he passage of time has a way
of distilling reality and bringing out truths that are sometimes hidden or
lost by present circumstances. Case in point is the overwhelming level of
admiration many Filipinos have for former President Corazon Aquino. When she
passed away in 2009, the entire nation seemed beside itself in grief. Her
casket was mobbed by thousands of mourners as it slowly made its way through
the streets of Metro Manila to its final resting place at the Manila
Memorial Park in Parañaque.
numbers of Filipinos still admire her but we believe that number will
continually diminish over time as emotions fade away and a more studied
assessment of her presidency is undertaken. In fact we predict that over
time her presidency will be seen as more of a failure than a success.
back to late February, 1986 when Filipinos started amassing along EDSA in
front of Camp Crame to create a human shield around the rebel leaders who
were finally defying a corrupt dictator who had brutalized his people for
almost twenty years. By the 25th of February an estimated three million
people were along EDSA stranding in front of tanks and preventing them from
moving forward. While no one was killed that day, all those brave souls on
EDSA knew that had Marcos or his lackey, General Fabian Ver given the order
to attack, they would have been trampled by the tanks or mowed-down by
machine-gun fire. Still they stood their ground. And where was Cory Aquino
during all this? Hiding in a convent in Cebu.
Marcoses fled and Aquino was sworn into office, the Filipino people had
given her extraordinary powers that even Marcos never dreamed he could ever
attain. Filipinos handed over on a silver platter a revolutionary government
that gave Aquino all the power and authority of government. She had no
congressional or judicial branches to contend with—she called all the shots.
have changed the Philippines the way on one—past or present—ever could. She
could have jailed all involved in the plunder and human rights violations of
the Marcos regime. She could have de-fanged the oligarchy and redistributed
wealth. She could even have gotten to the bottom of who killed her husband
Instead she accomplished
none of those. She wasted a golden opportunity to lift the country out of
its morass and turn it into a vibrant forward-looking country made up of equals.
The special powers that the Filipino people gave Cory Aquino with the EDSA
revolution will likely never again be offered to any other Filipino
Ninety-five years from now,
when the 100th death anniversary of Cory Aquino comes around, Filipinos of
that future era will no longer have the personal or emotional attachment to
Cory Aquino that Filipinos of today have. All they will have to go by are
the facts. And based on those facts they will likely conclude—as we
have—that Cory Aquino was indeed a failure as president.
Cory Aquino's eventual fall
from grace which we predict, should serve as a warning to all who seek the
highest office in the land. A kind heart and good intentions will never be
enough to get one a free pass. A president must deliver or he or she will be
considered a failure. Sometimes not immediately but over time, Filipinos
further removed from the emotional ties of the moment will pass the final
judgment as to whether one was a success or failure as president.
What on earth happened to these two women—supposedly handpicked by the president himself to argue on behalf of the Philippine government in peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front—who now seem to be mouthpieces for the Moros? Have Secretary Teresita Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chair of the negotiating panel become mesmerized by the tough "macho" image the rebels project?
According to NBI Director Virgilio Mendez, they have identified the individuals who uploaded the video showing the coldblooded killing of PO2 Joseph Sagonoy. The cellphone video was purportedly taken by Muslim rebels during the Jan. 25, 2014 encounter between the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel group. The video shows a wounded Sagonoy who is shot twice in the head at close range.
Twice the Heroes—the SAF 44 Who Lost Lives in Mamasapano
The 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) who were brutally killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015 are heroes twice over: first, they paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country; second, they exposed for all to see, the dangers the country will face if the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is passed.
No More Bangsamoro, Period!
With each passing day, it is becoming increasingly clear that the idea of a Bangsamoro is a bad idea. Just as the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) spearheaded by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was a bad idea (and declared unconstitutional in 2008 by the Supreme Court). Just as the failed Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) during the 1990s was a bad idea.
After the Mamasapano Massacre, Plans for a Bangsamoro Must Be Scrapped
What happened in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25 is a "game changer"—make no mistake about it. Reality as we saw it before this event is not the reality we see now...everything is different; everything has "changed. When the Philippine National Police's (PNP) elite team known as the Special Action Force or SAF set out to arrest Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, it had actionable intelligence that the Malaysian fugitive was hiding in the town of Mamasapano. Marwan, an expert bomb maker, is a core member of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.
President Aquino Should Fly to Saudi Arabia and Pay His Last Respects to King Abdullah
Presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens; from Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, President Francois Hollande of France, President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and many other heads of state from all corners of the globe have gone or are headed to Riyadh to pay their respects to the late King Abdullah. Even U.S. President Barack Obama cut short his state visit to India to fly to Saudi Arabia.
After the Pope's Visit: What We Filipinos Now Must Do
We put on a good show for Pope Francis. He loved it; we loved it; the world loved it. Now the long and painful task of bringing about the changes the pope asked for begins. Start with the Philippine Catholic Church. It should refocus its efforts towards the poor. As we wrote in previous editorials, many priests and bishops see themselves as members of the rich and privileged class. They feel more at home in country clubs and dining in expensive restaurants, than they do helping the poor who live in the squatter communities that dot most cities in the Philippines.
Pope Francis Admonishes Pinoys to End Scandalous Inequalities
We had a feeling this was coming. In his first major speech in the Philippines, Pope Francis called for an end to 'scandalous inequalities' in the country. And what better example of a scandalous inequality is there than that a preposterously ridiculous wedding of Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera which was officiated by 8 bishops and 7 priests. In addition, this crass wedding featured a 12-foot high wedding cake, a 2-million-peso wedding gown with an exaggeratedly long train that seemed to go on forever...you get the picture.