AS THE BAMBOOS SWAY | The Salamangkero and the Saints


The latest uproar of Catholics against President Rodrigo ‘Digong’ Duterte is his exclaiming “Sabagay itong t****** talaga itong mga Katolikong p***. Bakit naman may All Souls’ Day tapos may All Saints’ Day? Hindi nga natin alam kung sino ‘yang mga santo na ‘yon. Sino ‘yung mga g*** na ‘yon? Mga lasenggo.” He also gave the Catholics an alternative, saying, “Get hold of a picture of mine. ‘Yan ang ilagay niyo sa altar – Santo Rodrigo.”

Like a salamangkero who make things vanish, viola! Duterte again padded the eyes of the Filipinos away from the relevant negative issues against his regime. Instead of the concentrated discussion on the dog-sniffed Php11B shabu smuggled through the Bureau of Customs by his believed henchmen, the burgeoning price skyrocketing effect on products and services due of the TRAIN Law, the extra judicial killings, the China invasion of the Philippine seas, and others; the people are veered away by discussing instead his mental health. Catholic prelates are asking that their parishioners pray for him to get well instead of kicking him out of Malacañang. Of course, his current spokesperson said that he was only joking. His justification is that the audience at Digong’s saintly discourse was laughing.

To reiterate, Digong mocking the saints as stupid and drunkards generated a veneer to blanket the eyes of Filipinos from the negative issues of his government. For a time, people will discuss whether he is sane or not, whether he will go to hell or not, whether he is joking or not. And when this saintly matter will fade away, he is, for sure, going to whisk his salamangkero hand again to hide his regime’s faults.

Whenever there are grave issues that affects his government, he throws nonsense out there like calling God stupid last June 23, 2018. He kissed a married woman on the lips which caused a controversy. He talked about wanting to be spit upon by beautiful women and would return such spit including his into their mouths. He told the members of the police to rape three women and he will answer for them. Anything illogical, he will throw out there to sway discussions away from the shenanigans in his government.

Nonetheless, veering away from discussion of say, Digong protecting drug lords in contrast to his saying, “I hate drugs” and the like, let’s talk about his presumed stupid and drunkard saints.
the throng of saints would be the apostles and their disciples. They became saints because they dedicated themselves to preaching and living the precepts of Jesus Christ – to the extent of making the ultimate sacrifice – their dying for the sake of getting the word out there, that of to “serve your neighbor” as the highest commandment.

According to the story in the bible, even after Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead and ascended into heaven, the apostles and disciples were still afraid that they holed themselves in underground houses. On Pentecost, however, or after 50 days, the Holy Ghost descended upon their heads in the form of a dove and they were enlightened and became courageous to spread out into the world to preach Christlike service.

The consequence?

The leader of the pack, the first pope, St. Peter was crucified upside down in 67 A.D. in Rome and buried where the Basilica which now bears his name stands. The convert former Saul, St. Paul, was beheaded in the same year also in Rome. St. Thomas died with the thrust of a spear in Mylapore, India. St. Philip was also crucified in Dodici, Rome. St. Jude of Thaddeus was felled with arrows in Rome. The first bishop of Jerusalem in 50 A.D., St. James the Less was stoned to death in 65 A.D. also in Rome. St. James the Greater was stabbed with a sword at Compostela, Spain. St. Matthew was also stabbed with a sword in Salerno, Italy. St. Simon was crucified at the Vatican. St. Bartholomew was flayed and beheaded in Rome. St. Andrew was crucified on an ‘X’ shaped cross in Amalti, Italy. St. Matthias was also crucified in Judea. Only St. John died of a natural death in 100 A.D. at Ephesus, Turkey.

The prevailing question is why did the apostle saints have to be persecuted by the state, killed by their soldiers, crucified? What was the message of Jesus Christ that they preached that so infuriated the Roman regime in particular? Was it just that Christ said that the ultimate commandment is to serve your neighbor? If we note that Christ, at the age of 12, was already debating with the Pharisees and was mostly with the poor in his 30s, were there issues lost in the translation and publishing of the Bible. Why was the Roman empire so infuriated with him that they had Him captured, flogged, and eventually crucified?

What was Christ and the apostles preaching about that they had to be silenced? What were they propagating that they are referred to as martyrs?

Is the Bible not complete? Were there censorships in its being compiled during the time of Roman Emperor Constantine the Great? Note that as emperor, he heads the state that persecuted Jews and he had control of what might be called the social media at that time. And who made him a Saint?

Eerie that Digong calls himself now, too, Santo Rodrigo?

I ask these questions because I see a historical metaphor on the conditions prevailing in the Philippines and elsewhere right now. Why are those in the government, to me the modern pharisees, so furious and against those who question policies deemed inimical to the interest of the people? Why do they try to silence the likes of Senators Leila Delima and Antonio Trillanes? Why are advocates for the peasants, workers, generally the poor tagged as terrorists, imprisoned, gunned down? Are the armed forces the modern Roman soldiers who are used by the empire to persecute the saints?

I am only asking questions. Perhaps, if we contemplate enough, we could have answers. For this I am thanking the salamangkero because, although he was covering up more important issues, these questions surfaced with his bashing the saints, who, true or not, he calls gago and lasengero.#