Why history will treat Gloria Arroyo in the same way it is treating Cory Aquino now

Gloria Arroyo and Cory Aquino

One of the headlines of the tabloids being sold in a newstand in Quezon Avenue MRT station is Marcoses In, Gloria Out. I did not anymore bother to waste my ten pesos buying the paper because the headline, as it should be, is clear to anyone even with amateurish knowledge of Philippine politics. He only has to connect the dots, relate this with Cory’s death, and he can already come up with a good conclusion, even without the help of a master’s degree in political science – that the Marcoses are allowed to attend the wake of Mrs. Aquino for the sake of forgiveness and reconciliation but that Gloria Arroyo, the incumbent president is left to wallow outside Manila Cathedral because Cory’s youngest daughter is sulking after Mrs. Arroyo “unknowingly” relieved the two faithful bodyguards of her mother. And so Kris’s conviction cannot be moved; she will never allow the incumbent president to touch even the first few steps of Manila Cathedral.

Mrs. Arroyo, the country’s most powerful person is barred from attending the wake. Not that she can’t because she can simply give order to the the Armed Forces to cordon the area, kidnap Kris Aquino, then have a photo-op with a Cory-inside-the-casket as a backdrop. She may not. She is a persona non grata in the wake. She’s like a bully in the neighborhood whom everyone decided to ignore and was not allowed to participate in the other children’s games, no amount of bullying can convince them to let her play with them ever again.

And I believe delicadeza has not altogether deserted Mrs. Arroyo. She has remnants of it, we are made to believe, although whatever is left is miniscule, as small if not smaller than her mole. Seeing her doing a photo-op with the casket as background is highly unlikely this time if we consider the passionate anger Kris and her siblings have regarding the way this administration treated their mother.

If we go back to the subject the title of this essay is suggesting, the Marcoses have long gone past that degree of forgiveness and acceptability that will allow them to expose themselves to public without any fear of being bludgeoned. Cory Aquino on her part was also found wanting when she was also the president of the Philippines. For why would the junior officers stage coup de etats, nine based on my flimsy historical readings, if they did not find irregularities during her term?

The recent association of saintly virtues with the former president is partly because she was dying. And for Filipinos death is a stage in one’s life where forgiveness is bestowed, sometimes even to the point of idealizing the person.

Ferdinand Marcos never reached this point because of the short time it took him to die, two years after he was deposed. Not enough. But this is transferred to Imelda Marcos. It will not anymore surprise me if one day I’ll see myself getting stuck in traffic caused by a procession of Imelda’s remain in Ayala Avenue.

This will definitely apply to Mrs. Arroyo. Now you see yourself hating her to the bones but give her enough time to regain that certain level of repectability and you’ll see yourself romanticizing the good ol’ days of being under Arroyo’s term. In fact Joseph Estrada who was found guily of plunder all of a sudden became a man of virtue and restraint after Kris mentioned that he tried not to publicize his visit during Cory’s dying days.

How easily we forget. How gullible we are. How as a nation we  all became a bunch of laughable fellows who do not have the ability to learn anything from what we have gone through.


As societies advance or believe themselves to advance, to the degree that there is civilization, progress, so the cult of the dead, the respect for the dead diminishes. The dead person is no longer revered as a living being who has entered into the unknown, consecrated to the formidable “je ne sais quoi” of that which is beyond life.  In modern societies, the dead person is simply zero, a non value.


8 thoughts on “Why history will treat Gloria Arroyo in the same way it is treating Cory Aquino now”

  1. hey i.b.

    thanks for always visiting my site. i am already feeling better. it’s just that i lost my charger this weekend so i couldn’t access my computer and my blog.

    i’m back now.

    not that philippine politics lacks the intellectualism we expect, in fact it has a semblance to it, albeit a bit shallow. but what makes it less interesting than komiks are the redundant villains and the absence of superhero. all of them are superhero wannabes that are glaringly poor imitations.

  2. what you call the pinoy’s gullibility, forgetfulness, etc., can one say a basic lack of principles or the unwillingness to stand by them?
    i belong to the generation who took out to celebrate on the streets around midnight when marcos was finally driven out from the palace.
    funny enough, everyone i know from that time seems to agree, things really haven’t changed for the better. and with some politicians having said that the pinas would be the laughing stock of the world with estrada at the helm, think again, who would take a country seriously anyway that lets its former deposed dictators back in power, not to mention the constant rise and fall and rise of certain politicians’ careers.
    forget it, when it comes to a choice between reading about philippine politics and reading komiks (do these still exist?:-)) give me the komiks anytime. more intellectual content there, comparing.
    p.s. hope one of my fave bloggers is feeling better :-).

  3. Gloria will be tagged in history as, “The President who saved the Philippines from the Global Economic Crisis”.

  4. true. the philippines can’t be run with idealism alone, or definite reconciliation. forgiveness, is a good christian virtue, but in terms of governance, we, as a people, must hold grudges if need be.

    thanks for passing by wellz.

  5. My sentiments exactly fevz, as Walden Bello puts it, Corazon Aquino would have been made a nobel peace prize laureate if she had not been so naive to free ALL the political prisoners who were imprisoned during Marcos’ time. Most of these prisoners were imprisoned for a good reason.

    If we based it on causality, EDSA would have not happened if these people are free to create power factions to influence people. Most of the politicians imprisoned I think, were members of political dynasties.

    Furthermore, Ex-pres. Aquino, eager to please the US, committed the Philippine people to paying billions worth of foreign debt, instead of just asking the IMF to investigate the deposed Ferdinand Marcos’ wealth and his cronies’.

    Although the part about Imelda is indeed kinda cynical, haha, I have to agree that Gloria might share the same fate as Cory. People’s memories do tend to get embellished over time.

  6. they say life is made up of a lot of exaggeration that we thought impossible, but then all of a sudden we all see ourselves living these hyperboles and accepting them as entirely normal.

    thanks for spending time to read.

  7. I agree with the main idea (that we are, in many ways, forgetful). But to say that “It will not anymore surprise me if one day I’ll see myself getting stuck in traffic due to a procession of Imelda’s remain in Ayala Avenue” is an exaggeration (unless you really intended it for ‘effect’). I get a feeling that it’s merely because you were stuck in traffic yesterday and was really annoyed.hehe. I’m not really a fan of Cory, but yeah, we have to admire the woman even just for her courage to ‘go against the current’ (and leave her comfort zone to inspire Filipinos) and help reinstall democracy in the Philippines (even if others say it’s a weak one). She deserves the adulation she is getting (on the context that she inspired Filipinos) … and to compare Gloria to Cory is – well – too much. =)

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