Defining what ails us

By: Reyshimar Arguelles

EVERYONE is waiting for the result of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal’s deliberation on former Senator Bong Bong Marcos’ protest against Vice President Leni Robredo. Who wouldn’t be, considering what’s at stake if we allow the son of a former dictator slither his way back under the limelight.

But what makes this even more critical is the political power play being exercised underneath the surface. Robredo’s supporters are worried that Supreme Court, sitting as the PET, would be swayed into voting in favor of Marcos.

Sorcery is nothing new to Philippine politics. We can’t all expect our public officials to make rational decisions or even do a good job with the tremendous responsibilities they would have to shoulder or separate themselves from their biases to which they have taken an oath to uphold integrity.

Objectivity has always been the first casualty in issues where it should take precedence over everything else. Human nature is, after all, complex and it doesn’t subscribe to certain modes of thinking other than what the self entails.

This would explain why politics won’t solve much of our problems, given the fact that alliances change and people have self-serving agenda to satisfy. Power, whether it is used for good or bad, separates you from everything else in society and even its best interests.

We could expect nothing else from past administrations other than the fact that they were able to bend the rules just so they could stay legitimate in the eyes of their support base. They couldn’t care less about providing for the needs of the country unless it’s for PR purposes. Marketing undervalues the need for actual engagement. It’s not about building brands or “telling stories of the Filipino people.” It’s about making the right choices, especially when such a choice involves keeping megalomaniacs from the reins of power.

So, if people are just as irked about the idea of an impartial Supreme Court that’s very likely to give Bong Bong a fighting chance for the vice presidency, they should’ve grilled past presidents for setting the conditions for the Marcos family’s return to the helm of national power.

Time and resources were invested in running after the wealth that Ferdie had amassed during his iron-fisted reign, but it’s only clear that the hunt for ill-gotten wealth did little to support a post-EDSA Philippines. Impunity is still there and true reforms didn’t even come close to a deliberation. But what’s unforgiving is how post-EDSA society failed in correcting the evil legacy left by the Marcoses and exact true retribution against a family that’s synonymous with corruption, tyranny, and outright lying.

No amount of hogwash PR-ing could sanitize the ailing state of our institutions. So long as we entertain the shallowest notions of justice and peddle solutions that do nothing but sustain the machinery of state repression, we could never rid ourselves of the terror that clinches our throats and tells us that everything is going to be okay if we stop screaming.

This is what currently ails us, and the reason why we haven’t reached a more rational point in our development as a nation is that we’re reluctant to even try exterminating the vestiges of irrationality and the desire for self-destruction. These have culminated in the ascendance of a government that operates outside what is moral and legal and functions only for the sustainability of the cult-like following it has built.

Waiting for the PET deliberations is like holding a massive volume of urine in your bladder. Deferment after deferment has made things even worse, but what’s certain is that this wouldn’t be the last time we see the Marcoses taking back what’s un-rightfully theirs.

And even if Martial Law studies will become a thing, it still won’t push us out from the ruinous legacies of Ferdie and his ilk.