First of 2 parts
THE huge lesson for the nation of the Benigno Aquino 3rd presidency is the following:
A political force should never ever be so greedy for power and so opportunistic as to pick whoever seems “winnable” to be its presidential candidate, even if he or she is clearly unqualified for the presidency.
However malleable he or she may seem, the sense of wielding power will ultimately go to his or her head. He or she would push for his or her own agenda; even if petty, which would pull down his or her presidency and the entire country down. But worse, the presidency is such a crucial post in the nation state, an incompetent one like Aquino would even result in the death of thousands of Filipinos.
In Noynoy’s case an example of his personal agenda (or task given by his clan) was the political assassination – the removal from his post – of former chief Justice Renato Corona, the first time in our history a president politically beheaded the Supreme Court. The Aquino clan had wanted the court to award Hacienda Luisita over P10 billion as compensation for it being put under land reform. Corona had blocked that, convincing the court to award only P173 million.
But to take out Corona, the Aquino regime had to bribe Congress, not just through the usual pork barrel funds but by hijacking the budget, through the so-called Disbursement Acceleration Program to provide 16 senators P1.6 billion to convict the Chief Justice. Aquino lost any claim to good governance after that.
The flip side to Aquino’s malleability was his belligerent stance against the regional superpower, which was the result of the desperate need of three oligarchs to get the Chinese to lift their blockade of their ambitious gas extraction project in the Recto Bank, which China, the Philippines, and Vietnam all claim.
And examples of course of his incompetence were his gross mishandling of the Luneta hostage crisis (eight dead), the Mamasapano raid (44 Special Forces killed), and the Yolanda super typhoon (at least 5,000 dead).
As late as 2008, no one in the Liberal Party – I know as I was for a brief period one of its vice presidents – saw Aquino 3rd as a “presidentiable.” He was the Aquino couple’s spoiled unico hijo, a nice guy, a “simple soul,” as Imee Marcos put it, and a laid-back underachiever. Even in his wildest dreams, Noynoy didn’t ever think of being president.
Aquino was nowhere in the political firmament. He didn’t even appear in polls in 2008 and 2009 for people’s choices to be the next president. which included Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Joseph Estrada, Jejomar Binay and Francis Escudero, each garnering two-digit percentages. Despite his huge war chest, the Liberal Party’s candidate Mar Roxas wasn’t taking off at all. His rating even fell from 20 percent in December 2007 to 15 percent in March 2009. PDI campaigns for Noynoy. People’s call? Or Yellows’ need to win?
By mid-2009, and with the filing of candidacies fast drawing near, the situation was desperate for the Liberal Party – more precisely the Yellows, which includes their other forces allied with them and several business elites led by the Ayalas.
The leader board was crowded, and with the Yellows out of power and therefore unable to use government resources, Mar Roxas’ 20 percent rating as shown by a June 2009 Social Weather Stations poll was clearly not enough to beat Manuel Villar’s 33 percent and Joseph Estrada’s 25 percent. Even with the Yellows’ powerful propaganda weapons, ABS-CBN, the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and the Philippine Star any political analyst saw Roxas would be a loser.
The next president would either be Villar, supported by President Arroyo, the Yellows’ hated demoness, or Estrada, equally as hateful to them. If Estrada won, he would have crushed ABS-CBN, the Inquirer, and the other Yellow elites – including Fidel Ramos’ forces – responsible for kicking him out in 2001.
But then Cory Aquino, the Yellows’ saint died on Aug. 1, 2009. The cult leaders remembered how US PR strategists in 1985 exploited Filipinos’ sympathy for the assassinated Ninoy to build up a housewife’s image enough to challenge the powerful strongman Marcos.
That there was a spontaneous “outpouring” of sympathy for Cory however is a myth. A week after she was buried in August, Cory’s death had faded from the front pages.
What really catapulted Aquino 3rd into becoming the most viable candidate for the Yellows is the big lesson in the past decade: the tremendous power of the media.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer, the Philippine Star and of course ABS-CBN were all owned or managed by true-believer Yellow cultists. After a few news articles in the PDI Roxas wasn’t going anywhere in the polls, he gave way to Aquino 3rd as the Yellows’ standard bearer on September 1.
From then on, the Yellow media almost on a daily basis projected Ninoy as the Cory of that decade, the pure Yellow knight who would save the country from the demon and the demoness.
The PDI in particular was relentless in publishing “investigative” stories of Erap’s corruption when he was president, and of Villar as an oligarch intent on using the presidency to expand his business empire. The PDI’s moniker for Villar – Villarroyo – stuck, which was powerful as Arroyo had been depicted by media for the previous three years as corrupt.
