaps because outrage has become a fad that Filipinos just jump on to naturally?
Why aren’t enough people showing outrage when they see someone attempting to bribe officials for traffic violations? Why aren’t people showing enough outrage for jaywalkers and litterers caught in flagrante delicto? And why aren’t people showing outrage when people in power, government officials for example, go around pompously expecting everyone to bow down to them? The same officials who cry “Do you know who I am?” when simply asked to follow rules?
To give Filipinos the benefit of the doubt, perhaps they are. The peculiar thing about Filipino indignation, is that historically it dissipates just as quickly as it flares up. In other words, Pinoys are quick to go back to happy and don’t-give-a-fuck mode after they’re through being “outraged”. Yet there exists the other side to Pinoy rage: they take everything personally. They nurse grudges, and entire clans have gone to war just because of a “perceived slight”.
It’s ironic that we Filipinos cringe at the use of violence against law-enforcers, but we seemingly ignore that there are other numerous smaller violations that deserve equal notice. Beating the red light, jaywalking, not throwing your trash in the proper places; people do this every single day. But no one else wants to raise the stink! Or if they do, the typical Pinoy response is: “What’s the use? Everybody does it anyway. Can you apprehend and correct them all?”
Pinoy-style indignation and Pinoy-style morality can be summarized in one simple phrase:
“It’s only deplorable if other guys are doing it.”
Double standards, defeatist attitudes, diminishing outrage, and downright disgusting behavior. These are the trademarks of a society where impunity has all but become the norm. It is in this respect that Carabuena’s case can serve as the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
The challenge to our society now is this: are we now going to have more respect for the law after this? Will this put an end to the “palusot” mentality we have for even small transgressions?
We Filipinos need to learn to discipline ourselves into following rules. We Filipinos need to stop putting ourselves above the law. And we Filipinos need to learn to stop being so goddamn emo.
And so I heard that the MMDA will be filing a case against Carabuena. Well and good; let’s just not hope that the case doesn’t amount to an “amicable settlement” which Carabuena seems capable of.
This should serve as a wake-up call to the MMDA and government: take care of your law enforcers, for crying out loud. Teach them to diffuse tense situations. Teach them even basic self-defense. It definitely took a lot of courage or “intestinal fortitude” as they call it in wrestling, for Fabros to just stand there and take it. Interpreted another way, it will embolden any stupid egotistic Pinoys left to keep defying the law. That MMDA officials are pussy-whips is the impression that any morons left will get.
Personally, I wish Fabros would have laid the smack down on Carabuena. Not only would the guy have been arrested anyway, he would have been in for the shock of his life too.
[Photo courtesy EllenTordesillas.com.]