You can almost imagine what former President Noynoy Aquino’s final days may have been like given the description of the househelp and the driver who were closest to him as reported by PhilSTAR lifestyle columnist Bum Tenorio (who Bobi Tiglao quoted in his piece “Never again!”). His last public appearance already gave an indication of a serious illness. He had lost a lot of weight. Most Filipinos are predisposed to diabetes and hypertension because of their diet. Fatty and salty food and a predilection for sugary sodas. It didn’t help that he was a smoker and never played high-impact sports when he was younger. This is why he was cremated. The optics wouldn’t have been as good of that of his father who lay in his casket in all of his blood-stained glory in 1983. A strong and moving symbol of a murder that could conveniently be pinned on then President Ferdinand Marcos and oust him from power. He was memorialized instead by eulogies and tributes. This was to be his edification for political purposes.
When the Philippines descends back into the dark, evil and dictatorial ways of a an authoritarian, an Aquino is sacrificed at the altar of Philippine politics to serve as a reminder of the good, the decent and the morally-righteous. The narrative is then spun to jolt the Filipino into waking from his political stupor. It is again time to galvanize the forces of good against evil. It is time to do away with them once and for all in order to go back to what is ideal and adhere to the prescribed standard of the Roman Catholic Church. Decency, accountability and transparency are the operative words. There is no room for political interlopers. Those who do not come with the provenance of a good family. A family that is morally upright and puts god at the center of their lives. A family that hears mass and prays together. A family which goes back to the time of the colonial masters whose history is replete with achievements because its progenies all attended excellent educational institutions such as the UP, Ateneo or La Salle.
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end as well. You cannot pull the wool over the public always. You cannot use the name of the Lord thy God in vain and expect to get away with it each and every time. The truth eventually finds its way out from where it has been buried and rises back to the surface to rear its ugly head to stare at you in your face. The haste with which the Aquino family buried their brother is indicative of their facing the hard truth that the end has come. Much as their supporters wanted to exploit the opportunity, the environment was not cooperative to them in the midst of the pandemic.
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Many of us have only come face-to-face with the frailty of human life when the lockdown was imposed last March 2020 and we witnessed the mounting death count throughout the world. But there are still many who have not come to terms with the reality that at any time, we can be infected and die. The truth is not all the money and power in the world can save you from death. There are times when it comes like a thief in the night but there are also times when it comes slowly in the manner of a prolonged illness replete with suffering and consternation. The lord was kind enough to end his suffering as he died peacefully in his sleep. He also made sure that he could not be exploited one last time for others to gain from his misery. It is our sincere hope that he has found the peace that so many look for, but few of us, ever find.
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