There can be no doubt that assorted self-righteous women’s groups and bleeding hearts were outraged—or will be outraged, once they have moved on from the virtuous cause du jour—by the latest installment of “On Target”, the Philippine Daily Inquirer column of Ramon Tulfo.
Entitled “Try to Understand Chavit Singson“, the article is an admirable attempt on the part of Tulfo to enlighten and educate otherwise undiscerning readers on the factors that led Deputy National Security Adviser Luis “Chavit” Singson to beat up his common-law wife, Che Tiongson, and her lover—a decision, it must be empahsized, that was generous in the extreme, for, as Singson himself pointed out, he could very well have killed them instead.
Tulfo makes a point of saying that he does not necessarily condone what Singson did—a nuance that will likely be lost on the School of Sanctimonious Sympathizers—and thus strengthens his case with compassion. Rather than condemning Singson outright, Tulfo exhorts his readers to bear in mind two important things.
First, given that Filipino society is inherently macho, Singson was only acting according to the time-honored standards of genuinely masculine behavior. Singson would have been violating custom, itself a source of the law, had he chosen to tolerate the infidelity of Tiongson. He had already forgiven her twice before, and would have lost much face if he continued to be merciful.
If anything, he had actually saved her from an inferior penis: her lover, based on what Singson saw for himself, is so unfortunately endowed as to qualify for the Guiness Book of World Records.
Second, while this apparent bias in favor of men is unfair, which Tulfo readily acknowledges—yet another subtlety that will escape the generic agitators and malcontents—this bias is nevertheless so pervasive and so enduring, finding as it does expression, perpetuation, and reinforcement in all aspects of life, including the law. How, after all, does one argue with tradition? The present generation must learn to live with how things are today—it is the task of the next generation to usher in change.
I am not saying that Tulfo is right, but we should understand him in the context of the fact that he has no balls.
For all his bluster and swagger, for all his bravado and braggadocio, and for all his promiscuous, public, mediagenic ejaculations, Ramon Tulfo might as well be a eunuch.
Tulfo has no balls because he believes that doing harm to another human being can be justified, depending on the circumstances in which such harm was inflicted, when no such circumstances exist.
Tulfo has no balls because he sees no need to question cultural norms, practices and activities, regardless of their actual consequences. A mindless automaton, he is content to comply with such norms, practices, and activities, secure in the belief that these have been handed down through the ages, and are right by virtue of their age and their ability to survive.
Tulfo has no balls because he does not take responsibility for his existence and act as an agent of positive social change. He assumes that the generations after him will effect it, heedless of the fact that the change is needed now, at this moment in the history that he unwittingly helps to form—or deform, as the case may be.
Singson and other men who include violence toward others under the general rubric of “manliness” are of a piece with Tulfo—or perhaps I should say similarly lacking in pieces.
Let us try to understand them. Let us be better than them.