leni, mocha, joan of arc

it’s laughable the way leni is likened to cory when, really, the only thing they have in common is widowhood.  although it may be said that both ladies were catapulted to public consciousness through their spouses’ unexpected deaths, their personal circumstances and the political situations prevailing in 1985-86 and today are vastly different.  DILG sec jessie robredo was not even in the same league as senator ninoy aquino: he was a newbie on the national stage while ninoy was the leading oppositionist to president marcos before and through most of martial law until his assassination in 1983, and that certainly had a lot to do with cory’s popularity and stature.

but obviously the point is to remind us only that cory, a plain housewife, managed to oust an entrenched dictator, and that there is hope in leni, a lawyer and one-term legislator, doing cory better and ousting a president of five months who is detested by many for ruling like a dictator (EJKs, marcos-love, and all) though without the formality of martial law.

Leni is now the symbol and moving spirit of the political opposition: A JOAN OF ARC IN THE RAGING BATTLEFIELD OF PHILIPPINE POLITICS. [caps not mine]

sabi ‘yan ni belinda olivares-cunanan in her blog political tidbits soon after the veep’s resignation from the duterte cabinet.  back in september 1986, georgie anne geyer of gettysburg times first said it of cory when the new prez was in the U.S. to address Congress, and many of us thought it was silly, and yet philippine media picked it up, so flattered were they for cory, no matter how hilarious and inapt the comparison.

She … seems, in an almost mystical sense, to be the realization of the female leader (like Joan of Arc without the final tragedy) that feminists have looked for.

when cory died in 2009, it was recalled by the foreign press  though with some discernment.

When a bewildered Marcos and his wife Imelda fled the nation, it set a stirring precedent for dissidents everywhere, from South Africa to South America to Pakistan. Aquino was hailed as a modern-day Joan of Arc.

…Aquino’s presidency was less successful than the revolution, with a series of coup attempts by the military keeping the administration hamstrung. She was lauded for her courage, but rarely seemed able to get on top of ruling the country.  

seven years later, in march 2016, it was revived, tagged on to vp leni by philstar columnist tony katigbak (A Joan of Arc in the Phl) for daring, during the campaign, to speak against the marcos burial in libingan ng mga bayani.  and then in july by jojo robles, though wth some disdain (Imelda, not Cory), just before the prez finally gave her a cabinet position.

Leni, who was being cast by the Yellows as the new Cory leading the opposition like Joan of Arc against the Dictator from Davao, felt that the better offensive was an Imeldific charm offensive.

but now that the honeymoon is over, and vp leni is back with the opposition and again being hailed as a joan of arc, alam ba ng yellows na may  kaagaw siya sa koronang ito?   three days earlier than cunanan, on the very weekend that vp leni made sumbong to nation that she had been asked to desist from attending cabinet meetings, mocha uson posted a cover photo of herself clad in armor with sword in hand and the title JOAN OF ARC of the DDS (duterte’s diehard supporters), no less.  laban kayo?

puwede na ring ipalamang kay mocha, please.  mas bagay rin sa drama niya at sa drama ng presidente, whether she hears or not the voice of god, like the original joan, and oh, like her tatay digong, or so he likes to joke.

but seriously.  leni’s resignation from the cabinet has of course renewed rumors of a digong ouster plot in this run-up to the jan 20 and feb 2017 edsa anniversaries.  and it’s hard to simply take leni’s word for it, or the LP’s, that there is no such conspiracy in the works, not with LP moneybags loida nicolas lewis putting her foot in her mouth with that call for the president to resign so leni can take over before bongbong manages to take over the vice-presidency.

was that a signal of sorts to start some balls rolling behind the scenes here and in america?  who knows, we might see a mixed bag of tricks from the EDSA uno and edsa dos playbooks.  duterte won the election fair and square so I don’t see a popular and prayerful clamor for his resignation, but the state of his health is a matter of concern — what if he suddenly keels over, cross our fingers please — or what if he messes up big time — like erap did — and the super majority in congress suddenly finds itself a minority, and a manny villar rises to railroad his impeachment?  fat chance?  just the same, it’s important that the vp question be settled quickly, credibly, and with finality by the supreme court.

i share most of the scattered oppositions’ major major concerns, especially over the drug war (bakit walang nadadali na drug lords?  bakit pinatay si espinosa?  sinong nagpapatay?) and charter change (federalism freaks me out, and wow he’s agreeable to reversing the 60-40 ownership requirement re public utilities) BUT BUT BUT may he live to finish his term, just because he draws the line: NO to foreign ownership of land.

“But you know, there is something which [I will oppose]—it’s a fundamental irreconcilable difference with me and some of the congressmen because even the Speaker before, who was my political enemy, already agreed to sell lands—selling lands to foreigners. I am sorry, but I am not ready for that kind because most of the Filipinos are poor. And with the growing economy of the supergiant, China and the rest, they can always come here and buy the land and they can buy the whole of Tondo and relocate there and we’ll have nothing and everything sold,” he pointed out.

that’s music to my ears, and i am won over again.  anything happens to him, paninindigan ba ‘yan at ipaglalaban rin ng kung sino man ang papalit kay digong?   yes, we would need a joan (or john) of arc of sorts, as much to fight foreign powers who would buy us out as to fight pinoy politicos and oligarchs who would sell us out.