Writer warns of perils of silence in Philippine politics

Inday Espina
Feb. 16, 2016

THERE ARE NO SAINTS

Stuff those yellow halos where the sun don’t shine.

Like many, I will speak out and never tire of pointing out the atrocities of the Marcos dictatorship. This country can ever have enough of reminders and cautionary tales about the evils of dictatorship.

But we must not allow the memory of tyranny to frame that autocrat in Malacanang today as some kind of icon. And let us not hail our supposed freedom and democracy at the expense of the truth.

Paramilitary forces were strengthened during Cory’s time. That was when the obscene practice of the rich subsidising the expenses of state security irregulars created virtual private armies.

The son also gave the green light to the training and letting loose of paramilitary for the mining firms — who, of course, fund them and whose interests they protect. Not all mining firms are evil — but mining firms are behind the murderous paramilitary forces in Mindanao.

Let us also be blunt. The problem isn’t so much that some people love the Marcoses. The real problem is that so many have become cynical because the elite who purport to be democracy’s saviours are anything but that.

Look at where the country is today — controlled by political dynasties, many of which come from the old oligarchy and Marcos’ kleptocracy. THEY have come together to forge deals; their quarrels are but skirmishes for spoils. The real losers are the people.

The corrupt deals, the largesse thrown to political lieutenants and allies, are multifold that which the poor voters get by way of crumbs from the pork table.
The cynicism has much to do with disappointment over the Aquino administration … It waves the banner of anti-corruption as it charges (sometimes using shortcuts) at its political enemies. All the while it plays deaf and blind when their friends are charged.

The cynicism has to do with a President and Cabinet that mistakes their avowed noble intentions as carte blanche to trample on laws, including the Constitution.
The cynicism has to do with their emulation of the WORST of GMA’s practices, of adopting without acknowledging her programs and even further twisting it to suit their political interests.

I will rail against the unrepentant Marcoses. But I won’t stop railing against this abusive government.

You will probably hear apologists say — “Don’t! That’s ammunition for the enemy, the Marcoses!”

I say, shut up — Marcos was able to do that much abuse because of the complicity and silence of those who played nice to protect their interests. And that same penchant, too, has encouraged Aquino in his own abuses.

Don’t talk of apples and oranges. Don’t say that Aquino’s sins pale beside those of Marcos’. That’s just like Aquino always bringing up the GMA experience.

Bottom line: when your threshold of rightness is at the level of GMA and Marcos, then this country does have a big, big problem.

The answer doesn’t lie with Bongbong or Duterte or Grace or Mar or Binay. In the end, only the people’s will will determine how much good or bad they can do.

People paid the price for speaking out during Marcos time. They still pay the price today. It is a painful but worth taking.

Because once the silence descends, whether it be due to the barrel of the gun or to appeals for accommodation and the value of incremental gains… a vacuum rises, waiting for the corrupt and abusive to fill it with their filth.