Carol Pagaduan-Araullo | Pretender

Streetwise/Business World
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Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s  entire appeal to the Filipino people to elect him President of the Republic, from television ads to live and press statements to written platform, rests on a single claim:  that having inherited the legacy of Ninoy and Cory Aquino, he can stamp out corruption and bring righteousness, progress and prosperity to the Filipino people.

Of late, he has carried this grand posturing to the extent of his camp drumming up the “failure of elections” scenario to simulate the ’86 fraud-ridden snap elections, present himself as “another Cory” and thereby rally the Filipino people behind him.

Alas, unwittingly this scheme backfires as it becomes clear that there is an ocean of difference between Cory the challenger to Marcos’ dictatorial rule and Noynoy the pretender to the Ninoy and Cory legacy.

Cory eventually galvanized the broad anti-Marcos opposition behind her – including the forces of the Left – to oppose the fraudulent claim of victory by Marcos in the 1986 presidential polls and to mount mass protests that culminated in the “people power” uprising that overthrew the dictator. 

Noynoy could have worked to build the broad unity of the anti-Arroyo forces to ensure the defeat of the administration candidate and Mrs. Arroyo herself in her home province but chose instead to foist the small Liberal Party on other parties and groups.  He had become convinced that the spontaneous outpouring of sympathy for his family after his mother’s death would be enough to fuel him to victory.

As for Noynoy’s claim that he can lead the Filipino people in the righteous fight against corruption towards prosperity and progress, this has to be tested in the light of his stand on the Cojuangcos’ Hacienda Luisita and the long-standing agrarian dispute that has hounded them.

The truth is, the Cojuangcos utilized the clout and influence of President Cory to get Congress to enact a fatally-flawed agrarian reform law that, for one, allowed big landowners like them to circumvent land reform by means of the so-called stock distribution option (SDO). The landless were given worthless pieces of paper saying they were co-owners of Hacienda Luisita Inc (HLI).  Their lot changed from bad to worse: they had no say on the decisions made regarding the hacienda; they had no assurance of jobs; they did not even own the land on which their hovels stood.

Thereafter Noynoy utilized Congress as a platform to vociferously defend his relatives managing their essentially feudal landholding.  He also exonerated them as well as the Arroyo regime for culpability in the infamous massacre of the hacienda’s striking workers and their supporters six years ago. Instead, Noynoy accused the workers of provoking and orchestrating the deaths and injuries among their ranks.

Noynoy now promises land distribution to the farmers by 2014 when in truth the 6,453-hectare property should have been distributed in 1967, a precondition to the loan granted to Noynoy’s grandfather, Don Jose “Pepe” Cojuangco Sr. , by the then Central Bank.

This is a classic example of bureaucrat capitalism that the national democrats have been denouncing as one of the three basic evils of Philippine society; i.e. the use by bureaucrats in high public office of their political power to protect and promote their vested interests.

Cory looked the other way when land reform was thwarted in HLI by means of the SDO and by management cooptation and control of the farm and mill workers’ unions.  She washed her hands of the HLI massacre while her son was beside himself accusing “communists” and “outsiders” of instigating unrest on their otherwise purportedly placid hacienda. 
Despite this and without giving up on and reneging on the farm workers’ just struggle to get back the lands appropriated unjustly by the Cojuangcos, the Left would agree to unite with Cory when she finally decided to call for Mrs. Arroyo’s resignation after the “Hello, Garci” election fraud blew up in Mrs. Arroyo’s face.  She was convinced to do so by the ten resigned Arroyo cabinet members and some bishops who promised to back her call.

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