NOW ANY society in which most of the people are poor is always in danger of having its political authority corrupted and dominated by the rich minority.
In the Philippines, the real power lay back of the shifting factions, in the hands of a few rich families strong enough to bend Government to their will.
This oligarchy intervened in government to preserve the political privileges of its wealth, and to protect its right of property.
This intervention of wealth in politics unavoidably produced corruption. And when this practice seeped through the whole of society itself, the result was moral degeneration.
So the Philippine political culture equated freedom with self-aggrandizement, and the politics of participation, so essential in a democracy, with the pursuit of privilege.
Oligarchic “values” permeated society all the more easily because the rich controlled the press and radio-TV.
The press particularly became the weapon of a special class rather than a public forum. The newspapers would noisily and endlessly comment on the side issues of our society, but not on the basic ones: for example, the question of private property.
The oligarchic propaganda was that somehow, with the election of “good men” – good men who please the oligarchs – mass poverty would come to an end.
The search for “better men in politics” and not institutional change; a “higher political morality,” and not the restructuring of society – this was the oligarch’s ready answer to the question of change.
CERTAINLY TIMELY as the latest news ticker, that was written over 30 years ago in a slim volume titled Revolution from the center authored by one Ferdinand E. Marcos.
There can be no mistaking whom Marcos was hitting at: the Lopez family that owned the power that was Meralco, and the glory that was – and still is – ABS-CBN. Which “the state” confiscated after the declaration of Martial law in September 1972.
(Of course, as in anything that Marcos took away, the succeeding revolutionary government of Cory Aquino gave back. The Lopezes, including a new generation of them, returning to the country from their comfortable American exile to reclaim everything they previously owned, and – if we believe the allegations – even much, much more.)
The historical tidbit comes to the fore anew with the latest You Tube sensation – a 15-minute video titled “Aquino-Cojuangcos: Facts They Don’t Want You To Know,” uploaded on October 21 by one “PinoyMonkeyPride Productions” and has generated over 511,342 views and still counting.
The video’s tract on Gen. Antonio Luna, Ysidra Cojuangco and the lost millions worth of gold and silver coins we have long known, Ricardo Manapat’s Some are Smarter than Others giving a longer and deeper account of it. Still, its impact to us has not diminished any.
Compelling, to say the least, and therefore convincing – as illegal and immoral – is the Cojuangco’s acquisition of Hacienda Luisita. The arguments, backed by “documentary” evidence, albeit in snatches, forcefully believable.
The struggle of the Luisita peasants, milestoned in periodic blood-letting, makes an imperative for a revolution, were this in Latin America and given an igniter of the likes of Che Guevara.
And then there’s the role of the “oligarch-owned media,” directly identified as the Philippine Daily Inquirer and ABS-CBN, in the propagandization of the “heroism” of Ninoy, the “sainthood” of Cory, the “intellect” of Kris, and the “like-no-otherness” of P-Noy.
A clear case of yellow journalism there, as much for the color appropriated for the Aquino-Cojuangco family as for the propagandistically sensationalized nature of its promotion, of its near-deification.
So the video postulates, what is so heroic in Ninoy dying for his political ambitions? Or saintly in Cory, in the backdrop of the Mendiola and Lupao massacres?
So who cares about Kris’ opinions, yet the yellowed media continually pushes them the nation’s throat.
So what has P-Noy accomplished in his first year but to grab credit and outsource all blames – for his inefficiencies – on the Arroyo administration.
Yeah, the video indeed showed us what they – the oligarchic media – don’t want us to know about their most beloved patrons.
Which again lead us back to Marcos: The oligarchic propaganda was that somehow, with the election of “good men” – good men who please the oligarchs – mass poverty would come to an end.
The search for “better men in politics” and not institutional change; a “higher political morality,” and not the restructuring of society – this was the oligarch’s ready answer to the question of change. .
Yeah, who was it who said the more things change, the more they seem the same?
Or that Irish saying again: There is no present, there is no future. Only the past happening over and over again.