Today is the anniversary of the death of former Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo who died in a plane crash in 2012. Because he was seen to be a decent fellow, a lot of politicians and “activists” got on the bandwagon of hero worship, just short of turning him into a Catholic saint and erecting temples in his honour along a major highway (sound familiar?).
Robredo’s widow, Leni Robredo (or rather her new-found “friends” in politics) rode on this new-found cult of dead personality and, as a result, is now a member of the Philippines’ House of Representatives. Now that the 2016 presidential elections is looming in the horizon, they want her to run as Vice President. That’s the power of popularity in Philippine politics — particularly its rather distasteful flavour: necropolitics.
Indeed, Leni Robredo joins that other wildly-popular “presidentiable” Grace Poe in that esteemed clique of sought-after politicians who form the esteemed Dead Relatives Society of Pinoy politics. Its founding member was the late former President Cory Aquino who rose to power on the back of the brouhaha the assassination of her husband caused in 1983. Her son, current President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III, followed in that tradition like the good son, coming out of nowhere following the death of his mother in 2009 to seize the Liberal Party (LP) presidential nomination from then lead candidate Mar Roxas who is now sentenced to a sad life of clinging to political survival by parroting LP taglines ad nauseum.
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Indeed, it is really distasteful the way using dead people for political gain has become such a strong tradition in Philippine politics. Supposedly to commemorate the anniversary of Sec. Robredo’s death, for example, people in the Liberal Party camp of President BS Aquino came up with this meme:
Note the yellow-themed colours of this image. It is as if the message “Robredo is ours” jumps out of the page. But did the Liberal Party pay for Robredo’s salary in life while serving as a cabinet secretary? No. The Filipino people did. And not all Filipinos are Liberal Party supporters nor are all of them subscribed to BS Aquino’s Yellow brand. What is this meme trying to tell us then — that it is only Filipinos who are loyal to the Yellow colours who possess the right to commemorate the late Secretary?
We might remind some people here that the Philippines’ colours are good ol’ red-white-and-blue. Not yellow. Not Green. Red, white, and blue.
Specially during elections, politicians like bandying around the notion that all this noise is really all about what is good for the Filipino people. But the colours, the subliminal messages, and the actual in-your-face actions of these people pretty much say the opposite — that partisanism and persnal agendas trump everything else.
It’s hypocrisy on a national scale and Filipinos happily lap it all up every time.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.