Thursday, August 20, 2009

Exploiting a death

I had been waiting impatiently for the 40th day when the period of mourning would be over to discuss the issues pertaining to Cory’s death. But obviously, some are just too eager to take advantage of this period to pursue their self-serving agenda. Take, for instance, those who are pushing for the presidential run of someone whom they hope to be the heir apparent to their fallen “icons.” Never mind if this mediocre politician’s mental and leadership capabilities are in doubt. All they seem to care about is to strike fast and hard while things are still warm and fresh. Alas, the more they exploit the public’s sympathy, the more they appear to be clutching at straws--like Mar Roxas, who, even with Korina Sanchez, just couldn’t make the grade, and Villar, who’s now falling like a rock despite spending billions for his early campaign.

Columnists of other newspapers, too, are egging on their straw man. Apparently, the death of their yellow “icon” and the sea of condoling Metro Manila crowds seemed a good opportunity to take advantage of the people’s sympathies. PhilStar’s Billy Esposo used to be a Villar rah-rah boy until his bet’s declining survey fortunes made him look around in desperation. The yellow columnists of the Inquirer also joined in, like Jose Ma. Montelibano, who started writing that Noynoy has what it takes to lead and Conrado de Quiros, who asked who can better “carry on the fight” than the heir, whose parents died as heroes of the yellow crowd--a crowd that had seen better times two decades ago.

There was indeed a wave of sympathy for the former president (who, by the way, was never elected). No one would be so insensitive as not to be deferential; but shouldn’t those bereaved be as respectful? What is emerging among the yellow crowd, however, is nothing but blatant exploitation.

The scion of the dead tells everyone to “emulate” his parents. If indeed there is such great universal admiration deserved, it would be better heard from others paying tribute than from the family, so it would not come across as self-serving, coming as it does after an announcement of being open to “seek higher office.” If they in the yellow crowd think the Filipino people are as shallow as they make them out to be, then they should have their straw man declare his candidacy posthaste--and get themselves chastised in the surveys.

This matter of declaring the two yellow icons as heroes has pestered this country long enough. I wouldn’t mind emulating Rizal for his life and legend are a universal, moral, intellectual, and patriotic beacon. Rizal, unlike one of the earlier deceased yellow icons, was completely devoid of chicanery; whereas the other, who left his team to be blasted and maimed on August 21, 1971 in Plaza Miranda, appeared to have had advanced information on what would happen and deliberately arrived late to avoid the disaster. Whereas Rizal sacrificed himself, this late politician sacrificed his party mates. And irony of ironies, this politician’s death was later exploited to the hilt, enabling his family, which rose to power, to stonewall investigations to cast the blame wrongfully on the innocent.

Another demi-hero of Edsa I, Jovito Salonga, delayed admission of his knowledge of the true culprits behind this bombing for 20 years, apparently to perpetrate the myth of Marcos’ culpability. It turns out that the “hero” of the radical Left was the mastermind, a fact that their apologists such as De Quiros still deny, despite the admission of former CPP-NPA leaders Fluellen Ortigas (who confided this to me decades ago), Peter Mutuc, Ariel Almendral, and other victims whom Salonga had openly affirmed.

Since heroes must be as universal in acclamation as possible, no one other than Rizal fits this pedestal in the context of Philippine history. None of Rizal’s heirs, too, ever had to claim anything for their patriarch or their heroic family name. They simply continued on with their quiet dignified lives as teachers, writers, artists, and patriots.

If the Filipino people were to need another hero, Apolinario Mabini, acclaimed to be the brain of the Filipino Republican Revolution, should be it. There’s no need for anymore superfluous add-ons.

My bosom friend and comrade, former Mayor Jun Simon suggests that yellow be our color of national unity. But from the very onset, this color had already been appropriated for the elite-led social movements that reinforced plutocracy, enriched the already rich, and expanded the impoverishment of the vast majority of Filipinos. Borrowed from an American convict’s song, the symbolism of the yellow ribbon is moreover convoluted and concocted by foreign and elite-controlled mainstream media. Lastly, the color of this nation isn’t just yellow; it’s also red, blue, white, and dare I add, orange and green.

Like the round little golden pocket watch of the hypnotist, the yellow ribbon has been imbued with all the subliminal images from 1983 of that bloodied face framed by a coffin window; the large crowds that lined the streets; and the fall of an alleged “dictator” who couldn’t have avoided the use of force to quell the conspiracies of the Left and the Right. Yet, even more decidedly, the deepening darkness and misery in the impoverished lives of a great many Filipinos will awaken this nation from its trance to again see the massive oppression perpetuated by the powerful heirs of Edsa I.

(Tune in to 1098AM, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m; Global News Network, Destiny Cable Channel 7, Tuesday, 8:15 p.m. to 9 p.m. and on the TVU Internet Channel 61713 on “The August 21, 1971 and 1983 Mysteries;” also visit