Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III is now on the run — from his own propaganda machine. No less than erstwhile Aquino apologist Conrado de Quiros laments the growing lameness of the ‘Edsa story’ in the eyes of the Filipino youth in his Inquirer column today, Storytelling. Echoingwhat I wrote earlier, de Quiros also drew upon Oscar Franklin Tan’s pieceAlienating youth from Edsa to arrive at the same conclusion
What has taken the luster out of Edsa over time is not just time, it is also the power of the story. Tan’s question, “How can one tell students to ‘never forget’ what they do not remember?” has a corollary. That is: How can one tell the students to “never forget” when they are not particularly clear on what it is they should remember?
Tan deserves a pat on the back on account of that breakthrough insight he had contributed to the national debate (note that this time, I do not enclose that last word in quotes like I usually do). Philippine society as reflected in itsmainstream national “debate” currently suffers from a bad case of tunnelvision. Nowhere is this more evident in the presumption that any sort of legacy of Ferdinand Marcos and Martial Law is necessarily bad. Tan came up with the conceptual leap that points us to the proverbial Emperor’s nakedness: that the notion of any political era in the Philippines that (1) pre-dates 1986 and (2) spans the years between 2001 and mid-2010 inclusive being necessarily evil is not one that transcends generations.
As de Quiros himself points out, “If the Marcoses are like the Japanese, Edsa is like the ‘Liberation’ in my generation’s experience. Both partake of very strong mythical elements.” Indeed, we in our generation cannot relate with our grandparents’ contempt for the Japanese. So it follows, today’s youth struggle to harbour the prescribed contempt for the Marcoses and even the Arroyos that their “elders” continuously shove down their throats and whip them into embracing.
It’s no wonder then that the embattled President BS Aquino has gone off toseek comfort in the arms of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) cult on the occasion ofthe grand opening of its monumental Philippine Arena stadium…
“We give our heartfelt thanks to the Iglesia Ni Cristo for your concern to your fellowmen; you are truly showing this not just in words but in action,” the President told the crowd gathered at the Philippine Arena.Perhaps at the back of P-Noy’s mind was the contrast between the INC’s support and the continued brickbats hurled at him by Catholic bishops, not all of whom are necessarily “GMA bishops.” Conspicuous, for instance, was retired archbishop Oscar Cruz in the front row of those who filed the impeachment complaint against P-Noy.
At least the INC is being consistent as it had endorsed the candidacy of then candidate BS Aquino and his sidekick Mar Roxas during the 2010 presidential elections. Interestingly, however, the INC had also endorsed the presidency of the Aquino-Cojuangco clan’s nemesis, former President Gloria Arroyo in the 2004 presidential election. And before that, in 1998, the popular cult had supported former President and convicted plunderer Joseph ‘Erap’ Estrada in the 1998 presidential elections. Most notable of all, the INC had supported the then incumbent President Ferdinand Marcos in the 1986 “snap elections”. The INC, suffice to say, holds quite the track record of political endorsement infamy.
President BS Aquino does, indeed, find himself in good company getting in bed with the INC. Fortunately for both the President and his cultish followers, the INC, as evident in its latest masterpiece edifice, remains pretty good at getting and keeping things erect