Since returning from my Internet hiatus, which I attribute to my Holiday break, I’ve been following the news and blog posts about Nasser Pangandaman, Jr. and his alleged brawl with a businessman named Delfin dela Paz over a golfing etiquette at the Valley Golf and Country Club over the Holidays.
I received an email containing a link to Bambee dela Paz’s account of the story. She is the daughter of Mr. dela Paz, and was also present during the fiasco. And because the Internet is so powerful, it wasn’t a surprise to me to find more than 1000 comments of support for this 18-year old girl, her almost senior citizen father and 14-year old brother.
Other bloggers chose to repost and post their insights regarding the Valley Golf scandal. Here are some of which I’ve dropped by and read:
PinoyCopywriter: Nasser Pangandaman Mauls a Father and His 14-year-old Son?
Ellen Tordesillas: Arroyo’s peace adviser merely watched his son’s mauling spree
Pedestrian Observer GB: Mayor Nasser Pangandaman, Jr. GOOFBall Bully of Philippine Golf
Manuel L. Quezon III: Impunity
Musings of Don Kishote: Comment: Nasser Pangandaman Jr.: The warlord of Masiu
Journaling on the Net: A Mindanaoan’s point of view on the Valley Golf Antipolo Controversy
FilipinoVoices: What if Dela Paz started this golf melee?
Loud Silent Monologues: The Other Side of the Story
And, in about a week’s time after the incident happened, the name “Pangandaman” has reached about 72,000 returns from Google Search, with 8 out of the top 10 posts containing news and blogs on the issue.
Up to now nothing’s being settled on or off court. But it’s a big hit in the Net these days, even attracting attention from people outside the Philippines.
The facts, for me, are still pretty hazy. But some things I can conclude are these : One, these people should have known better than pick fights in public places. Dela Paz, a successful businessman being with his kids (who have represented the country in several golfing tournaments) at that time, and the Pangandamans, the father and son who are government officials. I would like to believe that these people had been educated properly (hopefully) to understand that no issue, however minor, may be settled with raised voices and physical violence.
Second, if according to reports that the senior Pangandaman, the DAR secretary and recent appointee to the peace panel in charge of negotiating with the MILF, just watched his son, a mayor in a small town in Mindanao, beat up an old man and a minor, what would that say about his capabilities in negotiating peace talks with the Moro rebels? It does not paint a good picture at all.
Third, the reason why many are aghast about this report, and why the Pangandamans are being flamed all over the Internet, is the fact that a 14-year old kid got beaten up, regardless if the boy did start the fight or not. The guards should have been mature enough to choose “disarm” rather than “hurt.” There is a big difference.
Fourth, this is a classic case of trial by publicity over the Net, which I am not sure to have the same results inside our actual courts.
Fifth, just an observation — this is not a case of religion vs. religion, Christian vs. Muslims. Some people like to generalize, when in fact this is a misunderstanding between families and golf players.
And lastly, all of these just proves that the Internet is indeed a very powerful tool. It may not have any bearing as evidence in actual courts, but powerful nonetheless. It’s hard to fight against it, even if you want to.
As a spectator from afar, I do not have any choice but to wait what ending awaits these families. And maybe blog about them a bit.
And hope, with a lot of wishful thinking, that maturity can grow on trees.