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Of Villified Presidents and Tarnished Legacies

September 23, 2008

That Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is a hardworking president there is no doubt.

But why is it that despite the long hours she puts it and her vaunted obsessive-compulsive character of being a hands-on president mindful of the details of the task, GMA appears set to go down in history as among the most villified chief executives this country has ever had.

Among the most telling perhaps is today’s editorial of the Philippines’ most influential broadsheet, the Inquirer, which is simply entitled ‘Marcos II’.

There is no mistaking its meaning.

Across the internet, Mrs. Arroyo is literally demonized, with all the attendant references and graphic portrayals of the criticism and issues against her legitimacy and actions.

To all these, GMA has consistently projected an air of indifference, with her handlers always dismissive of the tirades as “unfair, old hat, and sour-graping by her political opponents who, when they were in power, did no better for the country and its people.”

And you know, those retorts are largely correct.

For indeed if you take a snapshot of the political opposition, wit the exception of some genuine nationalists and patriots, the picture you will see is one straight out of a rogues’ gallery.

On the other side of the coin, GMA, also has herself to blame for the venom her enemies have for her, given her stubborn refusal to account for her flawed decisions and all to apparent machinations that may have been upheld as legal, but outright immoral, along with the string anomalies that have pockmarked her rule.

Herein perhaps lies the secret of GMA’s staying power and why, with two years left in her questioned term, most Filipinos are just waiting for 2010 to come around.

Sure, putchists are still there plotting their moves and conjuring up all sorts of scenarios.

But this writer is willing to bet, with the Supreme Court firmly in Gloria’s control, along with the police and military, we would all do well to focus on the day to day task of looking after our families, quietly toil hard, and bit by bit, become the chance we want our society to be.

But vigilant against dictatorship we must remain, for as the wise man said, the only way for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing.

(Cross-posted at Filipino

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