Maria Ressa’s face blasted on the wide LED screen of U2’s “The Joshua Tree” concert in Manila — the ultimate downer in what was nearly a perfect night, aside from the two-hour traffic to get in, and the two-hour traffic to get out, of the Philippine Arena complex. What should have been shown on the screen is the police mug shot of Ressa while the band played “Sunday Bloody Sunday.”
To add more spice, they should have flashed detained Sen. Leila de Lima’s mug shot as well.
Hence, the irony of having a globally acclaimed entertainer, adored by millions worldwide, thinking he can waltz into any house and act as if he knows more than its owner. U2 had it easy, deservingly so, like any celebrity A-lister who visits our country. It was much worse before. To recall, decades ago when The Beatles performed at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, after they offended Imelda Marcos by turning down an invitation to dine in Malacañang, a mob turned up at their hotel and the airport as they were leaving the country, never to be seen again. A little tidbit: those in the music business say that this was the reason why Western bands avoided our country for years after that.
Ressa’s few seconds of face on the U2 stage, something she shared with Melchora Aquino, former President Corazon Aquino, Senator Pia Cayetano, Lidy Nacpil and Lea Salonga, received boos and jeers, some even walked out. Out of all the Filipina women featured by U2, Ressa is the only propagandist charged with libel and tax evasion with an active campaign against the administration, internationally funded by shady billionaires, through the use of a constitutionally flawed media outfit. What these “artists” fail to see is that Ressa is the chosen conduit of the oligarchs with international connections to undermine and overthrow President Rodrigo Duterte, arguably the most popular president this country has ever had.
And what the general public in the Philippines does not know, Bono’s ONE global campaign that advocates for the end of global poverty, is funded by Omidyar, the same group that has been funding Ressa and Rappler. A quick Google search will reveal this and connect all the dots. The elaborate treasonous scheme should not be tolerated and recognized by all Filipinos, not to be dazed with mesmerizing songs and performances.
Bono and his band aren’t the only ones being fooled by billionaires, and are not the only ones fooling us third-world inhabitants. We, of course, have the Clooney spouses, with Mrs. Clooney acting as counsel of Ressa, and even some high-ranking politicians, such as extreme left socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders. The United States Senate approved a resolution calling for the release of De Lima and for the US president to impose sanctions on Philippine officials who are behind her detention.
Attacks on Philippine sovereignty have been coming from left and right, from within and outside the country. To defend us, we have our strong President ready for a fight. The President has recently demonstrated his stance against oligarchs in the country with his tirades on the water concession agreement, and he has been doing the same against leftists abroad. The Palace response against the US Senate’s resolution is noteworthy. Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said, “We call on these US senators to remove the blinders in their eyes and look at the De Lima and Ressa cases not with jaundiced eyes but with studied objectivity and cautious discernment.”
The US’ own internal political problem is rife with controversy, with a looming impeachment trial against their own duly elected president, despite presidential elections nearing next year. The tense political climate in the US, not to mention the widespread shootings done in schools and public places caused by their own politicians’ acceptance of money from gun lobbyists, is not sung by bands like U2 while on world tour. The Philippines has not even bothered to file any congressional resolution that makes mention of the US, considering that we have over four million documented Filipinos working there at this point.
All in all, U2 should have known better. While it was a memorable night for those who attended, the Internet exploded with Ressa’s undeserved recognition. It was supposed to be a concert, free from politics. International egos should be put in place and left outside the door.