By now, many Filipinos have seen a video showing singer and vocal supporter of the Aquino administration Jim Paredes, confronting a small group belonging to the Duterte Youth that went viral on the Internet. The group was peacefully protesting at the People Power Monument on EDSA.
Politikal Pinoy will not glorify Paredes’ outburst by quoting him or linking back to URLs showing him staring down at a member of the group. There’s Google for that.
He came on like a nutty professor scolding his students, or better still, a privileged and wealthy haciendero insulting and cursing his house help or gardener.
We used to love his music (and that of his group, Apo Hiking Society). We admire his guts. But we condemn his demeanor towards the young folks. In that confrontation, he painted himself a a self-righteous adult who thinks that only he has the right to free speech and assembly.
It is no secret that Paredes, now also a citizen of Australia, came from a middle-class family. It is no secret either that his mother Esther Jimenez was a member of the group, “Light-A-Fire Movement.”
It was a group of prominent people who decided that violence was the solution against “abuses” of the Martial Law. They perpetrated many terroristic bombings in Metro Manila in the early 80’s. They trained mostly in the United States, with targets here in the Philippines.
In the US, its members were Filipino exiles and Filipino-Americans, mostly unnamed but led mainly by Heherson Alvarez, Raul Daza, Bonifacio Gillego and Charles Avila, along with a naturalized American citizen, a Greek native, Steven Psinakis (husband of Precy Lopez of the Lopez clan).
On September 12, 1980, bombs went off in Metro Manila, one badly damaging Rustan’s mall in Makati. The explosion at Rustan’s injured 70 people and killed an American tourist. On the night of October 4, 1980, more blasts rocked the Philippine Plaza, Century Park Sheraton, and Manila Peninsula hotels.
Doris Nuval Baffrey, a Filipina married to an American, on October 19, 1980, detonated an explosive at the PICC while President Marcos was addressing an international conference of the American Society of Travel Agents. Doris Nuval Baffrey and 15 other people were arrested in connection with the PICC bombing. Marcos issued more arrest orders for some 30 persons allegedly indirectly tied to the bombing including Ninoy Aquino and 8 others living in the US, among them Psinakis. Baffrey’s group, the “April 6 Liberation Movement”, had ties to the Light-A-Fire Movement.
In Metro Manila, the core operatives of the Light-A-Fire Movement based in the Philippines, was arrested while meeting in Quezon City. Among them were businessman Eduardo Olaguer, AIM professor Gaston Ortigas and Ester Jimenez, mother of Jim Paredes (of the Apo Hiking Society fame). They were all convicted and sentenced to die by electric chair in 1984. — source: Kahimyang Project
In a 2009 article written by Paredes’ sister, Paulynn P. Sicam, she recounted a conversation with their mother: “Why, Mom?” we asked, incredulous. “Why not?” she replied defiantly. “Martial law has gone on long enough. Somebody had to do something.”
“She said that when she saw how young people who had joined the underground were willing to give up their lives to restore our freedoms, she felt ashamed of her normal and comfortable life.”
So ironically, Jim’s demeanor towards the Duterte Youth was directly in contrast to his mom’s admiration of young people who speak their mind. It seems Paredes, though professing continued commitment to fight for freedom, continues to speak from his favorite bully pulpit — a comfortable life and a privileged class of Philippine (and Australian) society.