‘Binola nya ako’ and the discourse of trolls

President BS Aquino at an APEC event. Photo by Ryan Lim/Malacanang Photo Bureau.
President BS Aquino at an APEC event. Photo by Ryan Lim/Malacanang Photo Bureau.

If we want to know where the Internet trolls get pointers on how to make the most unintelligent, most rotten and black as pozo negro commentary, look no further than the nation’s leaders and their apologists and how they “explain” themselves to citizens.

Here’s one outstanding example: “Binola nya ako”, the latest attempt of President BS Aquino to explain the bloody mess that was the Mamasapano incident.

Yes, this was the newest excuse of the president who is supposedly a graduate of the Ateneo de Manila, a former deputy speaker of the House, a former senator and the only son of democracy icons. As president, BS Aquino has the biggest executive office, with hordes of speechwriters, researchers and advisers to back him up. But he and his staff could only come up with “binola nya ako”.

Why he allowed himself to be conned, the president didn’t say.

“Binola nya ako” sounds hilarious but it is not, especially if we consider that: (1) the president did not respond to the request of the Board of Inquiry to fully cooperate in the investigation; and (2) he uttered the words in the run-up to the release of the BOI report. Even elementary school kids would think that the president was trying to influence the BOI by making such unpresidential noises.

Previously, President BS Aquino shocked the widows and other relatives of the fallen police commandos with absurd “explanations” such as:

“Kayo ba kapag kunwari itetext nyo friend nyo, ‘Kita tayo sa MOA,’ ganun lang ba kadali sa inyo na pumunta dun?”

“Ano gusto nyo gawin ko, kunin natin ang fingerprint ng mga kalaban? Aba madami iyun, para malaman natin sino pumatay sa mga kamag-anak nyo.”

“Tignan mo kung namumula ang mukha ko?”

“Namatay rin ang tatay ko, alam ko pakiramdam niyo kaya patas na rin tayo ngayon.”

“Naglalaro ka ba ng computer?”

In one of his televised national addresses about the Mamasapano incident, President BS Aquino called himself “Ama ng Bayan” and consequently the fallen SAF his sons, supposedly apologized, and also said he would bring the memory of the tragedy to his last days.

What he was apologizing for, he didn’t say. What he did as “Ama ng Bayan”, he didn’t say. What reasons made him accept the resignation of his BFF, former police chief Alan Purisima, he also didn’t say.

The public saw through the empty platitudes, and only the trolls and Yellow Army stragglers rejoiced over them.

This kind of thinking and explaining is not lost on President BS Aquino’s supporters and trolls. For example, Leah Navarro had this to say amid the nationwide uproar over her idol’s absence at the arrival in Manila of the SAF 44 remains: “So how many of those people who dissed the President’s absence from Villamor were actually there to condole?”

Just last year, the presidential spokesman also drew the ire of the public for making such statements like: “Yung MRT lang ba ang puwedeng sakyan doon sa mga rutang dinadaanan nito? Baka naman puwedeng matuklasan yung iba pang mga options.”

The nerve, right? This was in April 2014 when citizens were up in arms over the MRT mess and demanding accountability and reforms.

Throughout the scandal involving President BS Aquino’s pork barrel, called the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), Malacanang and its allies and supporters employed the plain double-talk in a vain attempt to skirt the issues.

For instance, even after the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional the acts and issuances that made DAP possible, the administration insisted they did not violate the law. Even as court likewise ruled that the authors of the DAP-related acts and issuances be held accountable, the administration went all out to defend them and whitewash their criminal records.

To deceive citizens and the international audience that steps are being taken to prosecute pork barrel criminals, the administration sued and arrested three opposition senators. President BS Aquino’s partymates and coalition partners are all safe and presumed innocent. This was the administration’s response to citizens’ simple call of “lahat ng sangkot, dapat managot”.

It is thus no surprise that President BS Aquino and his administration are drawing the ire of more and more people — even the most apolitical and most apathetic. Its responses to growing public protests over Mamasapano are dumb and amateurish, to say the least, and betray this government’s contempt and disrespect to the intelligence of citizens.

Members of Congress, who are mostly diehard supporters of President BS Aquino, are not doing anything better. The previous Senate hearings transmitted so many Islamophobic statements that demonized the Moro people, their history and legitimate struggle for their right to self-determination. Meantime, they were always careful not to point a finger at the Commander-in-Chief and the Chief Executive.

The stupid, demeaning and cynical kind of discourse coming from the administration and its supporters reflect the incompetent, morally-bankrupt, intellectually-deficient and anti-people character of its policies, programs and outlook.

If anyone wonders where the trolls get their ideas, they only have to look at Malacanang and the social media accounts of the creatures that inhabit or worship at those places. Those are the main sources of bad vibes and of the most unintelligent, most rotten and black as pozo negro commentary.

Time to fight back because we don’t deserve this kind of politics and the awful discourse it spawns. Gaya ng pozo negro, ang dapat sa kanila ay Malabanan.

First published in the Manila Bulletin op-ed section, 14 March 2015, second edition. Slightly edited for clarity.