Most of the Philippine elite moved to Noynoy’s camp by early 2010, fearing another Erap era in which among many other anomalies, a foreign magnate was given control of PLDT and Meralco. On the other hand, they doubted Villar’s capacity to win the elections as he didn’t have the charisma nor an image the masses could identify with. Villar’s statement he was swimming in garbage in his youth became a joke of the town, depicted hilariously in so many editorial cartoons. By March, funds were pouring into the Noynoy camp, in Philippine presidential elections always the game changer. PDI creates a bandwagon effect for Noynoy, crucial in raising campaign funds.
Noynoy won with a huge 42 percent of the vote, and they thought the third Yellow presidency, after Cory and Fidel Ramos, would be so good it would lead to a fourth Yellow president.
Instead, Duterte, the antithesis of an oligarchy-supporting political elite, won as president in 2016, and would crush the myths and deceptions of the Yellow Cult as well as its most powerful weapon, the ABS-CBN broadcast media.
Never again, will there be a Yellow president. Both ABS-CBN and PDI are shadows of their former selves, and the mostly anti-elite, anti-oligarch Philippine social media now competes with mainstream media. Only in the Yellows’ delusions could the flighty Kris or the usually clueless Bam could ever be beneficiaries of their sordid “necropolitics”.
Noynoy’s death, with his body’s rushed cremation and burial, indeed is the official marker for the Yellow Cult’s end which, to borrow from the famous line, certainly is not with a bang but with a whimper.
Noynoy’s last days
The most poignant article on Noynoy’s death was written by lifestyle columnist of the Philippine Star, Bum Tenorio, who was journalistically brilliant as to have interviewed those with him in his last days: his driver and domestic help. The piece has gone viral in social media, with different interpretations of what happened, and of the man himself.
The information in the piece raises intriguing questions. Was Noynoy so bold a man he chose his own way of dying, refusing dialysis that was propping up his life? Or was he so despondent he just gave up living? One comment on my Facebook posting of this article: “Euthanasia may be committed not simply to take a rest but may be given better meaning if done in perfect secrecy.”
“On the night of June 23 before he passed away, former President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino 3rd was still able to request for what he wanted for breakfast the following day. He would normally have bacon in the morning, prepared by his longtime help Yolly Yebes, according to his 65-year-old driver Nory Mariano.
On Thursday, June 24, recalled Mariano, a little after 6 a.m., Yebes entered Aquino’s room in Times Street in Quezon City and discovered the former president still sitting on his recliner. His position was exactly the same as she had left him the night before.
‘Kuya Nors! Tingnan mo nga si Sir. Parang hindi na siya humihinga. Kung paano ko siya iniwan kagabi sa La-Z-Boy niya, ganon pa rin siya,’ Mariano recalled his early morning conversation with Yebes.
He dashed to Aquino’s room. Worried but hopeful. In Mariano’s heart and mind, a fervent prayer. ‘Tiningnan ko ang tiyan ni Sir. Hindi na gumagalaw.’
An ambulance came in a jiffy to bring Aquino to the Capitol Medical Center. At 6:30 a.m. yesterday, Aquino, 61, was pronounced dead. Cause: renal disease secondary to diabetes.
That night was silent. There was no buzzer.
‘Namatay siya sa pagkakahimbing,’ Mariano, holding back his tears, said.
Mariano was up early on Thursday. Like his usual routine, he would approach the two guards outside the room of the former president to check on Aquino through them.
‘Kumusta si Sir? Hindi ba siya namuyat? Hindi daw sabi ng dalawang bantay,’ Mariano recalled his brief conversation with the two men stationed outside the room of Aquino.
He said Aquino, in the middle of the night, would use the buzzer in his room if he would request for a late-night snack or if something was physically bothering him.
But that night was silent. There was no buzzer. Aquino died peacefully in his sleep.
Last June 21, according to Mariano, Aquino was supposed to undergo a dialysis treatment.
‘Pero sabi niya, ‘Hindi ko kaya. Mahina ang katawan ko’,‘ Mariano quoted Aquino as saying.
Despite that, the following day, Mariano added, Aquino was a bit in high spirits as he was able to ask him to have his car brought to the casa to change oil.
On June 23, he missed again his dialysis treatment because “hindi pa rin kaya ng katawan niya.”
(On Wednesday: The Aquino regime’s 10 hoaxes and crimes)
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