The Chinese believe that the “ghost month” – the period that usually covers the last few days of July and most of August – is a period of bad luck, and thus people are advised not to make weighty and/or important personal decisions during this period. Coincidentally, every August, we are reminded of the death anniversaries of two figures who, until now, are still very much venerated in Filipino society, and who both just happened to die within the period considered “ghost month”. We are talking about Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., and his wife, Corazon “Cory” Aquino, and their death anniversaries are August 21 and August 1, respectively.
It was the death of Ninoy that catapulted Cory the presidency almost three years after his assassination, during the time of the first People Power event in EDSA. Then, when Cory died, her son, Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino rode on the wave of sympathy and outpouring of grief in order to win the presidency. Or, as fellow GRP writer Gogs would say, “pole vault over his mother’s corpse” to plant his bum on that comfy seat in Malacañang.
Fast forward to this year. On July 28, 2014, BS Aquino delivered his fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA). It was noted in the social media discussion that this particular SONA seemed less combative (although he was still defending the Disbursement Acceleration Program, DAP for short), and instead of outright blaming the past administration again, this time he gave his critics a piece of his mind (could he spare it?)
Of particular interest, though, are a few sentences he uttered towards the end of that hour-or-so long speech:
Will there be a day when I go onstage, for work, and—will someone manage to plant a bomb? Will the dark schemes of those who want to bring us back to the wrong way of doing things finally succeed?
When that day comes, and my second life comes to an end, will I be able to say things will be ok?
“He [Noynoy] can’t do it on his own. We need to stand by him and give him strength. Please pray with us also that he stays alive,” Kris told guests after the Holy Mass held Friday at the Manila Memorial Park in Parañaque City.
And it just so happens that I wrote previously about what could happen if BS Aquino were to suddenly die before 2016, for whatever reason:
When it comes to the higher cause(s) of Hacienda Luisita, and the maintenance of the Aquino-Cojuangco clan’s political relevance to the Filipino landscape, no price is too high to pay. This is most likely true for any political dynasty here in the Philippines, but all the more so for them. Why do you think they’re throwing all their “mature” offspring into politics, such as Kris and Bam?
The shocking (or not) reality, however, reveals itself in light of the bigger picture:
After 2014, Noynoy is expendable.
Remember, the Aquinos have utilized the sympathy vote for a dead family member twice already. Given the highly emotional nature of the Filipinos, there’s no reason it will not work a third time in the future.
When Ninoy died, Cory ran for president and won.
When Cory died, Noynoy ran for president and won.
Given that Noynoy is not in the best of health, Filipinos are now faced with the following scenario:
If Noynoy dies before the 2016 elections, Kris will run for the presidency and win.
Take note of the words “have utilized the sympathy vote for a dead family member twice already” – this is what analysts here in the Philippines like to call necropolitics.
The way death defines the Aquino-Cojuangcos’ political life is not just limited to capitalizing on the death of one of their own; it also encompasses the number of deaths of civilians that can be attributed to their administration’s incompetence or neglect, and those that were allegedly killed in order to protect their interests.
I also wrote back in March 2013 about how BS Aquino’s incompetence is undeniably a cause of death among Filipinos:
Let’s do the obvious numbers:
8 hostages dead in the mishandled Mendoza hostage incident in 2010.
At least 1,500 dead in the mismanaged response to typhoon Sendong last December 2011
At least 1000 confirmed deaths in another mismanaged calamity response, this time with Typhoon Pablo last December 2012.
Two years and counting that the Aquino administration has failed to curb human rights abuses. Statistics vary, but the newspaper Sunstar is quoted on November 29, 2012, that 114 is the number of extrajudicial killings that have taken place ever since BS Aquino became president.
And now, at least 12 dead in the clashes that occurred between Malaysian forces and the forces of the Sultanate of Sulu. The number is only going to go up from here.
Let us also remember that as a congressman in 2004, BS Aquino simply dismissed as illegal the strike at Hacienda Luisita that later resulted in at least 7 dead and hundreds injured.
Consider the time passed between March 2013 and now, and we’ll find that the incident with the Taiwanese fishermen, the mismanaged responses to the earthquake in Cebu and Bohol and, most especially, to Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) have only served to add to the list of deaths that are attributable to BS Aquino.
As I also pointed out, BS Aquino’s incompetence has also killed institutions. The idea of three co-equal branches of government does not sit well with someone like BS Aquino who does not respect institutions and considers everything personal. Before the pork barrel and the DAP were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, BS Aquino did not put an end to the patronage politics that is the most striking form of corruption here; in fact, the practice enlarged under his term because, apparently, it is the only way he could get what he wanted from Congress. With regards to the DAP, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that BS Aquino did not like, and as a result, he has tried to get them “to see things his way” too.
I don’t understand how BS Aquino can say that the Philippines is open for business when his government seems very inept at solving the persistent problems with infrastructure and expensive but inefficient utilities. Investors consider those a minimum requirement for doing business anywhere; they must be reliable, and they must not be a burden on potential entries into the local business scene. Then again, BS Aquino comes from the oligarchy who would like to protect its own vested interests. Unfortunately, with this kind of approach to handling the economy, his government is presiding over a slow and painful death to it.
Because BS Aquino considers everything personal, there is one thing that he seemingly would only be too happy to see die: all dissenting opinion. All roads point to it; his SONA included that jab at his critics. His laments against what he considers “negativism” in the media are many, and well known. BS Aquino, no matter how many times he says he will ignore his critics, quite simply just can’t. He wants to hear only good news and praises and support from them. It’s not hard to surmise that because of that, he will not see any need to improve beyond his current level of competence – abysmal.
What does it tell us about the Aquino-Cojuangco clan that death seemingly defines their political life? Quite simply, it indicates that underneath all that fluff, there is very little substance. You can call them either very dastardly or very opportunistic, but capitalizing on the death (or even potential death) of one of their own seemingly points to a sort of desperation. Hacienda Luisita, after all, is THE prize to end all prizes for them. They lose that, what else do they have?
And the deaths that have been a result of their clan members’ incompetence and selfish interests? Why should they care when Filipinos will keep worshiping them for one of their own supposedly “restoring democracy”? If I were a haciendero, I too, would consider such deaths inconsequential. After all, I did not die, right?
It is seriously time for the Filipinos to evaluate with a clear and rational approach the place that the Aquino-Cojuangco clan holds in their psyche.
- Things of the past - November 30, 2018
- The difference between Duterte’s words and the Opposition’s - October 31, 2018
- Why are Filipinos reluctant to call wrongdoing out? - September 30, 2018
- Going around in circles - August 31, 2018
- Resurgence, relevance, and regard for the future, all in the SONA - July 31, 2018