In commemorating the 35 years of martyrdom of former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, President Rodrigo Duterte once more encouraged the citizens of the republic to reflect on his sacrifices that led to his heroic death.
A staunch critic of the despot Marcos, Ninoy was assassinated while deplaning at the then-Manila International Airport on August 21, 1983, after a three-year exile in the United States.
Ninoy’s death sparked the now widely known EDSA revolution that marked the beginning of the end of the brutal Marcos regime and at the end also catapulted Ninoy’s widow, Cory, to the presidency in February 1986.
While it was a public statement, I deemed Duterte’s exhortation, however, as one intended more to politicians and would-be leaders of this country.
“In this time of real and lasting change, we need more citizens like him (Aquino) so we can steer our country towards the direction where a brighter and better future awaits us all,” Duterte said.
Duterte explained that this can only be achieved “if we work together to institute meaningful reforms that will put an end to the many social ills that have obstructed our path towards becoming a mature and stable democracy.”
I have no doubt in my mind that Duterte is performing and doing even more than what Ninoy has envisioned for the country, but while both Ninoy and Duterte have exceptional leadership skills, can the same be said of those “wannabes?”
While both also have expressed the same patriotic fervor in the past, I have, now, reservations as to Duterte’s deep feeling of love and loyalty for the country.
Why am I saying this?
Well, it is because I find it paradoxical that while Duterte wants more citizens like Ninoy to be leaders of this county, he has specifically and unabashedly made reference of the son and namesake of the dictator Marcos as his chosen successor in case he decides to step down from the presidency.
Although this will never happen because of its unconstitutionality and the apprehension of what might history say about him and his shameful and damned legacy, the fact alone that Duterte toyed with this idea makes him insensitive to the feelings of many Filipinos and exposes himself as very much less of what Ninoy was.
Ninoy decided to come back 35 years ago to lead the struggle against the despotic regime of Marcos because he deeply believed that the Filipino is worth dying for.
Compare this to Duterte now supporting the Marcos daughter for her senate candidacy and favoring the Marcos son to replace him if he decides to resign because of his belief that the unrepentant Marcoses are worth living for!
What an absurdity and a contradiction, indeed.