On “necro politics” the morbid Filipino way
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty Josephus Jimenez (The Freeman) - October 15, 2015 - 10:00am

Perhaps, it is only in the Philippines that death in the family makes a very potent political capital. Somebody dies, a spouse, a mother or father passes away, and another family member rises in the political totem pole. Way back in our rather colorful political history, sometime before Martial Law, an LP senatorial candidate, Gaudencio Antonino from Nueva Ecija, died in a freak helicopter accident, less than 24 hours before the election day. The party immediately replaced him with the grieving widow, Magnolia, who won as one of the only two surviving LP bets in an NP-dominated election. The people didn't know that they were voting for a dead man, whose votes were credited to his wife.

Following the same pattern in the same political trend, when Senator Ninoy Aquino was assassinated in 1983, his widow Corazon became a presidentiable, and the leading candidate then, Senator Salvador Doy Laurel had to give way. It was claimed that Cory Aquino really lost to Ferdinand Marcos in the snap elections. But the election results were overtaken by the People Power Revolution, after which President Corazon Aquino was installed as a revolutionary head of state and head of government. She governed the nation, under a hurriedly done Freedom Constitution without a senate and without a congress.

When President Cory Aquino died, her only son, who was not really an exceptional legislator, suddenly rose to prominence as the preferred candidate, dislodging the anointed LP candidate, Mar Roxas in 2010. Cory Aquino became president as a result of Ninoy's death. Noynoy became president because of Cory's demise. That is why PNoy's anointment of Mar Roxas earlier this year is ''bayad utang,'' an implied ''quid pro quo.'' These all resulted from someone dying just in time. Is this an emerging cultural phenomenon then?

In the same manner, Senator Grace Poe made a lot of political capital out of the death of her adoptive father, Fernando Poe Jr. She always mentions FPJ in her political speeches, perhaps to derive benefit from the goodwill that "a King" established in playing the good guy in his movies, the savior of the oppressed, the crusader for justice and the defender of the victims of injustice. Not even the real Poe, Lovi Poe, uses the demise of the great actor to advance her career. This, to me, is blatant opportunism, taking advantage of the dead. I say that with all due respect though, for both the living and the dead.

Somehow, to be fair, vice presidentiable Leni Robredo became a congresswoman largely because of the tragic passing of the late Jessie Robredo. She also refers to Jessie in her speeches, and somehow, this too, is gaining advantage out of the demise of a loved one. Is this ethical, moral, right? It is not for me to judge. But if this is the way we choose our leaders in the Philippines, then, indeed, in this country, there is life after death. The dead are buried and the living wins the election. Perhaps, this can only happen in the Philippines.

 

 

CORY AQUINO FERDINAND MARCOS FERNANDO POE JR. SHE FREEDOM CONSTITUTION GAUDENCIO ANTONINO JESSIE ROBREDO LENI ROBREDO LOVI POE MAR ROXAS MARTIAL LAW NUEVA ECIJA
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