Back in the heady days leading up to the 1986 EDSA “people power” “revolution”, the top slogan of supporters of then incumbent Philippine president Ferdinand E. Marcos was, what else, “Marcos pa rin!” (roughly translated: “Still Marcos!”). Fast forward to today and, guess what, the incumbent’s slogan that “trended” in recent days (presumably to counter an avalanche of calls for President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III to step down) is “Noynoy pa rin!”
What a difference (or rather lack of it) three decades makes. Just shy of the 30th anniversary of that “revolution”, apologists of the Son of Cory are now making the very same desperate appeal to the Filipino public — that their guy BS Aquino is not really such a bad guy and should continue as “president”.
What is actually disturbing is that it took Filipinos almost 30 years to figure out that they had been had by what basically is an even greedier, more power-hungry, feudal clan. The House of Aquino-Cojuangco is no different from all the others that the Yellow-branded rhetoric sought to demonise over the last three decades. We have President BS Aquino to thank for the clarity we now enjoy. BS Aquino, over the last five years has shown that another Aquino in power merely further embedded the same institutionalised thievery, encouraged the same politically-motivated “projects”, and propagated the same agenda-laden thinking — only this time the results were far more disastrous and unleashed over a far shorter timeframe. Aquino, in short, presided over an administration that was deadly-efficient at sowing dysfunction across the nation!
And yet, a small band of misguided Filipinos continue to chant: #NoyNoyPaRin!
Not surprisingly, the dude who supposedly launched that Twitter hasghtag is none other than disgraced televangelist Brother Eli Soriano of Ang Dating Daan fame. The radio and TV show is one of the longest-running religious programs in the Philippines. The program gained notoriety for its pointed “exposés” of so-called “doctrinal errors” of other Christian sects. Interestingly, Soriano was reportedly arrested in 2006 on charges of raping one of his church devotees in 2000…
Soriano allegedly “took advantage of his moral ascendancy and/or influence” to direct his subordinate to come into his room, massage him and have anal intercourse, around 1:30 p.m. of May 17, 2000.
The case information said the sexual acts were done “against the will and consent, and to the damage and prejudice” of the complainant, who was also a religious.
Soriano has so far insisted that these accusations have “not been proven in court”. According on the last known report on the case, Soriano’s bid to have the case dismissed was rejected by the Philippines’ Court of Appeals.
What then is left to “celebrate” whenever the anniversary of the 1986 “revolution” comes around?
Not much really. At a fundamental level, the Philippines remains the same country it was before that “revolution”. As such, there was nothing truly revolutionary about that whole circus in 1986. The same power structures remain entrenched in Philippine politics and business. The same tiny elite clique of families still rule the islands. The same sorts of disasters still kill tens of thousands of Filipinos. And the same armed homicidal terrorists roam the country’s mountains and jungles with impunity.
Dependence on the remittances of the country’s vast army of overseas foreign workers is growing. And the economy is propped up more by consumption and asset bubbles (both fuelled by these remittances) than by real industrial capacity.
The “democracy” supposedly “restored” by this “revolution” is there in form but not in substance. The quality of the political “debate” has failed to rise to the level a true modern democracy demands. The result of this macro retardation is a devastating paralysis in the face of the gross incompetence exhibited by President BS Aquino in managing the crisis sparked by the recent massacre of 44 Filipino police officers by Islamic terrorists in Mindanao. Despite what has become a clear catastrophic loss of confidence in his “leadership”, the president remains safe in his office thanks to the public’s equal distaste for the alternative, Vice President Jejomar Binay who, like the president, is also a popularly-elected official.
That both the President and Vice President are equally detested by the very same people who voted for them is an indictment of the effectiveness of the sort of democracy the Philippines suffers today — one where the popular will does not, in most cases, reflect the best interests of the nation.
In essence, the 1986 “revolution” has given power to a people who are hopeless at wielding power productively.
A new narrative is needed to replace the idiotic “hero”-infested fairy tale told by Yellow propagandists over the last several decades. The new story should appeal to intelligence rather than emotion. Filipinos need to embrace the cold reality of the truth and wean itself off the warm fuzzy feeling they get from being told that they are a “blessed” lot. There is nothing blessed about chronic poverty and institutionalised injustice. Sadly, this is pretty much the only two things Filipinos have to show after three decades of post-“revolution” “freedom”.
The Yellow ribbon President BS Aquino continues to insist on wearing on his left shirt breast belongs where it should have been when he first took his seat in Malacanang — in the crapper.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.