NewsfeaturesSECRETS OF THE EIGHTEEN MANSIONS: AN EXPOSURE

SECRETS OF THE EIGHTEEN MANSIONS: AN EXPOSURE

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Mario Miclat’s Disinformation and Snitch Piece

By Gary Vicente
Claveria 51
16 November  2010

“The tree may prefer calm, but the wind will not subside” – make that “windy nonsense” in Miclat’s case.

This book professes to be a memoir and poses as a novel. It is an unrelieved paean by the author to himself, and remorseless payback to those who have crossed him. More generally, it is a blanket denunciation of the Philippine revolutionary movement and struggle, Mao’s China, socialism and Marxism. It also seems to implicate most everybody he knows or claims to know.

A hero, if only to himself

The author seeks to impress on us how pure a radical he was, how present he was at or near enough the creation of the CPP and NPA (even if hogtied), and the important work and positions he held (even if beknownst only to himself). Likewise, in China, how diligent he was in unsuccessful political study and in nitpicking translation work in Radio Peking.

According to Miclat, in the Philippines, AG, the movement leader, was just typing away all the time, had wrong and unoriginal political ideas and writing, was not involved in housework for God’s sake, and doing hanky-panky.

In China, the people in the Philippine group were likewise deficient, whether lazy, acting superior, hotheaded, going wild, having a good time, stuttering away, etc, etc. No real or imagined physical or ideological trait or defect was too trivial to flog, or gossip or scenario too malicious to contrive and peddle for Mario.

He and his wife Alma, on the other hand, were romantic, loving, dedicated parents and bureaucrats, expressing correct or ultimately correct political and all other ideas all the time. In other words, not much short of perfect. Too bad that Mario was sometimes disturbed by some other group member’s jokes, fun-seeking, book-learning and so forth.

Unrequited, he takes revenge

Then Kress, the group head, abandons his post (the latter’s own words), a new leadership is subsequently named which doesn’t include Mario, and he turns 180 degrees.

Mario becomes very sullen and hostile, especially to his house mate, whom he suspects is responsible for his non-inclusion in the leadership, although it turns out that the hapless house mate had not uttered a single word to anybody about Mario and himself had no prior inkling about any appointment at all.

Meanwhile, the group requests to move from their comfy accommodations in Beijing to the countryside. A stranded Philippine boat crew is put together with them. Mario, who continues to live in luxury in Beijing, decides to go sort of slumming in the countryside and, together with Kress, stirs up a few Kapampangan crew members against the organization by regaling them with tales of his supposedly close friendship with Kumander Dante, his stay in Tarlac, and the evils of AG.

The mini-faction boycotts the organization’s anniversary and rejects its very legitimacy and existence. Mario further agitates his faction to threaten violence. Although he describes the violent scene in the first person, someone who was there swears that Mario, being a coward, was cowering in his room while the commotion was going on.

Secrets – or Lies?

Left with no choice, the unit suspends Mario’s membership in the organization (not expels him, as he, as usual, hypes it). It was a minimum measure that, under the circumstances, any self-respecting organization of whatever stripe would have been compelled to do.

Neither does Mario undergo “house arrest” of any sort or “solitary confinement” by the state as he alleges. These wild charges are typical of his collection of hyperbole, composites, half-truths and total fabrications. Indeed, one is tempted to say that everything in the disinformation memoir is a lie, except perhaps for “and” and “the”.

Actually Mario gets off pretty lightly, as he is able to return to his cushy digs, limousines and translation job in Beijing, which the organization had gotten for him in the first place. Some house arrest and solitary confinement indeed, and all the while that the group perseveres in spartan conditions and manual labor in the countryside!

Subsequently, Mario and his wife accumulate considerable foreign exchange which they lug back to Manila in 1986. They have a luxurious home built in an expensive area in the suburban hills.

Pandering and corruption

He pulls strings to get himself named dean of the U.P. Asian Center, as he wasn’t recommended for selection by the academic committee. Anyhow it doesn’t take long for him to become a laughing stock and for the faculty to consider him a complete disaster as he has near-zero managerial skills and looks upon social science research with disdain, fancying himself an ivory-tower creative artist of sorts.

