[July 2, 2005]

“He is JUST a guard” and we, the press have no right in branding him as a “creature of the night” or calling the guard names in jest or just for the fun of it the “open-minded” president said as the discussions crawled to his “favorite” employee who I had the dishonor of arguing with months ago. Funny, the order of the “bored-room” meeting was supposed to be about the recommendation letter but here we have the “open-minded” president slyly veering away from that order.
 
About the alleged names or jokes intended for the “open-minded” president’s “favorite employee”, did you know that laughter or satire is what the hopeless do to regain hope? J. Mercado opined that “humor is a “leveler.” It exposes the foibles of people in high office, thus bringing them down to company of ordinary men” Take the Erap jokes for instance or to be more up-to-date, look at the “Gloria-gate” jokes. Jokes “represent a collective intimacy, a sign that people belong and, consequently, that they entertain hope” according to Lukes and Galnoor. “Laughter is the most potent weapon of the powerless in this country” De Quiros observes.
 
What is more deadly? A president who thinks that his employee is merely an employee or, in this case, “JUST” a guard? Or me who thinks that no one is just someone? For everybody is somebody. And we all have equal share in starring roles in this drama that we call life. No one is JUST a guard, or JUST a cabdriver, or JUST a president, or JUST a writer.
 
A president who is resigned to the fact that his employee is JUST a guard thinks nothing more of him. “He is JUST a guard and he will be a guard all his life.” How can an “open-minded” president say that? That is his “personal truth.” What is universally true is that no one really knows what’s in our destiny. He may be JUST a guard now as the “open-minded” president sees it or wants it to be. But does he really know that? How about you? Well, who knows? No one! He may become president one day or he may be JUST a guard for the rest of his life. But for now, we have to wait and see and not think like God in the guise of protecting one’s employee.
 
You do not protect anyone by babysitting for them when they are old enough to fend for themselves. It is not the question if you protected someone by taking him into your fold thereby erasing all clues for ambition rather it is the question if you let them experience the world and let them see, try and open their eyes to the prospect of greatness.
Maybe that is how the “open-minded” president sees everyone—beneath him and no where to go and no chance to grow. Maybe that is why there is no employee’s union. And the greatest insult of it all, the “open-minded president even tried to patronize us. “You, you will all go on to be someone someday, but the guard he will JUST be a guard” he said. Condescending is bullshit and the overrated “open-minded” president can stick all his bullshit, his “sipsip” and “super duper sipsip” advisers and employees up his ass or his mouth where it truly belongs and let it stay there!
 
And now as I say my farewell to the publication I do not say goodbye to the staff and friends that I met. I am leaving the paper not because of the staff but because all the “politics” that I hated in our present government system has found its way in what I thought as an institution where ideals are formed, held in high regard and nurtured. I am no hero and I am not in any order to make the world a better place. All I wanted was to write and express myself. And I do not regard my work to be of level with Jose Rizal or Conrad De Quiros. I also do not think of what I write as a spark to be able to ignite a revolution or propagate world peace. I just enjoy writing.
 
I entered the Magdalo office one year ago half a man as I am when I exited that “bored-room” meeting. I’m surely going to miss everyone and everything we did. Maybe I’ll write for a new paper. Maybe I’ll find a new publication that is so promising with ideals just like Magdalo a year ago without the hassles of an “open-minded” president. But there is one thing I am sure of, I could never again find the feeling I had working with Magdalo 04-05.
 
We could never find paradise if we thought of it as a place or a sanctuary. Paradise finds you, not the other way around. It truly is not where you go. There are no hidden maps or lost compasses to help you go there. Paradise is the feeling you feel for a moment in your life and if that moment finds you, there can be no good byes or farewells. Magdalo 04-05 is a paradise, it is that moment, it is that bliss. And if that moment also finds you like it found me, you’ll also know that it will last forever.