In a series of moves, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has since extended her hand for reconciliation with the opposition.
At the 22nd anniversary of the martyrdom of Ninoy Aquino, we have seen a spectacular sight: President Arroyo attending mass at the memorial park where Aquino was laid to rest. In the front row with her were former President Corazon Aquino and Senator Franklin Drilon.
Never mind that Arroyo was an unexpected visitor. The elite political class’ first lesson in manners is civility in public.
Never mind too that in the heat of that presidential hullabaloo stemming from the “Hello Garci” taped conversation, Aquino called for the resignation of Arroyo.
Never mind too that the taped conversation has become an industry of production and reproduction, with both fake and the alleged genuine copies going around the country for the consumption of both the kibitzers and destabilizers.
It is the season of rains and typhoons and flashfloods in the country—and it is the season as well of the elite political class reclaiming its own once again. Here is the season for the elite political class to be saving their own kind’s skin once again in the face of the political storms and deluge.
Never mind that some were wayward—that they did some excursions in the prairie of democratic ideals, in the meadows of power.
Never mind too that many of the politicians have been so drunk with the perquisites and pelf of ruling over the lives of 84 million Filipinos—us whose only claim to the country is our remembrance of some rule and much misrule. It is no wonder that politicians keep on resurrecting—and their addiction to power knows no end. Besides, they have developed that extraordinary talent and ability to seek shelter and protection from the wrath of lightning and thunderbolts.
A presidency that has that capacity to extend the hand of reconciliation to its enemies may be described as magnanimous. This is leadership of the highest order.
Nevertheless, we need to qualify what kind of reconciliation is being offered and what are the terms.
Already, we see the leaders of organized religion with dubious intentions, rites, rituals, and practices jockeying for a position to broker the reconciliation. We only hope that these leaders will not claim that God spoke to them and that He gave them this vision to unite the warring factions of the land’s power holders.
Already, too, we hear from Sec. Mike Defensor of a peace pact between the camps of the deposed president Erap Estrada, the deposed president Ferdinand Marcos, and the sitting president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
There is something to worry about here.
While the ordinary citizens want peace—it is the dream of every man and that dream is the very reason for the existence of a society—that peace is not peace based on the mutual agreement of the parties of the ruling elite class alone.
More importantly, the peace that each Filipino deserves is one based on the pursuit of justice. Any political accommodation that will not give credence to the right of every Filipino to exact justice on the erring leaders and politicians and their pawns is out of the question.
We have yet to see who will issue an apology first: the ruling power or the opposition and its allies. When that day comes, we will be tickled to death once again since we will be reminded of the same happy-times-are-here-again antics and tactics of rulers who do not have the decency to rule. We can only laugh at our tragedies—at the tragic that is the lot of the Filipino people these days.
At the Ninoy Aquino anniversary, for instance, the picture perfect image of reconciliation and that act of making amends is already put in place.
Already, we see the presidential ambitions of Senator Franklin Drilon going into the back seat.
Already, we see the signs that he now has to wait some more time until that cha-cha comes with its quick cadences and foot works and then in that national assembly of rulers and has-beens, the lords and their fiefs, and the patrons and their protégés, the dancing will go on and on to their hearts’ content.
The problem with the presidential reconciliation with Estrada is the magnitude of the sins of his regime against the people.
We know he has denied every charge hurled against him.
We know too that the uncritical masses of our people—those who see in him only as a celluloid hero with all the redeeming and savior-like qualities and abilities—have blessed him more when they send his wife and his son to the Senate.
Therefore, we see here a scenario: Arroyo to change strategy and open to political accommodation in order for her to sail smoothly until the one among the many traditional politicians from the present Congress shall have risen to assume the throne of Prime Minister.
They are many now—the aspirants to the position and each day, their antics have become more visible. We have watched them in the past and we have seen their thirst for power: unquenchable.
The cha-cha has to do it good to assure us of the end to misrule—if that cha-cha cannot be helped in order to save the honor and dignity of the president. We know that we have to change—and the president is not only obligated to share the power with the opposition and her political foes but share the same with the people.
The people deserve the rule more—more than her deserters, her loyalists, her defenders, her enemies—and her family.