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Not all was light and hope in the last elections, there was a dark side to them. Agence France-Presse pointed it out last week. The elections also produced a “rogues’ gallery” of winners. Those rogues are:
One, Imelda Marcos, who won 88 percent of the votes in her husband’s turf in Ilocos Norte—she herself is from Leyte—retaining her seat in the House. She and her husband are well-known plunderers and oppressors.
Two, Joseph Estrada, who won as mayor of Manila Ray Ban Clubmaster against Alfredo Lim. Erap was variously impeached, overthrown by People Power, tried and convicted of corruption, but later pardoned by his successor who lived in constant fear of an uprising. Of course Erap was pitted against an opponent who had earned the nickname “Dirty Harry” for ignoring such niceties as due process and human rights. Poor Manila, Nick Joaquin’s noble city.
Three, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who also won 88 percent of the votes in her district in Pampanga. Obviously, it didn’t bother her constituents that she is detained in a military hospital for electoral fraud and corruption. Not quite incidentally, she and Erap are the two presidents who didn’t mind demeaning their former position by running for minor ones afterward. Of course it could always be said that Arroyo was just a stunted president and Erap an aborted one, but that’s another story.
Four, Ryan Luna, who ran for mayor of Bangued, and who had been in hiding since last month after being indicted for murder; five, Rodrigo Duterte, who ran unopposed for mayor of Davao City, known for trying to rid his favorite city of crime by ridding it of suspects, including minors; six, Ronald Singson, son of Chavit, who ran for representative in Ilocos Sur, whose claim to fame was being jailed in Hong Kong for cocaine possession; seven, Clara Reyes, who ran for Palawan governor, wife of Joel, the main suspect in the killing of environmentalist Gerry Ortega; eight, Jose Rodriguez, who ran for mayor of San Marcelino, who is on trial for raping a 12-year old; nine, Cipriano Violago, who ran for mayor of San Rafael, who went underground after being indicted for killing a cop.
Last but certainly not least, the Ampatuans who have won various seats in Maguindanao. Reshal Ampatuan, wife of Andal, won another term as mayor of Datu Unsay; Bai Dong Ampatuan, wife of Zaldy, won as mayor of Datu Hoffer; Bai Sahara won as mayor of Shariff Aguak; Benzar Ampatuan won as mayor of Mamasapano; Bai Sandria Sinsuat-Ampatuan won as mayor of Shariff Saydona Mustapha; and Zamzamin Ampatuan won as chief executive of Rajah Buayan.
Enough to make you wonder if there would be any witnesses left to testify against Zaldy and Andal in their trial.
Outside looking in, this has got to be most perplexing and disturbing behavior among a people, something only masochists do. Indeed, shortly before Election Day, a number of articles came out in the wires talking about Imelda drawing crowds in her campaign Ray Bans sorties. This is the wife of Ferdinand Marcos, one of the biggest crooks and at least one of the more devious dictators in the world, and she’s getting that reception?
The fact that we are not surprised at all about this, and about the victories of the people included in AFP’s “rogues’ gallery,” is itself pretty revealing. We do have a “damaged culture,” to borrow James Fallows’ term. A great deal of that damage is shown by the fact that do not have a strong sense of nation, we have only a strong sense of region. Or of province: Bicolanos are the only ones I know whose identity is regional rather than provincial. Oakley Flak All others are Ilocano, Kapampangan, Ilonggo, Cebuano, Davaoeño, Chabacano. The Ilocanos in Hawaii do not particularly like to call themselves Filipinos, they like to call themselves Ilocanos.
We do not have a strong sense of nation, and so we do not have a strong sense of national interest. Elections bring that out furiously: Imelda Oakley Sunglasses Hut is an adopted Ilocano , they will vote for her. Gloria is an adopted Kapampangan , they will vote for her. However they reek of rape and pillage, however they epitomize greed and selfishness, however they are the face of tyranny and oppression. As the Americans say about their favorite tyrants overseas, they might be SOBs, but they’re our SOBs.
Which itself owes to self-interest. We do not mind that they are crooks and murderers so long as they’ve oppressed others, not us. The most dramatic case of that of course is Marcos. He stole the country blind, but he at least gave back part of the loot to the Ilocanos in roads and bridges. He screwed the nation but he was kind to the people who deemed him their apo, their lord and protector. This country’s sense of corruption already being loose, it becomes looser still when applied to people who did well by their home and hearth, which is their province. Who the hell cares about the rest of the country?
While at that, it becomes looser still when the official takes on a Ray Ban Wayfarer Robin Hood persona, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. That is what Erap has succeeded in doing, which is why he remains a threat in national politics. And that is what Jojo Binay is, which is why the unceasing charges of corruption against him are bouncing off Oakley Sunglass him like bullets off Superman. Which is also why he is a threat to national politics.
As to the Ampatuans winning in Maguindanao, and winning big, I leave that to Mindanao experts to explain. It is to me at least unintelligible at the level of heart or conscience, even if it is not beyond figuring out at the level of head or cold calculation. It’s just monstrous. It’s just sick.
It’s just one very dark side in our psyche.
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