Thanks and I do not know

28/10/2009 21:22


It is often said that Filipinos have very short memories.

In some cases, social scientists have mistaken our “Live and let live” attitude as a case of memory failure. Somehow, the expectation was that we should dwell upon past events or never let go of past sins, especially if they were committed by public officials or politicians.

Perhaps the true reason behind our “forgiving and forgetful” character is because at the end of the day we are only too aware that we are collectively responsible or at fault for the things that happen to us.

We know only too well that even the best and the brightest among us never really choose the best and the brightest to lead us. We can curse and backbite a corrupt official or a law enforcer but we know who among us would rather corrupt than correct.

We settle for cheap products and solutions rather than pay the correct price. We are thrilled how we haggled and “binarat” a vendor to the last cent so that we are not even shocked or angry that we bought junk.

In other words, we don’t have short memory. What we have is “constant low intensity guilt” about the choices or decisions we make. You know that you know, so you accept it’s your fault but you will never admit it!

Just before “the great floods of 2009”, a number of politicians wanted to kick out the US Forces doing training exercises in Mindanao when terrorists started to engage the American forces directly by using “IEDs” or improvised explosive devices. They obviously did not want our own version of Afghanistan.

But when the typhoons wreaked havoc and there were not enough logistics for rescue and relief, no one made a peep of protest when the US troops came in. Beggars, as they say, can’t be choosers. Unfortunately Secretary Gilbert Teodoro seems to have been the only one who said, “thank you”.

I realize now that just like the “squatters” and the evacuees, the staunch critics of the US forces now have the attitude that the world owes it to them that the United States sends troopers to help. So don’t hold your breath waiting for any of them to say “thank you” like grateful people are supposed to.

There are several things we can expect if Joseph Estrada stages a dramatic comeback.

As he himself has said, he will launch another all-out offensive against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, aiming to accomplish what he did at Camp Abubakar, the main MILF camp that was overrun by the military in 2000. As a concession to Islamic sensitivities, he might omit the lechon at the victory celebration.

He will push for the legalization of jueteng, so that no one will ever again be indicted and detained, like him, for corruption in connection with the popular numbers game.

Among all the declared presidential aspirants, Erap is sure to push for the prosecution of the person he accuses of stealing his presidency, for plunder and other offenses during her nine years in office.

Erap’s case is unique and is expected to reach the Supreme Court. He is making an aggressive case for vox populi, vox dei, to let the people judge him through the ballot.

Malacañang should avoid further boosting Erap’s chances by giving even a hint of involvement in efforts to stop him from running. Erap is sure to seize the chance of portraying himself as an underdog being persecuted by an unjust administration.

Several foreign diplomats have told me that if there could be anything worse than President Arroyo hanging on to power beyond June 30, 2010, it would be a return of Erap to power. They ask: Don’t Filipinos ever learn?

One diplomat recalled Abraham Lincoln’s quote: You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

Erap, of course, does not think he’s fooling the people. His appeals for a second shot at the presidency are aimed at his constituency — the impoverished masses who account for the majority of the country’s voting population.