The floodgates have been opened for tributes and praises for former president Noynoy Aquino (PNoy) after the nation has heard about the former chief executive’s passing. These accolades mostly come from the members and ardent supporters of the Yellow persuasion. While there is nothing inherently wrong with paying respects to (and praying for the soul of) the departed it is one thing to express one’s admiration and sorrow, it is quite another to assert that PNoy was one of the best (if not the best) presidents our country has ever had. I definitely do not agree with that assertion. PNoy may have had a few traits that are worthy of admiration as an individual but to me his presidential legacy is mediocre at best. However, I do not intend to refute the Yellows’ assertions of how great PNoy and his presidency was. History is already replete with PNoy’s failures if we simply look at history without wearing Yellow lens. This writeup is about looking at how PNoy’s last days may have been and why it may be a mistake to project some sort of greatness and heroism on PNoy’s death. To resort to necropolitics once more in order for the Yellows to get back to power is actually doing PNoy a disservice.
I do not intend to dance on PNoy’s grave. I personally feel sorry for what he has been through. I actually know first-hand what PNoy went through when it comes to his End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) secondary to diabetes. I was diagnosed with the same affliction back in 2015 but I was fortunate to survive a kidney transplant procedure six months after my diagnosis. I also underwent a delicate heart procedure (angioplasty) just like PNoy before the transplant to ensure that my heart is well enough for the renal graft procedure. I know how hard PNoy’s ordeal must have been for him. There have been reports that PNoy skipped his last two dialysis sessions and for someone with ESRD, depending on the person’s condition, this could really spell trouble. To make matters worse, PNoy reportedly even asked his cook to make him Crispy Pata and Sisig the night before he passed away. I’m sure he has been informed that ESRD patients have to limit (or even avoid) protein consumption. During my ESRD days even one small bite of meat makes my creatinine levels rise up. Consuming meat without having undergone dialysis certainly will do a number on one’s blood toxicity. Going back to my case, after my diagnosis I refused to have dialysis. I chose to simply go on a strict diet and to follow a prescription regimen. That was very risky and in hindsight, it may have been a poor choice on my part. For six months I made myself endure astronomical creatinine levels which translated to having very toxic blood. I felt very weak and nauseous all the time. There were days when I just couldn’t get up from my bed because I just felt tired and weak. It was a lousy feeling and I can attest to the feeling of wanting to just give up on some days. My first dialysis experience was unforgettable. I have never felt so weak after my first dialysis and this is coming from someone who has been experiencing weakness for months leading up to my kidney transplant schedule. It literally felt like my entire energy was sucked out of me after the 3-hour session. That was the reaction on my body. Some people are different and they’re perfectly fine after their dialysis session. I suppose I was just lucky back then because I was a bit younger. However, for a 61-year-old man who may have issues other than ESRD and diabetes (he was a known chain smoker), maybe PNoy just couldn’t hold on much longer and he simply just decided to give up. My will to hold on essentially came from my desire to still live for my son’s sake. Maybe if PNoy had a family and a child of his own, perhaps he would have had a stronger motivation to fight. Hearing reports that PNoy died without any of his family and friends within his immediate presence certainly brings about a depressing picture to an outsider – what more for the person suffering from such a debilitating disease? Loneliness at one’s lowest point in life can certainly be depressing. This may very well offer the simplest explanation to PNoy’s death. PNoy may have been too weak and depressed to hold on. I do not believe he willingly chose to die so that the country can have a political change like what some Yellow adherents seem to be suggesting.
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This brings me to the main point I am trying to drive at. Yellow adherents seem to be trying to, once again, drum up public and political support using necropolitics by putting a spin on the sad demise of PNoy. For instance, Jesuit priest Jose Ramon Villarin said that:
“Kung broken hearted si Noynoy, alam kong dahil din ito sa hati ang puso ng bayan. Ang dalamhati ng bayan, siya ring dala-dala ng taong ito […] Ang broken heart ng taong ito, nasobrahan din ng broken heart ng taumbayan. Ang broken heart ng bayan ay lalo pang nagagasgasan ng kagaspangan ng kung ano-anong dahas na walang pinagpipitagan. Ang karahasan at pananakot, na panakip-butas lamang sa isang malalim na kahinaan,”
It is amazing how Yellow propagandists like this Jesuit priest are using PNoy’s death as an opportunity to cheap snipe at the current administration. Never mind how silly the claim is that the nation is “divided”, it is the height of absurdity for this priest to assume that the more than 90% approval rating of the current administration translates to the nation being “divided”. If what the priest is suggesting is true, that PNoy felt that the country is “divided”, then didn’t this priest just do PNoy a huge disservice by giving the impression that PNoy was delusional while on his deathbed? To cheap snipe at the current administration’s alleged heavy-handed ways of dealing with the people while keeping mum at the PNoy administration’s failure in terms of institutional reforms when it comes to Human Rights is quite rich. I wonder what this priest was doing when Philippine military and paramilitary groups allegedly killed more than a dozen tribal leaders, tribal community members and local rights groups in 2015? I wonder what this priest was doing back in 2015 when the failed state of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a place where extra judicial killings and death by hacking is as common as parking tickets, has been deemed more peaceful than the Philippines according to the Global Peace Index? Noynoying, perhaps?
Then there’s Yellow PR spinster Yoly Villanueva-Ong who said:
So PNoy’s death was an act of “ultimate sacrifice”? Gee… I didn’t know that poor health resulting from fatty food, uncontrolled diabetes and habitual smoking is now considered to be an act of heroism! If there are people who deserve such a praise, I would rather pick the valiant SAF-44 over someone who may have had one too many Crispy Patas, sodas, and Dunkin’ Donuts.
To suggest that an evil force has infected Filipinos for embracing the present administration and that PNoy’s death paves the way to correct this alleged wrong just goes to show how disingenuous necropolitics is. Necropolitics merely exploits the death of a person in order to achieve a political end and in the case of Yellows – to “reclaim” power in 2022. It is quite sad for Ong to reduce PNoy as a mere prop to be manipulated in order to achieve an end because Ong diminishes PNoy’s intrinsic value in itself by merely focusing on how PNoy’s death can help her preferred political party benefit. This is the fundamental problem with necropolitics – it essentially violates Kantian ethics by using someone as a mere means. To use someone as a mere means is to involve the person in something to which they could not, in principle, consent. Kinda hard to get PNoy’s consent for his death to be used as a tool to propel the Yellows back in power in 2022 at this point unless Ong is very much into Ouija boards, I suppose.
Why can’t many of these Yellows simply remember PNoy for his admirable traits and not use his death as another vehicle to promote a political end? There have been two Aquinos already whose deaths have been weaponized in our country’s history and neither one has really made our country great. Yellow necropolitics has only led to further division in our country as it has been used, time and again, to cancel, ostracize, humiliate, and destroy people who don’t belong to the politics of the Yellows. We do not need another one. The Yellows should prove themselves worthy of the people’s trust once more not for riding on another Aquino’s death nor inflating PNoy’s death as some sort of ultimate sacrifice (because it wasn’t). The Yellow politicians should sell themselves to the Filipinos for their own merit instead. Is that so hard to ask?
(Image from ABS-CBN News)
Calling a spade, a spade…