AS THE BAMBOOS SWAY | Ang Probinsiyano and Philippines Superstructure


Ang Probinsiyano, a popular teleserye in the Philippines which is also aired for Filipinos abroad by ABS-CBN, is a specific example of part of the Philippine Superstructure that I wrote about in my last column. To reiterate, superstructure is the conglomeration of political, social, cultural, media control of the government, largely lorded by landlords, to maintain the status quo in the Islands – meaning, for the ruling classes to cover up the exploitative nature of the relationship between landlords and peasants, capitalists and workers, government bureaucracy and the people, and the armed forces and the people. Covering up means entertaining the people, driving wedges among them, and feeding them misleading information through the educational system, mainstream news media, entertainment shows, sports, social media, etc.

The current Ang Probinsiyano is an offshoot of a 1997 late Fernando Poe, Jr.’s flick of the same title. Now top billed with Coco Martin as Cardo, as a SAF police trooper turned vigilante embedded with a rebel group, Pulang Araw, it is a myriad of events depicting conflicts among politicians, drug lords, armed battles between the armed forces and law breakers and rebels, love relationships, betrayals, etc.

It has been running smoothly, having a ton of viewers – what with the handsome features of Coco Martin as Cardo, a man from the province who is battling for justice, exacting vengeance, and exuding romantic drama – since its 2015 debut. It has all the ingredients of a superstructure conforming to entertaining viewers; and distracting them from the realities of soaring prices of basic goods and services, government shenanigans, and hiding well the causes of general social and economic maladies, and realizing the solutions to these maladies…

…until the plot turned into depicting the realities of the corruption within the police forces which directly points to the corrupt president who has the police forces as its tentacles for coercion against the people.

The toleration has to be stopped.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Ano is now considering legal actions against the producers of the longest running teleserye. He says, “I am dismayed on how ‘Ang Probinsiyano’ depicts the PNP organization. They are intentionally sending a wrong message to the public which is demoralizing the ranks of the Philippine National Police (PNP).”

It was the PNP Chief Dr. Gen. Oscar Albayalde who had earlier expressed his dismay over the negative depictions. Lawmaker Senator Panfilo Lacson, who also once served as police chief, chimed in saying that although it is said that Ang Probinsiyano is “pure fictional,” the show transgresses the regulations of the PNP. Albayalde has since ordered all units of the PNP to withdraw all support from the show – use of vehicles, uniforms, and other paraphernalia.
That is as if the PNP is not involved in rape, extortion, extra judicial killings, drug transactions, robberies, or the perennial ‘kutong’. Only done by scalawags the police gods may say but still done by PNP forces which Ang Probinsiyano could be depicting of late.

So, now with the superstructure not doing its purpose of distracting the people from the realities of life in terms of Ang Probinsiyano, same controllers of the superstructure are going to use the legal superstructure angle of the law. They are going to sue the producers of the show unless they change or redirect the plot to deodorize the PNP.

This tells us that the law is only written and acceptable only when not pricked by the people. The constitution guarantees freedom of expression. The PNP, as a public entity, is subject to scrutiny and criticism. The moves contemplated by the DILG and the PNP is blatant censorship but would use it as the superstructure tells they could do it.

To digress, it is the same superstructure that could be manipulated by Albayalde saying that they should be lenient to the convicted plunderer former First Lady Imelda Marcos because she is old and that she might get angry. She could not be shackled. In fact, she was able to post bail because she has seven illnesses although she could party and still run for public office in the coming elections. Contrast this to the imprisonment of the National Democratic Front Consultant Vicente Ladlad who is suffering from illnesses and should have not even been arrested by virtue of his being a peace process consultant.

Nonetheless, to reiterate, the superstructure to control the minds of the people so the ruling class could maintain the status quo do exist. The aspects of it are manifested in their covering up the maladies of society through entertainment, as in the case of the Ang Probinsiyano that has now gone south against the status quo and must now be restrained.

Unless the people could get over the distractive essence of the superstructure like the other teleseryes and shows, sports divisiveness, the educational system – all designed to draw the people away from the reasons why there are soaring prices of goods, why the culture of provincialism is encouraged, and others – they will not be united in identifying the reasons for these maladies and finding the solutions to them.

After all, it is time for ‘probinsiyanos’ to break away from being depicted as ‘mangmang’.#


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