Innocence makes people unveil guilt unduly


Ali G. Macabalang

The title of my column now seemed to be true in the way some people reacted to my Jan. 4, 2021 Facebook post – “MSU system, my alma mater, needs a president whose wife won’t meddle in official functions like appointments, promotions, etc.” which continued to draw reactions from nitizens up to press time.

The post in my own page alone has already gathered 438 reactions, 51 comments and 189 shares from reactors belonging to various professions and social strata. All of them obviously know the essence of MSU (Mindanao State University) system in the lives of Mindanao people, especially the poor families.

My family resides in the MSU-Marawi campus since its first year of operation in 1960, and all of us seven siblings had earned education through the facilities of the university. I alone had completed a baccalaureate degree in International Relations in 1979 and Master’s in Public Administration in 1985. I transferred residence outside only when I opted for full media practice in 1979 starting from Cotabato City and later in different parts of the country. I owe MSU for what I am now.

In the later hours of my Jan. 4 posting, a certain “Rehanna BM” sent messages to my messenger, a part of which ran as: “Assalamu Alaykom kaka Ali. Kaka, ano ba yong post mo? Bkt ka ganyan? Pls lng kaka, panglarify ka muna sa mga tutuong tao (hindi sa mga taong galit dhl hindi nakuha ang gusto) bago ka mag post dhl buong mundo mo na kami sinira.”

I replied in our vernacular, telling her that my post was hypothetical and generic in gist that alluded to any specific person in the past and present MSU administrations. I asked her what particular administration she was defending and who she was. I added that if alright with her, I will write a formal news article touching about her reactions vis-à-vis my intent for better future university administrations. She did not reply.

In another message, “Rehanna” said: “Salamat if ganoon ang niyat mo. Aya masakit roo na sekami i a present administration i kiyapikiraon o taw na ini pamag share ra iranden. Buong mundo ang nakakita’t nakabasa….(Thanks if that is your intention. What pained me is that readers perceived us to be being alluded to as they kept sharing the post.)

In the evening of Jan. 4, I inquired from people privy to MSU operations and learned only that moment that “Rehanna BM” is the wife of incumbent MSY system president Dr. Habib Bacaayong. They said “Rehanna” is the Islamic alias adopted after hajj in Saudi Holy Lands by Pamela Biston-Macaayong.

On Jan. 9, President Macaayong sent from Marawi City my sister Linang and brother Malik, both MSU employees, to see me for clarification on my post. I reiterated my point to say that nobody in particular is being alluded to in my post.

On Jan. 10, some reactions via Facebook and verbal tips persisted to say I was targeting the present MSU regime, prompting to post another generic message – “Those who felt slighted in my generic posts are free to protest, even go to court of laws. Let’s call spade a spade!”

Meantime, I took my two siblings’ presence as an opportunity for us to visit our eldest brother, retired BFAR Regional Director Sani, who himself is a pioneer college graduate in fisheries of the MSU system, undergoing therapeutic rest in Davao City. While in the “city of durian,” I already thought of deleting my posts to quell further undue debates.

Sadly, while on our return travel back from Davao to Kidapawan City, a Facebook friend-relative showed me a post in “Rehanna BM’s” page, which castigated me for allegedly maligning her and husband’s leadership.Her bala-I, Pharida Sansarona (former schools division superintendent) and brother, Hosnie Marmay Biston, joined the prey.

Sansarona alluded to my postings as my “kawiyagan” or source of livelihood, while Biston branded me as “arrogant” and “bakla” for using pink as background color for my two posts.

Some friends have urged me not to stoop down to a level of narrow-mindedness. So, I now rest my pen momentarily. I will resort to specifics next time, by then authorities might intervene to look into every ills in a particular regime. @

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