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Monday, April 24, 2006

 

Mahiya ka naman, Mike

Mike Defensor was the outgoing chairperson of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) when I was elected national president of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) in 1992. Since the 1960s, these two organizations have worked closely to uphold students’ rights and welfare, the NUSP being the umbrella organization of student councils and the CEGP being the national alliance of student publications.

I did not have the opportunity to work with Mike. My contemporaries were Dennis Cunanan and Sahlee Cariño who chaired the NUSP in 1992 and 1993, respectively. From what I heard, though, I gathered that despite Mike’s “chick boy” image, he was a committed and well-respected activist and student leader.

Mike has gone a long way since then.

Last, Saturday, he showed just how far he has stooped down from his days as an activist by fuming over Cavite State University student Maria Theresa Pangilinan’s gutsy act of heckling the President during her school’s graduation rites. He said Pangilinan’s protest was “done in poor taste.” He berated the Presidential Security Group for allowing such a breach in decorum. (Read Conrad de Quiros' article on Theresa at http://news.inq7.net/opinion/index.php?index=2&story_id=73622&col=77)

So what did you want, Mike, that the PSG shoot down Pangilinan while she was shouting “Patalsikin si Gloria!”? Sus naman. Gawain din natin ‘yan nung estudyante pa tayo, di ba? Porke ba’t si GMA ang tinatamaan eh naging masama nang mag-protesta laban sa kabuktutan ng sistema?

Like Palace apologist Alex Magno, Mike prides himself in having shed his activism in order to uphold and protect the corrupt and oppressive system he riled against in the past. He is now GMA’s favorite errand boy, his good looks outclassing those of Norberto and Raul Gonzales’.

But who am I to judge Mike, right? He has his own million-and-one reasons for the 180-degree turnaround. I just hope they are the right reasons.

Ang masasabi ko lang, Mike, huwag mo namang itatwa ang mga bagay at prinsipyo na gumabay at nagpaunlad sa iyo bilang lider estudyante. I’m sure you owe Maria Theresa, the NUSP and the student movement more than that.