August and September are memorably momentous months that are of historical significance to the Philippines and to Filipinos.
August 21, 1983 was the day Ninoy Aquino was assassinated. It was also an act that doomed the dictatorial regime of the man held responsible for the brazen and dastardly daylight rub-out of a political adversary. Karma has already deemed that the bloody cabal has consigned the mastermind to eternal infamy.
September 21, 1972 (or Sep. 22 / Sep. 23, depending on what historians wish to reckon the signing or the actual implementation or the announcement of the painful event) was the day President Ferdinand E. Marcos declared Martial Law and altered forever the essence and tempo of life in our benighted country. It was the smoke screen behind which the nation’s moral fiber was eviscerated from which recovery continues to be Sisyphean.
I will attempt to devote the succeeding blogs during this advent to commentaries and remembrances of the national anguish and pain that an older generation of our countrymen have endured and overcome, with many, in fact, still in suffering. And thus, sharing these thoughts with all and sundry through cyberspace, will likewise serve as warning, a shot across the bow, as it were, to Marcos mercenaries that any attempt at revision will be met by a vigorous torrent of unalterable and unimpeachable historical facts. Don’t we know it too well that such a shameless and surreptitious operation has been in vain progress for sometime now. An attempt to purchase with purloined wealth heavy doses of artificially induced national amnesia. The Marcoses will continue to try. They will continue to fail. Ever since the Marcoses returned to the land that they plundered and abused so mercilessly, they have been on a campaign to alter history, to coerce it to agree with their fantasies, once more to dupe and hoodwink the people. The objective is to brainwash today’s generation who have no clue what Marcos and Martial Law have done to the Motherland.
Lest the youth are rendered impervious to the realities of the past, those who among us have a reverential respect for historical truth must always exercise vigilance and be sensitive to the maladjusted designs of the incorrigible. I intend to devote myself to such a noble task. I enjoin my cyberspace friends to do the same.
Ninoy Aquino was fond of quoting from the poet Archibald Macleish--“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms; by truth when it is attacked by lies; by democratic faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always and in the final act, by determination and faith.”
SONA and its side shows
For many years now, the President’s annual delivery before Congress of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) has been attended by truly irrelevant side shows that compete for public attention. While they are indeed distractions and do depart from the principal objective of the ritual, these have become ‘de rigueur’ that the SONA may no longer be observed and performed without out these pesky piggyback to-dos. There is the yearly incarnations of bellyaching leftist malcontent personified by demonstrations that are bereft of civil decorum. (Hey, Gomez. What did you expect?) Oh, but these are sincere exercises of raucously vibrant democracy, you say. Okay. But the ferocity of the vitriol that is spewed at this annual event must really provide an orgasmic hallucinating high to the protestor-provocateurs. It seems almost opiate albeit only a once-a-year indulgence! Such tirelessness! Unconcerned with the nuisance that they have become, they keep on repeating the performance every year. Do they really believe that they achieve their ideological objectives?
Then, there is the other side show. A fashion show, that is. Gowns, ternos and bling-blings galore. “Oh dahling, who are you wearing today.” Beso. Beso. While the ‘demos’ are an exercise in democracy, the fashion show that competes with the State of the Nation is a display of Filipino frivolity and becomes an indelible visage of the state of the nation, a reflection of the values possessed by this segment of Philippine society. What else but an opportunity to flaunt! And why not? Television coverage of an ego-tripping extravaganza. Did those damsels and their gents ever notice the abject poverty that is strewn all through the route of their ride to the fashion show? (My host, ABS-CBNnews, estimates ternos to have cost anywhere from Pesos 25,000.00 to 50,000.00 per, while the more expensive men’s Barongs were at Pesos 20 to 30,000.00) Should not the bellyaching leftists’ ritual, annual anger have been redirected for greater effect?
This reminds me of a remark made by the Japanese general who conquered Manila and Bataan in 1942. General Masaharu Homma’s profound observation directed at the Philippines: “A nation which indulges in pretty dresses, nice food, physical enjoyment and expensive fashions can never succeed in establishing a strong nation.” A soft state! Anyone?
And not to be outdone, seven party-list members of Congress, the Makabayan bloc (or blockheads!) held their own anti-Aquino demonstration, immediately after the President’s speech. Something between the frivolity of the ‘fashionistas’ and the irritating irrelevance of the professional bellyachers. Makabayan just had to have their own ‘palabas.’ Five males and two females relieved themselves right in the very Congressional Session Hall they call home. It was like crapping, defecating in one’s own living room! Such behavior eloquently advanced the general judgement of their colleagues and confirmed the only conclusion polite society can reasonably reach. And it is that their parents were remiss in imparting the traditional Filipino tenets of “Good Manners and Right Conduct.”
The widow speaks!
Imelda Romualdez Marcos, representative of the 2nd Congressional District of Ilocos Norte, the very merry widow of that uninterred, mummified, paraffinned cadaver in Batac, was quoted by this online news service as having said that “the Aquinos have not been nice to the Marcoses.” WTF did Imelda expect! For sanity’s sake, the father of the Aquino family was assassinated by the regime of your husband. WTF, Imelda!
The Society of Honor
This is almost like a Lilliputian endorsing a Gulliver. But I will be remiss with the admiration and awe that I hold for a particular discussion forum, a blog that so heartily promotes good citizenship and exudes a genuine concern for Philippine and Filipino beneficence, if I did not speak of it inasmuch as President Aquino himself had taken note of this blog’s existence. It is “The Society of Honor” which sports a tagline “O’ rise ye land of happy fools.” Its editor is a certain “Joe America.” The President took the opportunity in his SONA to thank Joe, saying: “isang blogger na di ko man kakilala….isang dayuhang nagpamalas ng pakikiisa.” (a blogger I do not even know….a foreigner who expressed his solidarity with us.) Here is what Joe America wrote which caught PNoy’s attention: “If the President were in my foxhole, I’d watch his back. That’s because I trust that he is watching mine.” [btw, I have a Marcos / foxhole story to share. Let us wait for next week. It is a true story with a hilarious falsehood! Quaint and amusing. I promise. The other blog that I follow is that of Raissa Robles’s --- “Inside Philippine politics and beyond”--- who also contributes to this Opinion page.]
I am proud to be a fan and an acolyte of “The Society of Honor.” It counts upon the most sober, articulate, diverse, enlightened, lively and polite regular commenter-participants. Their collective erudition and wisdom provides me with a learning experience. In fact, I think I become a better Filipino imbibing new insights. The blog speaks for itself. Shucks! And it takes a “dayuhan” to serve as usher and facilitator.
Funnily, from some trolling quarters came a comment that Joe America is fiction. A Malacanang creation. A PR gimmick. Some folks seem unable to accept objectivity mixed with a healthy dose of fairness. Such stupid skepticism reflects the mindset of the President’s nay-sayers and ill-wishers. Indeed, a malicious attempt to pollute and waylay the quality of public discourse.
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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.