POLITICS OF THE DEAD

SOUTHERN FRONTIER

By Gerry Salapuddin

The death of former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III last June 24, 2021 was supposedly a solemn and sacred day for his family and relatives and those that once worked with him as a Congressman, Senator and later, President of the Republic.

The following morning, the news in all the tri-media units were all about the sudden death of Noynoy, his nickname by which he was popularly called by family members, friends and supporters.

I was watching the news very intently on my seat as I take my morning breakfast. Suddenly, in the segment of the morning news in one of the TV Channels, a professor from UP, was interviewed and was asked what is the implication of PNoy’s death? His quick reply was it will resurrect and strengthen the Liberal Party and the opposition groups. Other noted Aquino supporters who were asked the same question also made the same claim.

As I watched the interview, I told myself: “The politics of the dead must stop.” The death of someone, be it by natural cause or otherwise, no matter what his former stature in life was during his/her lifetime, must never be politicized, so his/her spirit can rest in peace. But in this country, politicizing death is nothing new and has caused great divide among our people. Any action will always generate a reaction from the sector concerned. Likewise, any statement, especially a statement with political implications will always attract varying reactions, for or against it.

After the assassination of former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, his death generated groundswell of support to the Enrile-Ramos Revolt against President Marcos. The role of the Catholic Church led by Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin was very crucial, that called on Radio Veritas to surround Camps Aguinaldo and Crame, where Secretary of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile and LtGen. Fidel V. Ramos were holed up, mobilized different walks of life in Metro Manila, that led to the peaceful EDSA People Power Revolution that ousted Pres. Marcos from power. Behind the scene, the last straw that broke the camel’s back, was the prodding of the Reagan administration to President Marcos to cut and cut clean, never to use force, until finally he and the First Family were flown out of the country to Hawaii.

After President Marcos was flown out of Malacañan by the US Air Force, the beneficiary of the death of Ninoy and the Enrile-Ramos rebellion was Cory Cojuangco-Aquino. She was installed as a Revolutionary President for two years. During her two year term as a Revolutionary President, she appointed an 80 member Constitutional Commission and commissioned them to write the 1987 Constitution, the current fundamental law of the land.

When one day later after some years Cory Aquino died, the stalwarts and partymates of the Aquinos prodded Noynoy to run for President. Exploiting the sympathy of the people on the death of his mother, Noynoy, anchoring his campaign on ‘Daang Matuwid’ or ‘Straight Path’ and his anti-corruption slogan: “Kung walang korap, walang mahirap,’ won as President over his closest rival Senator Manuel B. Villar.

The presidency of the two Aquinos restored democracy and undid what President Marcos and President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo created for the good of the country. But they sold most of the viable and money-making GOCCs created for the greater good of the Filipinos by President Marcos. Many of the GOCCs were sold to their cronies. Succeeding Presidents sold the remaining viable government corporations like Petron, Iligan Steel, Meralco, Water and other GOCCs, which were very vital to our economy and the basic needs of our people. In terms of infrastructures, they have not accomplished so much that bear lasting positive economic growth to the country.

Hopefully, the death of PNoy will not be politicized by their followers and supporters so that his spirit can rest in peace. His physical body may have been cremated and turned into ashes, but his spirit or soul did not get burn. Their followers and supporters must wake up that the ‘politics of the dead’ does not anymore work wonder this time because the people are now awake and their eyes are opened wide now. It is now the ‘Duterte Magic’ that is shaping the mind of the people.

During this era of information technology, through the internet cyber highway and social networking age, everyone now has access to information. The people clearly see what is happening and are now aware of the truth.

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