Endings. The national artist for literature asks history’s unasked questions of what if’s in his piece “Conclusive endings When does a writer end a story or a novel?”. F. Sionil Jose writes of the importance of an author knowing when to stop in order for his story to not lose “its power to make the reader think and ponder the emotional and intellectual awakening.”
If Jose Rizal wasn’t executed, would he have led the revolt against Spain? If Andres Bonifacio hadn’t been executed, would he have done the same against Emilio Aguinaldo? Definitely Bonifacio wouldn’t have sold out to the Spaniards in the Pact of Biak-na-Bato if he was the leader of the revolution. What really happened to Ramon Magsaysay? If you think about it, the birth of the Philippine Republic was premature in 1946 because of the destruction wrought by the war. But this is just one factor. The political structure was also flawed because it was under the control of the ruling Ilustrado class which the Americans co-opted in its pacification campaign. It can be said that the Filipino was colonized by the ruling class after 1946. This is why we have fallen behind our regional neighbors in terms of economic progress.
Jose again mentions the ruthlessness of Ninoy Aquino who wouldn’t stop at anything to achieve his Presidential ambition.
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Ninoy, who helped negotiate the surrender of Taruc to the government, wanted desperately to be president. He was ruthless and single-minded in this ambition, and he sought allies, whoever they were and wherever he found them – including the Communists and the CIA. How would he have fared as president with this Communist alliance? He who rides the tiger – as the old warring goes – cannot dismount. There are no IFS in history. There are only the iron realities of men acting out their destinies, a people deserving their leaders whom they have placed on pedestals made of sand. I’ve looked at them – our presidents from Aguinaldo to Duterte; all of them were vested with so much power to do away with our most pernicious and crippling sickness – moral poverty.
What if Aquino and Joma Sison were successful in toppling Ferdinand Marcos? How would he have shared power with Sison? What would his CIA handlers have him do with the US military presence in the country? Ninoy has never been the saint he was made out to be as part of the campaign to buttress his image after his “assassination.” The truth is, Ninoy was a more refined political warlord during the 50s and the 60s but he was still a warlord.
What if Mar Roxas won in 2016? Or Jojo Binay? Or even Grace Poe? Where would the country be at this point if any one of them did? Binay was the most qualified before Duterte came into the picture. We definitely wouldn’t have the outcome of the Luneta hostage-taking incident, Yolanda, Mamasapano and the Zamboanga siege as the highlights of his administration. What if Marcos designated Danding Cojuangco and Juan Ponce Enrile as his successors? Would the Philippines be better off today? Both were politically-savvy and had business acumen to boot. If Marcos didn’t call for the snap election, the transfer of power would’ve been smooth and we wouldn’t have Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos, and Noynoy Aquino as Presidents. But the process can also be cathartic. We had to suffer for thirty years before Duterte came along and disrupted the political landscape.
We find ourselves now in the middle of the worst mass extinction event to threaten mankind with Duterte at the helm and about to step down. Will Filipinos go for continuity or will they opt for a return to the politics of the Yellows? Isn’t it ironic that the Cojuangco’s of Tarlac became rich from the funds supposedly earmarked for the revolution but kept by Doña Ysidra after Luna’s assassination only for it to fund the ascendancy of Ninoy, Cory and Noynoy? The state of Hacienda Luisita today is a silent testimony to how a business built on monies of dubious origin doesn’t prosper long enough for future generations to benefit. Questions. Questions. Questions.
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