BY: Rachel Ann B. Pedroso

The media was in chaos last November 22,2016. The noise outside Camp Crame, the Philippine National Police headquarters in Quezon City was overwhelmingly loud, the musicale was a mixture of anger, curiosity, impatience, fear and excitement. Everyone is moving with caution like every movement is perfectly acted to suit the needs of the moment. Bodies bumped each other to get the best view. Others try to steal the best angle from another, each uncaring about the pain from the collision of their bodies or the mingling of sweat, the smelling of each other’s breath and the frequent eye contacts from greedy public story tellers. No one can tell if some of them were starving, dehydrated, sleepless or sick on site. Their movements were always precise, their voices strong and probing and they look at you with confidence despite the lust and the hunger for information. They are all after the scoop. And from behind my flat black board with moving objects in the screen, I am impatiently and excitedly waiting for them to start the drama.

And then with the flash of the camera, the object of everyone’s fancy came out of sight, looking tired and apologetic is Ronnie Dayan, the much celebrated anti-hero con star witness, former driver, and alleged lover and bag-man of Sen. Leila de Lima.

Every inch a hermit, from his skin tone to the extra length and mess of his previously neat and polished hair, Mr. Dayan gave the public an overview of his “Jason Borne -like” run and chase scenario from the river and then the mountains and finally, his arrest in the bare field.  With bated breath,everyone is eager to fish some emotion from his ex-girlfriend of few years, but alas, it was like finding a needle in the haystack. Senator de Lima said that everything there is to say is in her official statement. Such a goody-two shoe bore. Tsk… Tsk…

Honestly, I was unaware of this news had it not been from my roommate who first mentioned that President Rodrigo Duterte had named Sen. Leila de Lima, Mr. Ronnie Dayan and 5 more high profiled personalities to be perpetrators of drug trade in New Bilibid Prison. Mr. Dayan has supposedly facilitated and collected “drug pay-offs” from drug lords to finance the senatorial campaign of de Lima when she was Chief of Justice during the Aquino administration.  However Sen de Lima vehemently denied all accusations. 

As spectator of this drama, all I can do is watch, wail and wait. This has gone into a lengthy drama with repeated plots and conflicts and the more they probe deeper, the dirtier the tactics become. I wonder when the next bomb will explode? Will it be on Mr. Dayan’s cell? Most probably. Or maybe not. His arrest will tie up the loose ends and supply the missing link in the drug trade mystery in New Bilibid Prison. 

Will Mr. Dayan speak up then? Or will he fabricate the truth? And what about the master mind, will he be absolve or convicted? The prosecutors should better do their job accordingly. Are they prosecuting for justice or for public display of wit and charisma? Is this not another “heroic stance” to be in the public limelight to gain interest, approval and curiosity as was done before by Sen. de Lima herself who acted so prim and proper before all her sins were gathered and thrown directly in her plump face? Or her thick face in that matter.

Ha, it felt good to be right but it’s impossible to be always right. And it is irritating to act righteously “right” when in fact you were very “un”-right. How can Sen. de Lima swallow the fire when it is burning all over. I have no idea what is going on inside Mr. Dayan’s mind but surrendering or getting arrested after all this drama, is a good progress to the story. We don’t know if his guilt got in the way of his decision-making. What I do know is that doing the right thing right or doing what the public says is right can be psychologically terrifying. If our self-preservation is jeopardized or our loved ones will be compromised, it is hard to resist the temptation of committing the bad things. And our anti-hero of the moment might be thinking the same. For his precious, should we guess?

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Sometimes, we never entertain our nagging second thoughts, we stab the knife where the vitals are weak. We don’t want any mistake while committing a grave error. If we can kill the witness, we will annihilate everything about him, his memories, his existence and even his insignificant traces. Of course, many will agree that more and more deaths related to drug trade have surfaced. Those kind of deaths are abominable to describe and we have only seen them happening on Hollywood movies before, but now, they are on-air and are actually real and raw. 

But not all who are imperiled will give in to the lure of a mermaid’s enchantments. Facing the truth and doing what is justifiably correct will be dangerous to us and our loved ones but realizing that we cannot outwit our principles and conscience, we will honorably bow our heads and readily give our hands for cuffing. Mr. Dayan might not be an arse after all because he chose to raise his hand in surrender.He told the media that it was out of exhaustion or desperation, but I very much disagree, his conscience nabbed him that time. He knew that being held in contempt inside the jail is more dangerous compared to being chased in the wilderness ready to be shot dead because his enemies can silence him without a decent fight. Nonetheless, he decided that enough is enough for a coward. He was so unlike the shamed ex-girlfriend who despite the poise and cleverness of her antics was no uglier than a frog. “Ang ingay na ng kokak.”

Nowadays, I abstained from my Korean-drama binging and have totally redirected my channel to what is happening in my country. Ah, I will always thank the media for a job well done in capturing the angst and the rawness of real life drama. I am still watching, wailing and waiting for the ending of the Sen. de Lima – Dayan’s twisted, controversial and most unromantic drama of the year. But through it all, I have learned more about life than drug addiction and its horrible trade. We should not obsessively dedicate ourselves to win every arguments in life. We should not impulsively devote ourselves to show other people how impeccably right we are. Let go of that arrogance and self-preservation and try something different. Ask yourself when you have been wrong. If you have made a mistake, apologize. If you are too ashamed to apologize, at least acknowledge your errors and learn from them. You will feel better allowing your self some negative qualities of being a human being. You will feel better knowing that you are not perfect. You will feel better that you belong. Stop trying to act like de-Lima, always trying to prove how correct she is and always doing her best to show how wrong others are.Now that the tables have turned, will she still act her best to lie to the public? Is this right? Am I wrong?

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