Simpering all the way to the bank, Mario further makes a killing as a consultant for the lucrative Arroyo bureaucrat-capitalist milking cow Northrail in its linkup with a Chinese state-capitalist corporation. So his turn-around is complete.

But not quite satisfied, Mario wants to get back at the movement, organization, Mao’s China, socialism and Marxism, all of which he condemns in no uncertain terms. He implicates practically everybody he can think of. The result is this purported memoir.

Straw men

Besides its many tedious and inconsequential details such as the tallying of his vacation days, recounting of his wife’s notes on commune statistics and whatnot, the disinformation and snitch piece makes straw men or gibberish of its targets’ supposed statements.

Mario accuses AG of painting the Philippines black. This shows that Mario cannot distinguish between the ruling regime and the country. He’s no different from the rednecks who demanded that progressive Americans who criticized the Vietnam War (or Iraq invasion) should love it or leave the U.S.

Mario also accuses AG of following the Chinese line. But when China arrived at a modus vivendi with the U.S., did the Philippine movement follow suit? When China itself rushed pell-mell into capitalism, did the Philippine movement not repudiate China’s course? Clearly, Miclat’s accusation doesn’t hold water at all. In fact, if there’s anyone blindly following China, it’s Miclat who’s toed the twists and turns of Chinese policy.

Mario accuses a member of the group of citing Lenin on terror as a matter of expediency to justify the Plaza Miranda incident. In the first place, the latter never even heard of Mario’s theory about Plaza Miranda before. In fact, Mario had never heard of it either until Kress started ranting about it. But the latter had lost his marbles for personal and ideological reasons as evidenced by all his wild behavior.

Secondly, Lenin actually rejected individual terror. What he was against was condemning terror on principle so as to tie the hands of the revolutionary state when it has to defend itself against the onslaughts of reaction.

So here again Mario reveals his abysmal ignorance, not even bothering to look up the meaning of what he was condemning. He later goes on to condemn all Marxism itself as just based on expediency.

See how he could run away with a thoroughly misunderstood quotation? And this from a self-anointed expert who touts himself as knowing the whole works by heart, including page numbers! Apparently he never absorbed what he was translating.

Inverting things

The more elaborate Mario’s story, the more contrived it is. The one who expressed admiration for the Sierra Madre view was actually Tony Tagamolila, not the guy Mario attributes it to. This was an out-and-out fabrication. Mario knew it and deliberately lied about it.

To straighten out his malicious memory: the guide retorted, “peace man pala ito”. But it was a harmless remark, something to lightly laugh about, not malevolent unlike the ever-prosecutorial Miclat who stashes it with evil intent and rakes it up four decades later. The fellow gave his life for the people, for heaven’s sake!

See what an accusatory mentality Miclat has and what lurks in his heart? One can never relax or let down one’s hair when he’s around! But why the hell does everyone else have to be uptight like him?

Mario, putting words into Tony’s mouth, actually proceeds to label the latter a “petty bourgeois romanticist” for admiring nature. Mario stands guilty of slandering a revolutionary martyr! What is more, Mario never even heard before of the poet or the poem he quotes, as it was only shared with him then, but spouts it off forthwith and then lends his usual nonsensical miscoloring to the conversation.

Mario has Tony calling the fall guy an enemy, when the two had been working harmoniously together, and Tony even asked the latter to be the official witness at his wedding. Such malice indeed!

Like the whole false memoir itself, the inverted episode tells more about Mario than about anybody else. For he had always been rigid, sectarian, purist and one-sided. It is no wonder that petty bourgeois revolutionist that he actually was, he broke and showed his true colors.

Perhaps it had something to do with his upbringing, as he would speak of his martinet of a father, a U.S. military-base employee, who would, among other things, look at a dish on the dinner table and expect his children to hand it to him without a word. Today Mario brags about his authoritarian – near-fascist by his account – upbringing. So he has come full circle.
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