With one tweet, actor John Arcilla just described how Filipinos view politics and why we should change it entirely.
Did you read this in his voice? Or perhaps you pictured his most iconic character to date: Heneral Antonio Luna, from the popular TBA-produced biopic Heneral Luna?
This tweet coincidentally came just minutes before the Laging Handa briefing, when people would usually tune in to hear the latest updates about the government’s COVID-19 response.
His tweet perfectly summarizes the current political climate in the country and how Filipinos see it: an official being a “messiah” of some sort.
Hanggat HARI at DIYOS ang tingin ng mamamayan sa mga Opisyal ng bayan HINDI MAGBABAGO ang Bayan natin. HINDI MAGBABAGO ang mundo. Ang pagiging OPISYAL ay hindi PREBILIHIYO kundi isang OPORTUNIDAD PARA MAGLINGKOD. Tumingin tayo sa mga bayang MAUNLAD.
— John Arcilla official (@JohnArcilla) November 9, 2020
It hits those who are called die-hard supporters of President Rodrigo Duterte—often referred to as DDS—head on.
The President’s supporters have sung nothing but praises both for him and those he has appointed, particularly the likes of recently-appointed top cop Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas and former PhilHealth president and CEO Ricardo Morales.
Arcilla’s tweet also points towards the kind of politics that has hindered the growth of Philippines since we gained independence from the Spaniards: public officials seeing public office as a birthright.
Duterte, however, has stressed to ALL public officials that they serve the Filipino people, not the other way around. He raised this point in the midst of the leadership row between former House Speaker Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano and current House Speaker Rep. Lord Allan Velasco.
This puts at least Duterte’s and Arcilla’s thoughts in the same train of thought.
Arcilla’s tweet also ties in with this tweet roughly a month ago:
MAGKAIBA HO ANG LUMALABAN SA GOBYERNO AT PUMUPUNA sa MGA HINDI EPEKTIBONG OPISYAL.Ang PAGPUNA HO ay PARTISIPASYON AT PAGMAMAHAL SA BAYAN; KARAPATAN ng NAGBABAYAD NG BUWIS AT BAHAGI NG SINASABI NATING KALAYAAN. Wag ho sanang MAGULUHAN ang ISIP NG ATING MGA MAMAMAYAN.
— John Arcilla official (@JohnArcilla) October 5, 2020
In it, we see the man often referred to as Heneral throwing a bone towards those who love to criticize the critics, calling them out for saying government critics are “detractors” against success.
This has been a constant theme seen in the DDS crowd’s replies to social media posts critical of the Duterte administration, particularly when it comes from other government officials.
It’s also a troubling pattern seen in the Duterte administration’s response towards its critics.
When health care workers (HCW) asked the President to place Metro Manila under an enhanced community quarantine, Duterte lambasted then by saying something along the lines of “destabilizing the government.”
All of that when the HCWs asked merely to be given a few days of reprieve from the rising cases due to the government relaxing quarantine protocols and allowing more people to go out unprotected from COVID-19.
Arcilla’s tweet highlights every Filipino’s part in nation-building—calling out government officials for corrupt practices.
Arcilla currently stars in ABS-CBN’s primetime program FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano as Renato Hipolito, a former government official who has been dealing with shady personalities while posing as a just and true public official.