i know, i know, many more were offended, shocked, outraged at the mayora’s mala-pacquiao attack on the sheriff, but in the context of a demolition scene gone violent, as usual, i could only enjoy the spectacle of sara duterte letting go with a one-two-three — you go, girl!
say ni renato reyes sa fb: reactions will vary depending on the class standpoint. sa urban poor, palakpakan sila. sa iba, medyo na-eskandalo sila sa nangyari.
siyempre napaisip ako. why was i not offended, eh hindi naman ako urban poor. sa halip, tipong ang saya! to see the mayora taking matters into her own hands, lol. para kasing, ah, di makuha sa pakiusapan, square na lang. how macho, and why not, if that’s what it takes, when all else fails?
on second thought, hindi “square” yon, ano? dahil llamado si mayora not just because me hawi boys siya, but because on that level, wala namang lalaking papatol — unless siguro isang chavit singson ang nakatapat niya?
I have watched this stunning knockout performance at least 10 times. I’m sure it has already been uploaded on YouTube. The clip shows a grim Inday Sara walking into a neighborhood that, just a few minutes before, was the scene of a violent clash between irate residents and the sheriff’s demolition team. Caught in the center of this skirmish, unable to maintain order, is a pathetic platoon of policemen armed with truncheons and shields. One of them is led away from the battle with an improvised arrow stuck on one leg.
The camera catches Sara striding into this charged and contested space. Clad in jeans, T-shirt, and sneakers, the city’s lady boss takes command without hesitation, projecting an authority that is entirely personal. She orders the police and the demolition team to stand down. Then she faces the angry mob of protesting residents and gives them a dressing down. Almost instinctively, at her order, they drop their improvised weapons and squat before her in a familiar sign of feudal submission. Alternately, she turns to the contending parties and berates them in a language punctuated by invectives. Everyone falls silent.
She then summons the sheriff who appears to have slunk into a corner, perhaps hoping to distance himself from the operation he had miserably bungled. As soon as he appears before her, she lectures him about his refusal to wait and, without warning, punches him in the face. Caught by surprise, her bodyguards restrain her and lead away the wretched target of her ire.
It is a long time since this country has witnessed a spectacle such as this. People will be talking about it for a long time. Public opinion will almost certainly be divided between those who would condemn the mayor, herself a lawyer, for placing herself above the law, and those who would praise her for not hesitating to take responsibility in a messy situation in order to restore the peace and avoid further injustice. The debate will pit people who understand the need for a strong godfather-like leadership in a society where the legitimacy of legal institutions is not secure, against those who would insist on the unconditional professionalization of governance.
From a strictly sociological standpoint, one can only stand in awe of the contradictions that are highlighted by this incident. Where you have a highly unequal society, the rule of law cannot be impartial. Its blind implementation will always appear harsh. Thus, instead of serving the ends of justice, law is perceived as one more tool of oppression. This uneven landscape creates ample room for the intervention of heroic equalizers. Instead of fading away in the transition, feudal leaders who can play this role extend their life span.