|photo edited by the author|
With the national limelight focused on the final day of the historic impeachment trial—undeniably, it will be the talk of gossipers on the streets, thread in social medias, and a rich topic that writers could dissect and siphon dry for weeks—but there is more to it that I goad myself to acknowledge. What I hope to believe is that we have achieved so much more than the conviction of the highest magistrate in this country whose background and appointment inchoate of integrity and hounded by anomaly. More than this “cleaning” and the current government’s righteous purgation—which has been their double edged sword from the beginning—what I want to see is that the people’s acceptance of that shard of possibility to break away from the ancient tethers that held them, this very chains that mired development and the growth of the nation. Acknowledgement of this opportunity, no matter how miniscule accommodation it settles within a person could provide a much needed starting point to liberate one’s mind from that archaic prison it was detained to.
But could we break away from that when all else failed. History tells us that although we are a heroic people, although heroes arose to defend the rights of their brothers, it also shows us that time and again our leaders have pandered against our oppressors to gain whatever comfort and luxury they could pilfer as their own. Look at the illustrados’ behavior in the Philippine revolution who had taken seats in the fledgling republic only to take bigger pieces of the cake for their own. Look at the conspirators to our colonizers—they are the elitist and those who call themselves nationalist who have exploited their own race. Look at our politicians who viewed their seats as a privilege for their personal economic progress and their own asinine legacies for their emblazoned family names.
In spite of this plight, whenever I see this malaise that stricken us— more than the economical emaciation is the psychological implant it carved into our collective beings—I remember the words of Renato Constantino, “…when history has a goal, the past ceases to dominate the present and to hold back the future. Then history could be consciously made.” Here, in my own, humble interpretation, it connotes that if people aspire for a single encompassing goal for the nation then we could rise above ourselves to form a better nation no matter what mud and stain was hauled into our images. Yes! If we come together as a nation we could develop, we could progress, we could all have better lives.
Now, what does this have to do with the dethronement of the chief magistrate from his seemingly indomitable office? I would not claim to be well versed of judicial proceedings nor am I the repository of evidences, instead my eyes have set into interpret the symbol that the former chief justice, unknowingly or willfully, embodied, and the downfall that we all witnessed.
Whether the allegations were true, most of the people whom I have come to get the opinion of has seemingly, unanimously, agreed that his reputation is hazy and his persona conceited; they became even more convinced when his melodramatic, asinine speech was delivered in the senate hearing and his impertinent exit was witnessed by the nation. His calloused and arrogant demeanor before the senate was a figure and character most of our public officials and employee have towards their position. Instead of serving the people, ironically, it is the people who are serving them. They became drunk with their positions and like most drunkards they forget, they become oblivious to the world and to the people they would run amok upon. These pompous leaders get what they want. They have the law to shield their readied siphons set to channel growth to their own illusory, corrupted nirvanas. Yes, the law could be bent and its malleability depends on how much booty they could dispose.
On top of that, they could perfume their images anew, cloth themselves in a nationalist ideologies and pro-masa projects that curtains their voracious scheming. It is like hiding an elephant underneath a worn-out flag and telling us nothing is there. I believe, for I have witnessed, because I too live in that neighborhood where population is highest, where politicians go to when they need majority voting, I come to realize that they, although most of them, in spite of not having a prestigious college degree, are not dumb! They know too well these politicians need their votes for their own vainglorious wants. And they could feel, most sensitive to it even, that vaunted distance, that condescending, irksome demeanor these politicians emanate which fumes out from their faked and forced smiles. But they know too that they cannot eat morals. They need to first attend to their stomachs and to the many dependent on their scavenging. They sell their votes to the highest bidder, if not to those who swore their allegiance.
How much farther the people could see these scheming, I do not know. But politicians know how to suck it up during elections. They are seen gallivanting with townsfolk. These are all for show. After election, they take their seats and begin the plunder. Politicians and officials not like them are more of an exemption than the rule. Because of this traditional politics that has carved into our history, people came to accept it. “We cannot do anything about it.” “We cannot change anything.” These are the usual reactions you get.
But what if the disgrace of the chief justice could signify that there is some fighting chance to change and break this traditions and perspectives of power in this country? What if this verdict could actually serve as a symbol that traditions can be altered? What if with this historic event, we could trace the roots that impinged our growth as a nation and take action to amending it.
Yes, we know too well, that behind the man of chief justice, and the many political leaders, public officials, is an ominous shadow that created them, a system that tainted the aspiring leaders, the faithful servants of mother nation, and turned them into vicious tyrants and hoodlums, corrupting our very nationalist DNAs.
Yet, with this verdict, I hope to believe that there is so much more to it. I hope to believe that it is more than political vendetta but rather that heroic consciousness that awakened from its apathetic slumber. I hope to believe that it is so much more than mere words and spoiled actions but a genuine path towards change.
With this verdict, I hope there is so much more that I have seen to believe. And my sanguine faith that maybe people too have seen this, no matter how elusive that fissure of hope to change is in our long history of redemption.