The problem with political apologies

Alright. This is going to further decrease my already low standing with my civil society friends and, for many reasons, might end up really getting me thrown out of the Gesu (not by the Jesuits, mind you) in case I dare show my face in one of the Sunday Masses there.

But, p********, why did Cory have to apologize to Erap over People Power II?

“I am one of those who plead guilty for the 2001 (uprising). Lahat naman tayo nagkakamali. Patawarin mo na lang ako (All of us make mistakes. Forgive me),” Aquino said in her brief but well-received remarks at the Podium mall in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

— PDI, “Aquino says sorry…”, 23 Dec. 2008

I don’t know about the rest of my comrades who fought on the streets of the Second People Power but I find this extremely offensive. This is like throwing water on the face, after slapping that face, of all those who gave time and effort and risked their lives and freedom in those months we wanted to see justice done and the rule of law prevail.

A mistake, Mrs. Aquino? So are you saying there was nothing wrong in Erap’s foibles that led to the juetengate, the RIO and eventually People Power II? Are you saying that the act of the Craven Eleven to keep the (surprisingly benign) Second Envelope sealed was not brazen and offensive to deceny? Are you trying to tell the young of this nation, my comrades, my generation, that when we went out on the streets to protest that craven-ness, our indignation and outrage was an over-reaction?!

So you’re saying, Mrs. Aquino , that you approve of your sister-in-law’s dancing on the broken and bleeding body of our Constitution that evening they killed the Second Envelope?

I will admit to this much: perhaps there would have been a better, more Constitutional means of removing Erap. We all knew, even before Gloria and LAKAS-KAMPI made it a hallmark of our political processes, that Impeachment was a numbers game and, given the way the Craven Eleven were acting even before the Second Envelope, that we just didn’t have the numbers to take Erap down. My only regret, after that eye-opening ordeal called the Garci Tapes, was that we did the extra-constitutional route too soon.

But what do you do in the throes of outrage? When the people – in this case, my fellow youth – feel truly offended, when the limits of outrage have been reached, what do you do?

Mrs. Aquino, your apology is offensive because there were many things so blatantly WRONG about those last few months of the Estrada administration that led to his being ousted, and to tell Erap “I’m… sorry” is to vindicate his belief that he was the aggreieved party, that he did nothing wrong!

But he was wrong! We didn’t need the say-so of you and your fellow civil society figures to tell us that: we knew. The People saw for themselves and acted on what they saw and felt. The People listened and waited through all those days and weeks of the Impeachment and judged Erap guilty. There were ONE MILLION PEOPLE on EDSA alone who said he was guilty.

I remember how I felt watching the Sandiganbayan hand out its verdict on Erap’s case. I remember thinking, dammit, he has to be guilty or everything we fought for on the streets of the Second People Power would be rendered moot and academic. Erap being innocent would mean we were truly wrong.

But here comes Cory, telling Erap, “I’m… sorry.”

Erap’s reaction says it all:

He later told reporters that Aquino’s remarks were unexpected, but he said he was “very happy.”

“That alone vindicates, coming from a respectable President, the icon and symbol of democracy,” Estrada said.

— PDI, “Aquino says sorry…,” 23 Dec. 2008

Look at that. Why wouldn’t he be happy? The so-called foremost champion of Democracy (at least in this country), the Heroine of the First People Power, widow of Ninoy, telling the biggest plunderer of the land that she was sorry for helping remove him from power almost eight years ago.

Because of her oh-so-political apology, now Erap can say we were wrong. KOMPIL II was wrong. The ERYM was wrong. The Church and the other churches were wrong. The months of the RIO was wrong. The young who went out in indignation after the Second Envelope were wrong. The one million on EDSA and the hundreds of thousands nationwide back in January 2001 were wrong.

Cory also spat on the decision of the Sandiganbayan that Erap was guilty.

Why? Kasi mali daw yung pagpapatalsik ke Erap.

By her apology, Cory vindicated all the gambling, boozing and womanizing of the Erap Presidency. Cory vindicated the Midnight Cabinet, the increased politicization of the police and military. She vindicated Kuratong Baleleng, too, and maybe even Dacer’s slaying, because this was all done under Erap’s regime and don’t we all blame even local-context murders of journalists to Gloria? Cory vindicated, too, the brazen attempt to protect Erap in the Senate Impeachment Trial (and weren’t you and your allies condemning Congress for protecting Gloria?) and the dancing of her sister-in-law.

By saying sorry to Erap, Cory essentially said that all of us were wrong.

And that he, pronounced guilty on the streets of the Second People Power and in the halls of the Sandiganbayan… is the good guy.

I thought nothing would be more offensive than my elders in the Liberal Party, people I respected and looked up to, shelving all the ideals and principles they taught us to hold dear just for the sake of political convenience, hubris and pride.

This thing that Cory did takes the cake.

Mrs. Aquino, how could you call for the removal of a liar, cheat and oppressor but dare vindicate someone like Erap?

So ganun pala talaga yun, ano? Pag si Gloria or kunektado ke Gloria, mali. Basta kaaway na ni Gloria, regardless of what they did or say… its ok.

Sorry, but… putangina.

Hey, if Mar could do it and he’s right, that its ok to say the most offensive word in the Filipino lexicon, in public, by a national leader who was brought up in a de buena familia and graduated from schools like The Ateneo and Wharton, why can’t we say the same thing to something so blatantly offensive and outrageous as this apology?

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One Response to The problem with political apologies

  1. Pedro says:

    Cory shown her true color, she is really a slut. She is not that conscientious person that she is trying to portray; she is merely just another opportunist politician like her dead husband. EDSA II and the ousting of Joseph Estrada as our president is not a mistake, it is the placing of Gloria Arroyo as a replacement for the deposed president is the mistake. What are her intensions in saying that apology is something to think about, I guess the usual reason, for the advantage of her rich oligarch clan.

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