To many, Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino Jr. was the best president Philippines never had. If only President Ferdinand Marcos didn’t proclaim martial law in September 1972 and retired from politics after his two terms in Malacanang ended, Ninoy could have suceeded him. But fate intervened. He was killed in his homecoming from exile at the tarmac of the Manila International Airport (MIA).
The rumor mills during those years were filled with stories that Ninoy was informed that Marcos was so sick and may go at anytime and that he should hurry home or someone from the Liberal Party, specifically Senator Gerardo ‘Gerry’ Roxas may take the leadership. So that’s precisely what he did.
And the shot at the MIA’s tarmac was heard all over the world, and soon after the EDSA ‘revolution’. Marcos and family went into exile in Hawai. The biggest beneficiaries on the death of Ninoy Aquino was his wife Cory and son Noynoy. Both became president of our country. Their yellow symbol still lives now and have ardent followers, the likes of Senators Franklin Drilon, Leila De Lima, Francis Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, Bam Aquino and Antonio Trillanes. The ‘yellows’ in the House of Representatives are led by Congressmen Edcel Lagman, Teddy Baguilat and Gary Alejano.
The above names are the pain in President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s neck. They allegedly are conspiring to unseat him. Duterte was not even given the traditional honeymoon period even by media outlets identified with the ‘yellows’. The Duterte government’s war on illegal drugs and the alleged victims of extra judicial killings are common fares and dramatized by those photos prominently splashed frequently on pages of Philippine Daily Star and Philippine Daily Inquirer are testaments of the two national papers bias.
Duterte as described by many writers as an unconventional president with a colorful personality. He was the political promdi, considered an outsider, and his victory was described as an upset vs. experienced politicians mostly with national prominence. Some of them the likes of President Nonoy’s handpicked Mar Roxas and Vice President Jojo Binay. His combative attitude towards his critics are always part of the fiery speeches he dishes out almost daily. He hates reading prepared speeches by ghost writers. Him being hot tempered is negated by the soft spot in his heart by crying everytime he remembers his mother.
In the first year of his governance his popularity was conveniently high until recently the trust rating crashed amid criticisms over his brutal drug war, according to poll taker Social Weather Station (SWS). The question now posed by analysts if Duterte will be able to finish his full term, or he will take the Marcos path and stay in power on the imment overhaul of the constitution by giving the president a five year term with one reelection. That’s good for another ten years. Only time will tell.
The planned shift to federalism is steaming full ahead. The two main proponents are former Senate President Aquilino ‘Nene’ Pimentel of Cagayan de Oro and former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno. The two have been making the rounds explaining the whys and wherefores and according to reports they will head the commission to draft the new constitution. And in all likelihood, by next year the earliest and a year thereafter will be the latest the country will have a new charter. A referendum will follow where the barangay captains will play vital roles. No wonder the scheduled barangay elections were postponed. The village heads should now toe the line, unless they want to be replaced. It bears close resemblance to what Marcos planned in 1971.