Saving Mary Jane Veloso brought out the best in us. For a brief moment, we were one as a nation, praying, lighting candles, pleading for her life. The government was in action, making urgent calls left and right, breaking protocol, exceeding itself. The nation, Filipinos everywhere, were united behind one goal.
And when the improbable happened, when the dramatic last-minute stay of execution was announced, the cries of gratitude and joy reverberated worldwide. It was a display of people power again, someone tweeted.
It was a huge collective victory for the people, the nation. But the celebration, the unity, was incredibly short-lived. Just a day after, everything started going wrong.
It was too little, too late, Migrante said in a statement on April 29. "Only Aquino’s ouster from office will give Mary Jane the justice she truly deserves."
By the time the Veloso family landed back in Manila on May 1, the joy they felt at knowing Mary Jane was still alive had turned into bitterness and rage. Now we're here for payback, the mother said in what would quickly become viral statements. The government lied, she accused, when it said it was the reason Mary Jane was spared. "We thought (Aquino) was the one who found a way to save my daughter," Celia Veloso said.
The backlash online was swift. Arrogant, ingrate, netizens said. Go ahead and execute Mary Jane. Execute her mother instead.
Saving Mary Jane Veloso also quickly brought out the worst in us.
Just a few days after an incredible, improbable victory, and with the world watching, we Filipinos were at our factionalized best, finger-pointing, credit-grabbing, and bullying a poor family online.
People started asking, who really saved Mary Jane? Why was the family saying those ungrateful statements? Whose fault is her situation anyway?
But let's ask ourselves first, why did we save Mary Jane? If we campaigned to save her because we believe she deserved to be saved, then why are we turning indifferent to her cause? Why was our sympathy hinged on how sympathetic her family is? If our efforts to save her relied on how loud the call was to do so, then how about the other unheard of 'Mary Janes'?
Saving the young mother of two was a worthy cause, but it brought out not just the best but also the worst in us, putting into question our motives behind it. – Rappler.com