For 200 pesos, you get the truth — a truth the yellows are ignorant of, or choose to ignore. Lapping up the yellow soup, after all, is best when you don’t know what actually goes into it. You see it for what it parades to be — an appealing and bright-colored foodstuff.
But just like junk food, it’s not healthy for you at all.
“Greed & Betrayal: The Sequel to the 1986 EDSA revolution” by veteran journalist Cecilio Arillo, was published in 2000 — and the author almost didn’t live to write or see it.
On the introduction, penned by the late former Manila Times publisher Adrian Cristobal, we read that “Cecil”
“… had his travails under three administrations. He was incarcerated under the Marcos martial law regime for his stories on the irregularities in the sugar industry. Under the Aquino administration, he was again arrested on Dec. 9, 1987, by troops led by Brig. Gen. Ramon Montano, and jailed without formal charges; after that, armed men broke into his offices and carted off his documents and other valuables; then in 1990, the Department of Justice, under Sen. Frank Drilon, charged him with rebellion. In 1992, unidentified men machine-gunned his house. In 1998, under the Ramos administration, the Justice Department, whose chief was Sen. Teofisto Guingona, implicated him in the 1986 kidnapping and double murder of labor leader Rolando Olalia and his driver, Leonor Alay-ay.”
Going after the truth, after all, has its risks.
But Arillo was neither cowed nor silenced. This book testifies to that. Arillo is not caught up in the emotional, fuzzy feeling that followed EDSA. He was discerning and, like a good researcher (a writer must be this as well), knew how to back up his conclusions with hard facts — often from the very men who defined our history.
So when Arillo writes: “Marcos resorted to propaganda hyperbole to obscure his failure; Aquino did the same with her yellow banners and confetti,” we are compelled to pay attention.
“… the popular impression that recalcitrant politicians and rebel soldiers were to blame for her government’s failure and economic debacle, as repeatedly dished out by her paid local and international propagandists, deserve a thorough review because neither the rebel soldiers nor the politicians were in charge of the country during her term.
President Aquino and her bumbling Cabinet were.”
No, the late president did not get off that easy. The icon of democracy, as Arillo tells us, was long on rhetoric and short on action.
In clear words, he crystallizes the truth for us. Journalists, after all, are trained not to gloss over or muddle facts with obscure words. Take his writing as it is. There is no doubt what message he’s delivering.
To know our future, we must know our past, indeed.
On page 13, Arillo writes: “On trumped-up charges filed by the Department of Justice, then under lawyer Frank Drilon, President Aquino imprisoned Enrile, the man who led the EDSA mutiny, and some of the people who supported him.
Next, she persecuted her own political enemies and allies, including Salvador Laurel, her own vice president; businessman Eduardo Cojuangco, her own cousin who was a close Marcos associate; Ramon Mitra Jr., the Speaker of the House who objectively pointed out some of the serious defects of her government; and key members of the Rebolusyonaryong Makabansa (RAM), whose members guarded her and her ballots during the snap elections, and subsequently staged rebellion that ousted Marcos and handed her the power on a silver platter.”
We Filipinos are known for being a forgetful lot — and that’s why there continue to be people who fall for the same routine all over again.
The lesson of the past is clear: the Aquino administration was neither ideal nor righteous. To those wise enough to study, or old enough to remember, Tita Cory’s rule was marked by a lot of things other than being the one who restored democracy.
There was truly greed and betrayal.
He (Laurel) recalled that only an hour after their oathtaking, President Aquino, in reading Proclamation No. 1, wanted to appoint Enrile and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel V. Ramos in acting capacities only.
It was only through the intervention of the late VP that Cory dropped the “acting” from the titles.
The Cory government was also one marked by an excessive number of people on the public payroll. As revealed by Enrile on Sept. 22, 1990, there were 34 Cabinet Secretaries, 188 undersecretaries, and 900 assistant secretaries in the Aquino Cabinet.
Compare this to Indonesia (biggest ASEAN country in terms of govt and population) which had 21 Cabinet Ministers, 21 secretary generals,
Indeed, it is correct for Arillo to say that Cory was on top of a “government by trial and error.” And the bureaucracy was an “adhocracy” or “one that resorted to day-to-day damage control instead of formulating short-term and long-term programs that would serve as guides in running the affairs of the nation.”
From 1986 to 1991, the Aquino government made no less than 27 ad-hoc committees.
One could go on and romanticize over the past — how great Cory was, how prayerful, how saintly. But we need to be fair in our assumptions. When there is abundant information to the contrary, should we still lap up what the Aquino children put on our plate?
If National Book Store had done what was right and didn’t pull out this important book from their shelves during the campaign period, there might have been more people who thought twice about flashing the Laban sign or going yellow.
Last time I checked, we have not been bought off by the Aquinos. We are not beholden to them outside of the supreme sacrifice of Benigno Aquino Jr. Ninoy — not Noynoy, or even Cory — stood for the masses and envisioned a country of free men. He harbored no ill will against his enemies and called not for the persecution of his enemies.
When history judges the Noynoy rule, I share in the hope that it would be fair and good. For the sake of everyone, I am hoping that Noynoy does well, yes.
But all the signs say otherwise, if he is, indeed, the son of his mother, God rest her soul.