Killer narrative takes another toll

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag - The Freeman

I have been brought up not to speak ill of the dead. And since I have nothing good to say about the person of Noynoy Aquino or his presidency, I will lay off those two subjects in deference to the wisdom of those who taught me well. But there is one subject I think all Filipinos really need to grapple with in face of another political Aquino death.

When Noynoy's father Ninoy was killed, there was a genuine concern at the time that with him also died the country's one realistic hope of change. In that sense, I would consider the grief to be heartfelt. For that grief was as much for our own selves as it was for Ninoy. Whatever warts he did have, and short of going to the hills, Ninoy was truly the one brave voice that dared challenge the Marcos machine.

And then it happened, and no historian, sociologist, political scientist or plain psychic has been able to put a finger on it until now, but a phenomenon emerged that is baffling in its ability to quite very easily convince people that whatever Ninoy meant to the future of a post-Marcos Philippines is transferable to any kin bearing his name.

Nobody really knows who dropped the name for the very first time, but when the name of Ninoy's widow Cory surfaced, it was as if Ninoy is somehow getting rearticulated by surrogate. The rest, of course, is history. And we had six years of Cory, or what had come to be known as the first Aquino presidency. For the same reason stated earlier, I will refrain from saying anything about her person or presidency.

But as in the way of all flesh, Cory too had to go and face her maker. Figures do not lie. Filipinos turned out for her funeral in their tens of thousands. And then it happened again. And while nobody still knew who exactly it was, there had to be somebody who must have whispered the name of Noynoy. When things assume a pattern, it could not have been spontaneous. And hence, we begin to suspect the insidious.

We do not begrudge the Aquinos their own circle of sycophants --the back-patters, door openers, ear cleaners, finger-lickers and other pantomimes. Every political personality, clan or group of sorts will always have them. Those that do not attract the ants and the flies have no reason being in politics.

But while every election, every political exercise, is essentially the same, it also is intrinsically different. One cannot dwell on a single political narrative and expect to remain relevant forever. Either the narrative grows stale or you are pulling our legs. Ninoy was okay. And even Cory after him. But Noynoy after Cory?

The insidious forces have not gone to town yet. Noynoy has just been cremated. But the rhetoric, even in eulogies, is such that one has to be particularly dense not to get it, that another Aquino or Aquino anointed is just about to be disclosed by name. Enough already. No human family could be such a band of angels as to be the only one right for the Philippines. As the Aquino mantra would have it, tama na, sobra na.

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