Editorial: Deja vu

·2 min read

A DISUNITED opposition that was initially composed of a combination of different middle- and upper-class groups with different motives had failed to unseat the regime of Ferdinand E. Marcos which controlled the Philippine archipelago for almost two decades.

That is until a single bullet felled Benigno Aquino Jr. as he disembarked from a plane at the then Manila International Airport after three years of self-imposed exile in the United States.

His assassination on Aug. 21, 1983 marked the start of the end of Marcos, who was ousted three years later in what is now called the Edsa Revolution, or People Power Revolution.

It galvanized the small and isolated opposition movement into action, morphing into a national crusade with Aquino’s widow Cory as its titular head.

Ironically, Marcos, who was once touted as “the strong man of Asia,” was ultimately forced out of power by an uprising after the Batasang Pambansa proclaimed him winner of the 1986 snap election against his opponent, a housewife.

With Marcos and his family airlifted out of the country and brought to Hawaii, democracy was restored in the Philippines and Cory took over Malacañang and ruled for six years, which was the new term limit for the President set by the 1987 Constitution.

After her death on Aug. 1, 2009, her son, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, was thrust into the limelight.

A senator who sought to raise “standards in the construction of all public infrastructures by penalizing contractors of defective infrastructures” and focused on “accountability in government appropriations and spending,” among others, was suddenly eyed as a contender in the 2010 presidential election.

Noynoy might have been the classic example of being in the right place at the right time. Although perhaps it would be more prudent to point out that he also had the right family name.

Or it might have been a feeling of public nostalgia in the final months of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s nine-year rule, which was marred by allegations of widespread corruption that resulted in a groundswell of support for Noynoy’s presidential candidacy.

In both mother and son’s cases, their assumption to power was almost accidental. Some might even go further and call it a fluke.

On Thursday, June 24, 2021, Noynoy died “peacefully in his sleep” at the age of 61. He was suffering from a kidney illness caused by diabetes.

One can’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu regarding the timing of his death with less than a year before the next presidential election.

Is his passing a portent of things to come?

The question can only be answered in a few months’ time.

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