Noynoy’s sendoff

At around this time, people of the Yellow persuasion hold their annual festivities to remember what happened in 1986. This year, they're planning something special, not only because it is their 30th year, but also because it is the last People Power celebration with the direct inheritor and beneficiary of their cult-like political faith at the helm of the government.

Apparently, the Yellows have learned their lesson from the last time the faithful held a similar sendoff-cum-anniversary in 1992, when Cory Aquino was bidding adieu to the presidency. And they don't want a repeat of that sad non-event.

When Cory was about to leave, a lot of the goodwill that had attended her installation by a military revolt six years earlier had almost entirely dissipated. The succession of coup attempts, the unremitting blackouts, the natural disasters (the eruption of Mount Pinatubo and the earthquake that leveled Baguio and other areas, to name just two) and the host of other problems that beset her administration had sapped the energy of her once-adoring fans.

The much-ballyhooed campaign against the corrupt cronies of the Marcos administration had not only ground to a halt and gotten tied up in the courts. It had also given rise to a new class of rapacious Yellow vultures who feasted on sequestered real estate, jewelry and anything they could lay their hands on in the name of avenging the looting of the country by the Marcoses.

Nobody wanted to celebrate People Power with Cory anymore by 1992. She had to implore the head of a newly emerging religious group to attend the shindig, whose leader agreed only if his members wore white instead of the usual yellow.

An election unlike any other this country has ever seen was also just months away. A record number of candidates wanted to succeed Cory in office, led by the hero of the revolt and Aquino's anointed one, Fidel Ramos, Speaker Ramon Mitra, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Eduardo "Danding" Cojuangco and even former First Lady Imelda Marcos.

Everyone was just waiting for Cory to step down and return to her Times Street digs, there to spend the rest of her days playing her favorite mahjong games. Nobody had time anymore for reminiscing about an event that was hyped up like it was the Second Coming a mere six years ago.

The Corystas had become Sorrystas. A new ruling class had replaced the old one, more rapacious than its predecessor because it had been away from the trough for so long.

People Power was exposed as a mere transfer of power, pelf and privilege from one class of oligarchs to a mix of older ones and arrivistes. Poverty didn't go away and neither did corruption; a dictatorship had been replaced by democracy, with little or no effect on a majority of the population.

* * *

In the twilight of his own term, Cory's son Noynoy is feeling the backlash from the same buyer's remorse that plagued his mother's last years in office. Nobody really cares what Noynoy says anymore or what he's doing or where he's off to on the taxpayers' dime.

The same feelings of regret for having been hoodwinked by a still-Yellow media and a fearsome, well-funded official propaganda machinery attend the end of Noynoy's term. "Daang matuwid" has become synonymous with incompetence, lack of empathy and, yes, corruption on a scale that hasn't been seen since the arrival of the fiscal agents of the Presidential Commission on Good Government.

And because Noynoy is who he is-a diffident, work ethic-challenged, unsympathetic rich kid-he even fares worse when compared to his mother as president. Cory, at least, woke up near the end of her term and realized that she was in dire danger of leaving nothing behind and roused herself enough to build some flyovers on Edsa; the son has no such accomplishments to point to after he's gone.

And Cory was able to marshal the Yellows behind Ramos to make him her successor. Barring David Copperfield-like magic this May, Noynoy is simply not going to make his own anointed one, Mar Roxas, win.

But at least he intends to leave on a noisier, more intrusive note. Noynoy is planning a celebratory sendoff that includes what the Yellows are calling an "experiential museum" of the atrocities of Marcos' Martial Law, whatever that is, and close portions of the main highway, just in case people have forgotten that it is their usual, divisive holiday.

Most people just want Noynoy to go away and return to Times Street like his mother once did, there to indulge full-time in his own amusements. There, Noynoy will await the fate that many think he will suffer, unless Roxas (or some other "secret" candidate of his) wins.

And in this respect he is sure to finally do something his mother never did: He will languish in a jail cell with his corrupt and incompetent officials, perhaps until the next Yellow candidate is chosen and he is rehabilitated and reborn as a hero, saint or-using the favored title his remaining followers like to bestow upon him-"the best president the Philippines ever had."

Sourcee: The Standard

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