Dangerous games
FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa () - March 20, 2010 - 12:00am

A number of readers have asked me why I am zeroing in on Noynoy. Why don’t I criticize Manny Villar or Gibo Teodoro or Dick Gordon? I could, but that would not help in exposing what I consider the most important aspect of this election: the intervention by a former colonial power.

The main objective of this intervention was to frustrate constitutional reform and to make sure that a candidate of their choosing should be elected. That candidate was Noynoy. Originally, it was Mar Roxas but he was not getting anywhere in the polls even with the fairy tale story of his romance with broadcaster Korina, redolent of Imelda and Jacqueline syndromes.

The operatives had to think fast on how to get out of the dilemma. The answer came with the death of Cory Aquino. A scenario not very different from Ninoy’s funeral would be the catalyst to propel a new strategy — cultivate the myth of Noynoy and get out of the earlier commitment to Roxas.

The strategy was of a similar mold that propelled Cory Aquino to become President of the Philippines regardless that she was a mere housewife. (But there are mere housewives with a modicum of interest in politics who take the trouble to study and learn their husband’s politics especially because of the sacrifices Ninoy made). Granted that there was an outpouring of sympathy on her death. But I did hear people saying they went because they were curious. Others noticed that the yellow umbrellas that suddenly popped out to shelter spectators from rain were of a sturdy kind and could not have been made so quickly. Yellow umbrellas, yellow ribbons, yellow confetti had an almost fiesta like atmosphere inappropriate to mourning for death, but you don’t have to be an expert to see the political intent. It was serious. Where were the same crowds when Cory attempted year after year to lead protests to oust the Arroyo government? Well, they materialized suddenly on her death and should a case not be made that if they did so, there would be enough sympathy to catapult the son to the presidential candidate of the hour? And so it did.

It is my opinion that Ninoy’s and Cory’s funerals were different. But yellow ribbons can be useful in generating the same emotions. It was but a step to portray a well-attended funeral as the basis for the fight between good and evil so beloved of fundamentalists. No wonder that the Black and White Movement was at the forefront of the opposition campaign.

There are Filipinos who are puzzled just how Noynoy’s presidential candidacy came to be. Equally suspicious is how we were suddenly besieged by poll surveys that gave him a commanding lead. It seems he was acting according to a script, including the retreat at the Carmelite Sisters before deciding whether he should run. It would have been more credible had it been original but since it is a copy of what Cory did, one begins to wonder. What is happening?

My brief is not just about the presidential elections in May 2010.

Poor man (err.. boy) he just does not have it to govern this country and yet we are being made to believe that he is our salvation, the only chance for good governance because he is mabait and woe to those who think otherwise. They are salbahe. Is this how we should run a country of more than 90 million people?

It is time we stop the charade. Noynoy was put up to frustrate constitutional reform, a regularly recurring phenomenon throughout our postcolonial history. I am less against Noynoy as I am against the people who have set him up for May 2010. Noynoy’s candidacy symbolizes unconscionable interference in our national life. We must resist it.

We can’t have the direction of our country in the hands of reckless operatives, whether Filipino or non-Filipino.

Noynoy must be defeated in this election not just because he is ill-qualified to be president, but because we have to assert our sovereignty and independence against those who think they can manipulate our politics, to suit their own agenda through re-enacting well-attended funerals.

* * *

Maybe it would help us understand how intervention can be so destructive. There are other examples of political manipulation. Mohammad Mosaddegh, former Prime Minister of Iran, was removed from power in a CIA instigated coup in August 1953. With declassified documents it has been confirmed that his removal from power was organized and carried out by the United States CIA at the request of the British MI6 when Mossadegh nationalized Iran’s oil industry.

President Barack Obama publicly admitted US involvement in the coup soon after his election.

It was a fatal miscalculation by the US government to remove a duly elected leader of a secular government. American analysts look to Mossadegh’s ouster as the root of Iran’s problems and its relations with the US today.

In hindsight, Iranians look to Mosaddegh as a hero of anti-imperialism, and a victim of imperialist greed for Iran’s oil. It took many years before Iranians realized it was the CIA that fomented propaganda against the secular leader through the ayatollahs. But when it was realized it was too late.

The New York Times published part of a leaked CIA document titled, Clandestine Service History — Overthrow of Premier Mosaddegh of Iran — November 1952-August 1953. It describes how the coup was planned by Donald Wilbur, a CIA agent with the help of both the American and British governments. The complete CIA document can now be read in the web.

Let us listen to Mossadegh himself:

“Our long years of negotiations with foreign countries… have yielded no results this far. With the oil revenues we could meet our entire budget and combat poverty, disease, and backwardness among our people.

“Another important consideration is that by the elimination of the power of the British company, we would also eliminate corruption and intrigue, by means of which the internal affairs of our country have been influenced. Once this tutelage has ceased, Iran will have achieved its economic and political independence.

“The Iranian state prefers to take over the production of petroleum itself. The company should do nothing else but return its property to the rightful owners. The nationalization law provide that 25% of the net profits on oil be set aside to meet all the legitimate claims of the company for compensation.

“It has been asserted abroad that Iran intends to expel the foreign oil experts from the country and then shut down oil installations. Not only is this allegation absurd; it is utter invention.”

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