An open letter to Noynoy Aquino

I'm pretty positive you don't read my blog, Noynoy. I'm definitely sure you have no idea what exactly I have said about you in your six years as president.

And I am very sure you will not read what I have to say now. Not that you'd care. You're probably enjoying your break from public office. Perhaps you've started dating under the shadows of this war against drugs your successor is waging? It's not really my business. I'm just grasping at straws here.

Anyway, I'm writing you this letter, this letter you will probably not read, to call you out on that one mistake you've made that has, perhaps, a more lasting impact than any of the other things you did not quite get right.

You ruined the color yellow.

Yes, you ruined the color yellow, the color that stood for everything your parents stood for.

Now, I know it would be amiss of you to not refer to the legacy of your parents. After all, you ran for the top post in the land on the back of a wave of sympathy. Your mother just died, and people were having this nostalgic high, remembering the incredible courage (supposedly) your parents had to fight against authoritarian rule that was enacted, supposedly, for love of country. I didn't agree with the constant call backs, but that's there already, and there's not a lot we can do about it.

What you did though, is continue carrying that color in every battle you've waged. Your battle against corruption - that one loud battle cry of yours - you painted it as a battle between you and the evil forces out to ruin the country. It was you and that yellow pin on your collar, and your friends, versus the darkness that threatens the progress we've made, the progress you attribute to you just taking that top seat. You took down some people but failed to even look at others, even if they were glaringly obvious, because they were on your side. As long as you're yellow, you're fine.

Just like that, what was a symbol of the restoration of democracy to the Philippines has become a symbol of politics as usual: favors for friends, fuck the enemies, all while you're seated comfortably, doing this and that for the people that brought you there, but not everything.

I won't say you're a good president or a bad president, however. While I will always be a critic of your politics, things are much more complicated than that. That said, people would have been more forgiving if you actually delivered on what you promised them. You promised heaven and earth because they wanted heaven and earth. They think you failed miserably.

When Digong was elected there was a general sigh of relief when he turned up with a Philippine flag on his collar, rather than some partisan symbol. "That says he's here to serve the whole country," his staunchest supporters claim. And it seemed to be that way, when he promised he wouldn't be a vindictive president, not unlike you, however good your intentions were.

But then, your "us or them" attitude continues to linger. Now the arena is split between Digong's drones, to whom he can do no wrong, and your drones, to whom he can do no right. Anybody in the middle seeking to talk based on what actually is rather than what they'd rather be is denigrated for not being on any side, or for supposedly being on one side or another. The split widens as we look for validation. And there's no better validation than having the president appeal to what the loudest of his drones believe and claim, never mind what the majority of the population actually think.

To them, Leila is an evil that must be vanquished. How dare she question their dear Digong? Tonight, one of your staunchest allies was kicked out of her committee chair position, to be replaced by a man who seemingly sold out his principles for political convenience by calling for, of all things, a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. And then, Digong blames all the efforts to undermine his mandate on the "yellows". Next thing we know, anyone wearing yellow will be shot dead on the now supposedly safe streets of this country, because, well, how dare he defy their dear Digong?

You've done it, Noynoy. You've taken the one enduring symbol of the restoration of democracy in the Philippines and turned it into just another toxic political color. Now your successor is using it to mop what's left of civility, to replace it, perhaps, with authoritarian rule. All for love of country.

And your responses...

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