The Inquirer Weekly Analysis

By Aurelio S. Agcaoili


This is the hour of judgment—ang oras ng paghuhukom.

From this State of the Nation Address, presidential version, we either will move on or get shucked up in the political quagmire of our own making.

There are, of course, other versions of this SONA thing—and these versions are not any better than the one common sense tells us. Let us state it simply now: That the thinking masses of the Filipino people are not idiots and political midgets. The thinking masses know how to use their head even if some of those who claim as our leaders do not.

Take the Lacson claim which he calls the True State of the Nation. He tells us of his diagnosis but then he forgets about the excesses of the Erap regime that he served ever so faithfully. Think of amnesia—and we can only think of an effective remedy.

The Greeks call this anamnesis, the same reality that structures a true prayer of the believer of providence—or a force higher than the monies of those producing the staged rallies and protests.

Anamnesis tells and instructs us of the need to draw up an antidote to forgetting by always remembering—always refusing to succumb to forgetfulness. Is it in the river of Lethe where forgetfulness is of value?

Maybe, but not in nation building as the case of the Philippines. For even as we try to address head on the issues of the day—even as we require and demand that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo submit to the rule of law, we must also demand the same thing to those who have wronged us as people.

We must demand the same to those who, in the height of their power, concocted their own version of truth for us to swallow as if we do not know any better. From the time of President Ferdinand Marcos—this one-time ex-great based on his boast and on his campaign promise—until today, we have had enough of this manufacturing and fabrication of truth. This manufacturing and fabrication of truth has been the masterpiece of those involved with the Marcos regime and those regimes that came after him, the present occupant of Malacanang Palace included. Psy-war operators, all of them. Or their henchmen, their truth-spinners and truth-spawners.

Reports tell us now of the hanky-panky maneuverings of those who are claiming a right to speak for and in the name of the Filipino people—the maneuverings that have something to do with renting warm bodies to hold the placards about Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s cheating and lying and stealing. These are the very same warm bodies that have been deprived of dignity and robbed of self-respect; those who did these traitorous acts were the producers of this political theatre of the burlesque kind—the same people who claim they know the truth better than anyone of us.

Senator Panfilo Lacson’s TSONA, for instance, presents an oblique case of his brand of truth that could come only from his association with several equally flawed regimes. The true state of the nation, we remind Lacson, is that our people cannot any longer afford to live because this crisis has held them hostage to the vagaries of power and presidential ambition.

Lacson talks of a debilitating cancer—this cancer that has “corroded and contaminated the moral and social fiber of the (Filipino) nation.” Yes, but Arroyo alone did not make this happen—and this cancer did not develop overnight.

We can do a KISS—keep it simple, stupid!—here. And then we see that this cancer began with a tumor, perhaps a boil during all the years that we watched them—these fabricators and manufacturers of national lies and national prevarications and national alibis.

Rizal has forewarned us a long time ago about the frailes that were corrupt and corrupting. The frailes wee those who called for the heads of any one crossing their path to God and glory; with their kind of goons, they were powerful and they succeeded in reducing the masses into a fraile-fearing populace that was at their beck and call. The 19th century chaos called for a revolution as a remedy; the revolution eventually went kaput because the opportunists took advantage of their position to benefit from the spoils of war and patronage. And so in the end, the enemy and the opportunist pseudo-revolutionaries took everything: the honor and the power, and that history of their heroism and supreme sacrifice that was as flawed as it was also a farce—even a mockery of those who willingly gave their life for the motherland.

We look at the names of those calling for the head of the President and we see the same ones that have lorded it over us since the Marcos regime and even before. And with Jinggoy Estrada now serving as some kind of a “Principe Constantino” in that monarchic procession to the search for the missing crown of the father who was impeached for, among other things, taking in bribes from jueteng, we can only complete the spectacle with the senadora mother acting as the Reyna Elena, as an analyst would put it. This is a huge spectacle, a grand one—and we see the scene completely now:
with Imee Marcos crying foul in the anti-Gloria rallies and then us joining, at least in our amnesiac minds, these characters in our attempt to become amnesiac as well with the requirements of the Constitution.

The problem with the opposition is credibility as well. In saying this, we see that the Arroyo presidency is saddled with the same problem. The clamor of the Manila folks for the head of the President is not something that we have to ignore. But then again, Manila does not see everything.

We turn to the surveys as well for guidance and we see some indications of a political unconscious in the poll-taking. Why Manila? And why Manilans alone? As they say in basic research, the choice of a method, a framework, and a sample is itself a bias—an intellectual prejudice that the researcher is duty-bound to acknowledge and explain. And where do the funds come from in these surveys, let us ask?

All these—the rallies, the protests, these SONAs of all kinds, the grandstanding acts of the opposition, the press releases of the President—all these contain some manufactured and fabricated truth because they take the vantage point of the one who does the act.

All told, we need to see who are the other people involved in this grand scam to cheat us of our right to know—and our right to decide for our future as a people.

Let the impeachment process roll and we shall see the names and the abominable actions that have been withheld from us. We want to know the other power-players, those who have a stake in the downfall of the presidency and those who bankrolled the wiretapping of the now infamous “Hello Garci” conversation.

Our right to know is our basic right. With a respect for the Constitution—with the need to balance political claims for legitimacy and its absence and the need to unmask all of those who have been fabricating and manufacturing truth for our consumption, this country will get to its feet and stand once again. We expect a political maturity in the years ahead. With the big picture, we will arrest this crisis looming like a phantom before us.

Published in the Inquirer, Jul 29/05

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