This writer shares his final thoughts as #Halalan2022 draws to a close.
My father and I have had an adversarial relationship for as long as I can remember. We have some things in common, like our stubbornness and talent for cooking. But in general, we’re polar opposites. For instance, he’s as conservative as I am liberal. He was quite the ladies’ man in his day, and I’m an out-and-proud gay man.
Despite our differences, we got along for the most part. I even wrote an article about him for a broadsheet’s lifestyle section once. I praised him for his efforts to be a good father despite his failings. But when I wrote it, I had no idea that our shared tenacity would one day drive us apart.
My father, the apologist
My father and I are on opposite sides of the fence when it comes to politics. But I always tried my best not to argue with him. I knew doing so would be a waste of breath and time.
Fast forward to February 8, 2022. The day Toni Gonzaga pulled that stunt at the UniTeam’s proclamation rally. When I saw photos and videos of her with that congressman, the pain I felt when ABS-CBN went dark came rushing back. I was so overcome with emotion that I went to bed early that night.
The following day, I decided to check out my father’s Facebook page to see if he had posted anything about the rally. Big mistake. Long story short, he did, I saw it, I got triggered. I channeled my emotions into a Facebook post.
When my father’s family saw it, the shit hit the fan in a big way. I received angry calls and messages from various aunts and uncles. They called me all sorts of names, including “ingrate.” But like my father, I stuck to my guns. (Shared tenacity, remember?)
My father makes a lot of noise about being a good Catholic. But ironically, he supports an individual with questionable credentials. Most of my father’s relatives are like him, and I can’t reconcile their politics with their piety.
My father’s a lawyer, too. By profession, he’s supposed to be on the side of truth and justice. Instead, he spent the last few months contributing to the spread of fake news. He denied the atrocities committed by the government during the Martial Law years.
A painful decision
That’s why my father and I came to a parting of the ways. I left the Mauricio family group chat and unfollowed him on social media. I also unfollowed those of my relatives who share his sentiments. Currently, my little sister is the only Mauricio I’m on speaking terms with. That’s why Lorenzo Leviste’s open letter to his mother, Loren Legarda, resonated with me.
In Filipino society, it’s the height of rudeness to question or talk back to your elders. Children aren’t supposed to argue with their parents, much less cut ties with them. But I understand what Lorenzo did. It takes a lot of courage to speak up, especially when it comes at a great cost to you.
I don’t regret standing up for my convictions, and I’m sure Loren’s son doesn’t either. But that doesn’t mean it didn’t cost us anything. Lorenzo’s pain was evident in his words. In my case, cutting ties with my father was a painful decision to make. I wish with all my heart that I didn’t have to make it. I wish my father, his family, and I were all on the same side.
The right side of history
I don’t know for sure what Lorenzo was thinking when he penned his open letter. But I have a pretty good guess. You have to raise your voice, even if it means going against the people you love. Especially when they betray everything they claim to stand for.
I wrote this on Election Day. I still don’t know how things will turn out. At least I know I stood on the right side of history.
I hope and pray the Philippines makes the right decision, too.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s. They don’t reflect those of FreebieMNL and its affiliates.
Featured Image Daniella Sison