Saturday, March 31, 2007

Look at Ducat

Last Wednesday, 56-year-old philanthropist/civil engineer, Armando “Jun” Ducat, held hostage 26 children and four teachers from the day care center which he himself owned. The hostage crisis, as reporters called it, ran for about ten hours. It wasn’t unplanned. Ducat chose the perfect people to hold captive, the perfect place to stage his scene, the perfect ammunition to intimidate the authorities, the perfect banner to explain what he was doing, and the perfect speech to deliver his exact message.

Now Ducat is in jail for going nuts from 9 AM to 7 PM last March 28, 2007. The Palace seemed to imply that Ducat has embarrassed our country with his strong conviction and faulty execution. He threatened the lives of innocent children whose parents trusted him, no matter if he ensured that the kids get their toys and Jolly Kiddie Meals the whole time he held them captive. Unarmed and off the spotlight, Ducat is sentenced to pay for his debatably terroristic move.

The government reprimanded the media for being too involved in the crisis, for meddling in the negotiations, for giving Ducat the voice that he wanted, and for letting the mad assailant come out as a hero. The media overdid their part but that’s what they do these days, isn’t it? I wonder why the Palace doesn’t scold the media for overexposing irritating senatorial wannabes, the likes of whom Ducat especially enrage against?

Almost everyone related to Ducat had their few minutes of fame during the span of the hostage. None said anything against him. In fact, everyone was giving testimonials of praise as to how great a man Ducat is, how he helps people in need, how he gives to his community without hesitation, how he uttered that morning his intention to fight for the mahihirap. It has become a bit difficult to think badly of the day’s supposed antagonist.

The truth is, Ducat didn’t need money for he himself had wealth. He was insisting that the children who were with him in the bus and others more be ensured of proper education. He was demanding a housing project, not for himself, but for the less fortunate. And the whole time, he was ranting about rotten politicians and how much of a connoisseur they can be when it comes to graft and corruption.

As reported in PDI’s front page last Thursday, “Ducat’s spiel was both pathetic, hilarious and painfully true.” [BLOGGER’s NOTE: Can somebody explain to me what the “both” is doing in that sentence?] I couldn’t agree more. And while listening at the head-drilling sound of the AM radio in the office, I could not help but find great resemblance between Ducat’s passion and that of the old guy in Rizal’s novel whom we all know as Pilosopo Tasyo. Then I got home to see Ducat’s 7-PM-get-glued-to-your-seat-yet-anticlimactic surrender. And what do you know? Ducat did look like Pilosopo Tasyo!

What Ducat did was inarguably crazy. No question about that. However, he did us all a favor. He did what most of us felt like doing at one point in our lives—maybe while checking our tax deductions on our pay slips, or while finding ourselves stuck in a queue in a hostile government agency, or while being trapped in any possible frustrating situation in our own country. The thing is, Ducat had a point which majority of us share, but he was the only one bold enough to find a way to get it across.

Maybe I am suffering from the so-called Stockholm syndrome for admiring Ducat—the bad guy, the terrorist. But with what he did, fighting for the overlooked rights of most Filipinos in a creative way he could muster then having the decency to face the consequence of his actions, I find him more ballsy than anyone holding office in today’s government. Even gutsier than Chavit Singson and Bong Revilla who both owe him the media mileage he provided—the former for his senatorial candidacy and the latter for his acting career.

Ducat could have stayed at home for the whole of Wednesday. Then no kid’s or teacher’s life would have been threatened, no embarrassing media frenzy—both local and global—would have commenced, no interruption for Manila’s business would have taken place, no tough day for the police and everyone who were part of the crisis management group would have happened.


Had Ducat stayed at home, no one would have exposed that no matter how good we are at trying to be nonchalant about it, we are in a crisis. Our kid’s, our teacher’s, and our people’s lives are constantly at risk. We get bad publicity here and abroad every now and then. Business in Manila and the rest of our cities get disrupted for various reasons, mostly pathetic ones. We have such thing as the police and a crisis management group which should have a tough day considering that our crime rate is, well, far from zero.

We all did this. We and the government defamed our own country one way or another just by looking after ourselves, not after our nation as a whole, in pursuing our dreams. We are all guilty. And the funny part is, Ducat might have absolved himself from the guilt we all share by rising above us, by magnifying the hostage crisis we inflicted our own country.

We need not go as extreme as Ducat and run amok. God, that will make Ducat’s efforts futile! Ducat shouldered the hard part for us. Perhaps we all just have to wake up. That way, last Wednesday’s issue will be last Wednesday’s issue. And Ducat would be able to go back to bed without having to plan his fourth hostage just to make sure we won’t forget.

I guess it is about time we look at not just Ducat but ourselves in order for us to move forward.


mr.pencil said...

I was amazed on what Ducat did at Maynila last wed. Parang nagsalita siya sa hangin. narinig kaya ng pamahalaan natin 'yun?!

Hindi lahat naiintindihan si Ducat. Pero ako, malinaw ang isipan kong tama ang ginawa at the same time, mali ang pamamaraan ni Ducat.

I remembered Simoun of El Filibusterismo. Sometimes, we need to create scandal to wake up many Filipinoes especially our givernment. I am not fully against the government. What I'm telling is, even our government needs to wake up. They need to hear the cries of some Filipinoes who are in the poverty line. On the other hand, I can say that Ducat was unsuccessful on what he did because he used wrong way of outcrying.

Pero, hangga talaga ako kay Ducat.

call me tye said...

Ducat used the wrong means to make noise and I believe that he shouldn't go unpunished for it.

Pero ang tapang niya. Perhaps, he'd go to heaven (or something) for his effort to wake us all up.

He was unsuccesful because his story is done. Wala na siya sa balita. Balik na naman sa normal ang bansa natin.

Naghhilik na naman tayo.

La Luminescenza del Cerchio di Luce said...

this article is so familiar! parang kagabi may ine-edit akong ganito ah!


more power to you, tye! thanks for taking note of my suggestions. PDI needs a writer like you!

palanca, maghintay ka!!! =)

-tye- said...

bogart from left a comment at my Go LB! post:

His actions were indeed crazy, yet, necessary.