Duterte’s 2016 campaign: the spectacle that brought us here. (Financial Times)

Writing this blog while the country’s novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) cases shoots up to over 800,000, to remember how things were almost five years ago is a note of pain.

Remember May 9, 2016?

It offered a great measure of hope, of something so alternatingly new, a fresh air from six years of a callous government’s wrath. A start-from-scratch restart after decades of state negligence, systemic theft, and economic oppression across different presidents. An alteration — a radical overhaul, even — of the rotting socioeconomic order.

What we are now seeing is the starkest reversal of that change.

This is…

Failed plan equates to failed leadership. (JL Javier)

“Pandemic fatigue” is not an unseen folly.

It’s the natural consequence of the miasma that is Rodrigo Duterte’s failure to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s like a ticking bomb waiting to explode, a booby trap that we have stepped on when the country cruised into the lockdown’s first year. We were all waiting to see the pandemic vanish in a few months’ time, to revert back to our state of normalcy after the country gradually slid back to a General Community Quarantine.

While presidential mouthpiece Harry Roque’s ridiculous pronouncement that “we beat UP,” referring to esteemed University of the Philippines…

Former president Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino and former vice president Salvador “Doy” Laurel during their inauguration on February 25, 1986.

The road to 1986 beckoned with an entanglement.

But so is the road to 2022.

How poetic, if not ironic, is it to witness history unfold itself once more, although under different sets of conditions and circumstances, in an eerily similar manner and dispensation?

To allow people to reflect and delve deeper into the challenges of today’s opposition force in the face of another upcoming electoral battle, there is a need to consult history itself.

Back to 1985.

As early as 1984, on the heels of the opposition’s sweeping victory in the 1984 Batasang Pambansa elections (whose victory can be…

Institutions are an important cog in the wheel of democracy, the integral cog that allows it to keep moving.


Wrote the historian Timothy Snyder, in his slim volume about dictatorships: “… institutions are deprived of vitality and function, turned into a simulacrum of what they once were.”

Institutions are an important cog in the wheel of democracy, the integral cog that allows it to keep moving. Without the shining knight of institutional balance, democracy is enervated and rendered vulnerable to the assault of right-wing dictatorship and demagoguery, which was what had happened in cyclical periods across the pages of world history. …

“It takes little effort to stop a tyrant. I have no doubt in the ultimate victory of right over wrong, of good over evil, in the awakening of the Filipino.” — Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino Jr.

‘Marcial Bonifacio’ could have chosen a different path. But he did not.

On the tenth year anniversary of his murder, Teodoro Benigno wrote this of Ninoy:

“What made [the fight] majestic was that Ninoy, even when almost everybody deserved him and his cause, held the conviction that the Filipino was worth dying for.”

Rarely in history do we witness a quintessential show of gallantry among men and women who would naturally seize political glory without fantasizing about heroically putting a lid on an emerging social volcano that stood beyond their elitist, plutocratic horizon. But Benigno “Ninoy” S. Aquino, Jr. …

The dictator was right about history. But so are we — we are not off his hook yet.


History’s shadowboxing with Ferdinand E. Marcos did not cease on February 25, 1986.

One could posit an initial claim that with the late dictator being dead for three decades already, his death because of lupus erythematosus had swept any issues and matters that he might have still had with history under the rug – for good. But such is not the case, not when the battle for his history remains an ongoing one because his kin stubbornly inches their way through his hollow heroism.

Marcos uttered in a recorded interview back in Hawaii during his first years of self-exile: “history…

Peasant activist Randall “Ka Randy” Echanis’ funeral. (GMA News)

(This is part of my submission series for our Creative Non-Fiction class.)

Way back in 2018, 72-year-old peasant activist Randall “Ka Randy” Echanis was one of the 600 individuals designated by the Department of Justice as “terrorists.”

Two years after, he was killed — right inside his home.

How gruesome, how macabre, could this execution of an activist be — not only as a final act of tragedy on Echanis’ life of activism and political participation, but more so as a mirror of our “democratic” spaces?

But that’s not the end of the tragedy.

Exactly a week after Echanis was…

Hacienda Luisita is a symbol.

Farm and sugar mill workers set up barricades in front of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac in Hacienda Luisita. WIth a wage of less than 5 dollars per week and a massive layoff of mill personnel, the workers called for a strike. (PHOTO | JEZ ASNAR)

From the era of Spanish-backed encomendia and hacienda systems — which allowed rich families of mestizo descent and members of the principalia to accumulate large tracts of land — to that precise moment when state forces opened fire on striking farmers and farmworkers of Luisita after ten days of barricades, Hacienda Luisita has always been the microcosm of the glaring disparity between the lords of the land and their “slaves,” of how political power is circumvented in favor of the cacique class, of how mere alteration of names sitting in Malacanang will not address the farmers’ call for land redistribution…

Distraction, deception, disinformation, indecision, and despotism are the five main mixes of the Duterte disaster.


While entire cities and provinces were submerged in floodwaters caused by the typhoon, Rodrigo Roa Duterte uttered these words:

Gusto kong pumunta doon, makipaglangoy nga sa inyo. Ang problema, pinipigilan ako kasi raw pag namatay ako, isa lang daw ang presidente.”

To a citizenry which had grown accustomed to the acoustics of a dilly-dallying and incoherent presidency, it’s only a page out of the Duterte playbook of incompetence. It’s another show of macho posturing — to feign concern for those who are devastated by the raging typhoon. But the image couldn’t come off any starker: while Marikina residents, including their…

Not even strict security protocols within the National Museum could prevent my protest. [Cue in: #MarcosNoHero]

(This is part of my submission series for our Creative Non-Fiction class.)

“I rebel; therefore, I exist.” — Albert Camus

My whole life, starting from the time of my father’s demise, can be summed up in one word: rebellion.

And I could not be any prouder of this titular privilege. It’s a badge of honor that I wear, even in a time when the mere mention of “rebel” wakes up the wicked consciousness of Antonio Parlade, Jr.

But we will get there.

Actually, my adolescent through adulthood years were so turbulent, exhilarating, exciting, mesmerizing, and intoxicating that I could tell you more amazing tales than when I was…

Karl Patrick Suyat

Campus journalist | writer | bookworm | activist | Filipino

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