Everything you've wanted to know about RP politics, but were afraid to ask.

The rise and fall of the Yellow King

Posted by akosistella on May 9, 2010


Method To Madness
By Patricia Evangelista

IT IS ONE DAY BEFORE THE NATIONAL ELECTIONS, AND I do not have a candidate. Tomorrow, I will find the candidate whose name I can put on my ballot. Today I will write something else.

Understand that I accept the idea of both a lesser evil and an imperfect president. To work in the news, even in the less regimented area of opinion, has made it impossible to take much of anything on faith. In the narrative I know, the murderer of 50 will find his way back to the mansion with pink walls, the moral hypocrite will again rise to the top of the senatorial surveys, and the red queen will carry her throne to the northern court past the armies against her.

In the past few months, the fight has been brutal among partisans. I find it odd to be congratulated for my clear-eyed objectivity when I criticize one candidate, and called biased by the same person when I turn to criticize his. Say a word about patrons to the woman in the green baller band; whisper “Hacienda Luisita” to the yellow-shirted celebrity. See the phalanx of raging green angels, watch the rise of the yellow army. There is something frightening about such absolute faith, especially knowing that not a single one of the men campaigning for the presidency is without vested interests.

Men and women have died because of this election, brutally, killed in front of their children, murdered with their fathers, buried alive or shot to death, as was the case of Cagayan State University’s Rosefina Abad-Serrano, daughter of Gonzaga town’s mayoral bet, when she was ambushed in a passenger van along the national highway. In the Philippines, to win is the final victory, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for both the corrupt and the crusaders. The senatorial polls are evidence enough, with incumbents taking the lead, Lito Lapid and his reign of uselessness as a legislative servant occupying a coveted spot in the “Magic 12.” To the crusaders, the win is the goal, the enemy the sitting king, their champion a messiah who can do no wrong.

I write this because I believe that Noynoy Aquino will win the presidency, and I say it on the strength of 22 percentage points. If I am wrong, and I very well might be, I will write this column again, and address it to whoever is bound for the presidency. I do not believe acknowledging his lead will unduly influence votes this late in the game.

This is an attempt to engage with the reality of Noynoy Aquino, before the yellow confetti is swept from an empty Edsa. Aquino is not my president, but I accept that he may become mine when June 30 rolls around.

His people paint him as a good man carrying a legacy of heroes. It is his reluctance, the same as his mother’s, that they claim make him an ideal president.

“There are so many people who were egging me on,” he said, “who are forming the majority of the organization that is propelling this candidacy.”

This is Noynoy Aquino, whose mother led the opposition on the strength of no more than a wedding ring, who now leads the presidential fight by virtue of being the son of Ninoy and Cory Aquino. The crown prince, a congressman of 12 years whose legislative record is trumped by action star Bong Revilla. Revilla, after all, managed to pass one bill. It is difficult to discuss Aquino’s track record, because he has none.

If he wins he will be the third People Power president, pushed by a flood of supporters in a mad crush to remove the enemy. His mother, who had a charm Aquino now does not possess, was hounded by coups, and forced by factions to let go of her executive and finance secretaries, both stalwart allies. In 2001, when Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo rode the wave of moral indignation against Joseph Estrada, civil society celebrated her inauguration. Anyone was better than the man they called a thief. In months, Ms Arroyo was trading power for loyalty.

Noynoy Aquino, whose party has been rocked by infighting throughout the campaign period, will be forced to unite a factional army of varying persuasions if he wins. Without Ms Arroyo to focus the desires of his many supporters, there is little doubt he will be caught between warring interests. He has already flip-flopped on the RH bill, and promised the distribution of Hacienda Luisita while his own family declared its refusal to let go of the sugar fields. Remember this is the same Aquino who was unable to take a stand on the Common Agricultural Policy when it was up for extension. Now he is supported by civil society groups who damn debt servicing, and a Makati Business Club that supports it, the same people who say Aquino can simply hire as many technocrats and advisers as he needs.

Now Aquino speaks of sharing power with his more qualified running mate Mar Roxas. “I am sharing 50 percent to 80 percent of the job with my one and only partner, Mar Roxas, and I am offering him not just one, but several portfolios in an oversight capacity,” Aquino told a news conference, submitting himself to the public as a figurehead president.

Citizenship demands more than a vote. Those who support him are accountable, to hold his hand and keep him on track, and should be judged the moment they leap into Edsa when this man trips over his own feet. It’s not a free pass for those who voted against him to disengage from the democratic exercise. Oppose him, condemn him, hold him accountable, hound his heels until 2016. After all, to participate in an election is a concession that someone is bound to win, even if your candidate may be more deserving.

I believe this election is important, that the vote is important, that involvement and discourse and the noise of democracy working is important, but it does not end on the day the new president is declared and the dates for the weekly press conferences are announced. I do not believe that Richard Gordon’s win will mean progress, or that Aquino’s will usher in change, or that Villar’s will eliminate poverty. I do not believe one nation’s progress depends on one man or woman—the same way I will not blame Ms Arroyo completely for her wholesale rape of nation and Constitution, as the Armed Forces and the Supreme Court and the unpunished men we continue to elect into office now once cheered her on thrust for thrust.

“There is nothing to fear now,” he said in his speech at this year’s People Power Anniversary. “We are awake. We are aware. We will move to reach victory.”

There is very much to fear if Aquino wins the 2010 presidency, and it is important that we are afraid. Messiah or moron, if he is elected, his fall will be ours. (From Inquirer/May 9, 2010)

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