BIRDS OF THE SAME FEATHER…
The crowd that attended the book launch of “Juan Ponce Enrile: A Memoir” last October 4, 2012 at the Manila Peninsula were people who have lived in the corridors of power and immensely benefited from the system. As one newspaper reported, “the invitation of Enrile brought together an odd assortment of colorful characters whose careers and personalities have crossed, intersected and clashed on the very public state of Philippine politics”.
Surprisingly, the book launching was also attended by a section of the ruling class that were victims of martial law. The caption “No permanent friends, only permanent interests” with the picture of the launching hugged the headlines, hitting the nail on the head. Let bygones be bygones. The ruling class can live with each other and even forgive one another.
Their overwhelming concern is that the system continually serve their interests and reap benefits for them while the reins of political power shift from one faction to another via an election. Aberrations like the Marcos dictatorship, the revolutionary government of Cory Aquino and the illegitimate rule of Gloria Arroyo are testimonies of the fractiousness of the ruling class on one hand and how their contradictions are being resolved momentarily on the other hand. Those who lose out at any point can always worm back into the seat of political power. The most important thing is that the well-entrenched power remains with them.
Beyond the book launching, the attendance also conclusively reflects the entire ruling class’ support for PNoy’s institutionalization of reforms in the system, making the system more subservient to foreign capital and more misery on people’s lives. Their current unity is best expressed in the claim of the parties out of power that they are not the opposition to PNoy’s administration. In fact, some political parties have coalesced with the ruling Liberal Party in the coming election.
The timing of the book launch of Enrile is revealing. It comes at a time that Enrile enjoys high popularity rating after the Senate impeachment of Corona and a week after the country commemorated the 40th anniversary of martial law. Afterwards, on daily basis, the contents of the memoir are daily being dished out in the newspapers.
There is more than meets the eye. The event reiterates an established fact – that victors always write the history. The crowd at the book launching which was practically an array of the ruling class became a fait accompli in rewriting the real pages of the martial law period.
Looking back, the Marcos dictatorship was not an isolated case. It was part of a period where the US installed and supported dictators within and among its client states – Somoza in Nicaragua, Suharto in Indonesia to name a few. Granting that the “martial law blueprint was spelled out during Marcos inaugural speech on December 30, 1965”, it still needed the go signal and tacit support from the US to declare and implement the martial law.
Enrile “who has held power at its apex for 46 years” was never for people’s democracy. Until now, Enrile is still a rabid apologist for martial law and authoritarianism that resulted in the incarceration of more than 70,000 people, 34,000 tortured, 3,240 killed and 1,000 disappeared. If the plot to oust Marcos had been successful in the first quarter of 1986, they would then install a civilian military junta.
In his last month’s skirmish with Trillanes, he arrogantly announced that as a Senate president, he is answerable to no one.
And still, Enrile had the gall to “re-engineer himself” as the humane face of the dictatorship and in the process portray himself as a hero. In his twilight years, the memoir is Enrile’s serious attempt to carve his lasting positive legacy on the history of the nation. Part of this is sanitizing, nay cosmetizing his role during martial law.
Recently, he claimed that his ambush on that “one fateful night in September 1972” was for real and its staging was not needed to justify the imposition of martial law. This was long after his admission to the public last February 22, 1986 that the ambush was fake.
What version now to believe? The circumstances of the contradictory claims were different. February, 1986 found Enrile among those who holed in Camp Aguinaldo and was under threat of being attacked by the pro-Marcos forces. Yes, it was an admission of a man unsure to live another day. It was like an admission of a dying man.
The reconstruction of stories and tales are also curios . Acts, events, and statements are attributed to individuals that are already dead like Marcos, Ver and even Ninoy Aquino. These people could not tell their own tales to contradict Enrile. For dead men could not tell their own stories.
Why should Enrile wait for the launching of his memoir to peddle these stories? Immediately, after his “transformation” last February, 1986 by admitting that the ambush was fake, he could have made restitutions by spelling out the whole truth about martial law. Then, it would stand scrutiny because the key players then of martial law were still alive. He never did.
Enrile is one of the best and proven defenders of the status quo for almost 50 years. Let us read the book for what its worth – one of the best exposition on how the ruling class writes their own version of distorted history.
Others will also try to write their own version of history. But we know for a fact that it is solely the people who make real history. And with the people, let us write and build our own history. For, it is in righting the wrongs of history that we avoid the condemnation to repeat the horrors of the past.
Kilusan Para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD)
October 1, 2012
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- True or false: Was 1972 Enrile ambush faked? (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- Enrile’s memoir: Story of sorcerer’s apprentice (opinion.inquirer.net)
- Unthinkable: Guess who came to Enrile book launch (newsinfo.inquirer.net)
- En-riling (opinion.inquirer.net)