Cabaero: Erap, Poe and Ninoy
By NINI B. CABAERO
There was this report in a Manila
newspaper yesterday where former president Joseph Estrada compared his suffering
to that of national hero Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. I almost choked on my
popcorn when I read it.
It was about his request to be allowed to go to the United States for treatment. He said, according to that newspaper report, it would be up to President Arroyo to pity him and consider his failing health and grant him permission to fly to the US.
Estrada is suffering from arthritic knees that, his doctors said, led to other health problems like a multiple slipped disc and a spinal cord disorder. The former president said he would rather risk paralysis and refuse surgery here if the motion to be filed by his lawyers today with the Sandiganbayan is rejected. “I will do it as a sacrifice for God and country. Ninoy did it by dying. As for me, I’m lucky to be alive,” he said.
Ninoy Aquino died for his country. He returned in 1983 to Philippine soil from exile in the United States against the advice of family and colleagues in the struggle against Ferdinand Marcos. He was aware of the risks involved. He took a bullet to his head and this started the revolt that led to the first people power that ousted Marcos from Malacañang.
I wonder what kind of revolt Estrada must be hoping for should his motion to fly to the US be denied by the Sandiganbayan. What scenario is he putting forward at the expense of blasphemy of a national hero? Two years have passed since the revolt of the masses on a May 1 morning when people armed with sticks and bricks tried to force their way to Malacañang. They had valid gripes against society but their way was not considered acceptable because it forced destruction rather than action.
That must not be the kind of heroism Estrada had in mind. It could be that his forced correlation between his medical condition and Ninoy’s heroism was to lay the ground for his brand of sacrifice towards making another, like Fernando Poe Jr., the new “hero.”
Estrada has Poe in his mind lately. He said Poe might not have the government experience to back up aspirations for the presidency, but there are people, those who once served the Estrada administration, who could do the job for Poe. Estrada mentioned the names of distinguished public servants like the secretaries of Finance, Budget and Management and Economic Planning of his administration.
But a capable and high caliber Cabinet is nothing if the leader, the No. 1 boss, was incapable of good governance. That was the history of the Estrada administration.
Poe is keen on joining the presidential race next year as the united opposition’s candidate. If he was not interested at all, he could have easily dismissed these calls for him to challenge President Arroyo. But Poe remained in our midst as a possibility about to become a reality in the next few days.
Despite chain letters and prayer brigades against a Poe candidacy, it is inevitable for the unknown to be known, sooner more than later. The next best thing to do is to conquer that fear.
How? Not much creativity is needed to know the answer.
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