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Aftertaste

I used to hate coffee. When Starbucks emerged in the market, I learned that there was a plethora of coffee I’m going to hate. Little did I know, a year after I joined The HERALDO FILIPINO, a distasteful flavor destined to ruin the socio-political adherence of this country will soon rise to power.

She was never new to me. I had seen her in magazines (my uncle’s adult magazines) and heard her girl group back when adults found it disturbing. When I hit pubescence, she taught me how to find that “spot” I was supposed to look out for, except that I never hit it nor tasted it. Tragic. She was a great educator on that part, I guess.

You see, we had a long and rigid way of uplifting women’s spirit and place in this patriarchal society, only to be tainted and ruined by few. For the past decades, government positions were mostly filled by men. That is why we rejoice every time a woman would take her place in Philippine politics with all the glory as her male counterparts. Yet problems persist when these women embody the rotting systemic oppression deemed to submerge the Filipinos in poverty and the new enemy, disinformation.

Her blog is not the kind of I barely read, and it is not interesting at all for my taste. However, I was baffled when this dancer turned blogger vacated the position of the Presidential Communications Operations Officer (PCOO) Assistant Secretary (Asec). It was a bittersweet phenomenon for the Filipino people. That time, I wanted my money (or my parents’ taxes) back. It was not clearly what we ordered for. But the greedy baristas have already served their poison menu, and it’s only a matter of time until the Filipino people take a sip of the toxic iced salted caramel mocha.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t intend to shame people because of their past choices nor of their sexuality and sexual preferences, but if their decisions as government officers deal with the lives of millions of people, that’s where the problem arises. No one wants their mind to be corrupted by a “fake news” peddler to pacify the anti-human tactics of a reactionary government. No one aims to mislead the people just to conceal human rights violations in every corner of the streets and ranges of mountains. No one wants to be represented in the United Nations by a person without the necessary and rightful credentials. Indeed, no one wants their coffee cold.

A woman wielding much power does not automatically make her an empowered one.

I remember when my ideological emancipation changed my perspective toward women as people who can change the world beyond their stereotypical household and feudal duties. Except that some women can really have imposed so much change, like shifting and warping the mindset of thousands of Filipino people through a business of disseminating disinformation in social media or oversimplifying and labeling people who denounce the tyrannical actions of the government as “dilawan.”

Fair warning: This is not how we define woman empowerment. A woman wielding much power does not automatically make her an empowered one. For an empowered woman will never be a pet of a macho-fascist leader nor blind herself with the terrible existing issues of the masses just to protect her political will and agenda. For she will respect all forms of human life instead of publicly committing ableist acts or lewdly explaining federalism through her blog. Empowered women are deemed to empower the people instead of deluding them. With the constant efforts of this government to divide and corrupt its people, it is imperative to remember that the enemy is the distorted principle, not the genitalia.

On October 4, the PCOO Asec. resigned from her position to have a “fair fight” with the people who criticized her. I was joyed for a moment for after less than two years, the cup was finally finished. A lot have died, been poisoned, and have fallen to the trap. But the fight continues, as the aftertaste is screaming stronger than the initial sip. There’s a lot more bitter coffee to be served, and if the baristas successfully curate this one, a “fake news peddler” might possibly have her own seat in the Senate.

This is a reminder and a fair warning that despicable women like her draw their power from criticisms and media buzz. It does not matter whether people agree or disagree with her. As long as her name peddles across media platforms and mouths, she will continue to gain her strength. Aside from voting and taking the streets to call out the perpetrators and oppressors, one thing that will silence her is to dismiss her sole existence. Do not pick the least tasteful from the menu. Soon enough, it will be gone, and the baristas will never make it available again. This is the reason why I did not name her. For silence truly kills the enemy.

An iced grande decaf, two-shot, six pumps caramel, soy, extra whipped cream salted caramel mocha please. Not for the 2019 Elections, by the way. Thank you.