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Planting the seeds of hate

by Benjamin F. Cardinez

From the time Gloria Macapagal Arroyo assumed the presidency of the Philippine republic on January 20, 2001 to succeed the deposed president, Joseph “Erap” Estrada, she made bitter enemies among the latter’s millions of fanatic supporters. The hatred she generated within this group haunted her administration without let up, questioning her legitimacy as president and most, if not all, official actions she undertook in that capacity. A favorable decision of the Philippine Supreme Court affirming the legality and constitutionality of Mrs. Arroyo’s succession to the presidency did not assuage the bitterness of her political adversaries, nor dilute the venom of their rhetoric.

The negativity towards Mrs. Arroyo turned for the worse when her enemies made a monumental issue about her decision to run for re-election in 2004, after initially declaring that she would not. Those who aspired to become the next president, with their fanatic followers, and who thought they would have an easier time winning the election, without her as a candidate, were livid, calling her a liar, dishonest, dishonorable and treacherous, among other diatribes. The sensationalized “Hello Garci” episode and her ill-advised “sorry” speech on television did not help the situation for her.

The late former president Corazon Cojuanco Aquino (“Cory”), who herself assumed the presidency in place of another deposed head of state, Ferdinand Marcos, ostensibly supported Mrs. Arroyo during the latter’s first two and a half years, or so, in office. They had a falling out publicly after Mrs. Arroyo’s televised apology for talking to an election official in 2004. Cory’s joining the opposition coupled with the infamous “Hyatt 10” mass resignation, and the defeat of the late popular movie actor Fernando Poe, Jr., swelled the ranks of Arroyo – haters even more. Despite Mrs. Arroyo’s attempts at reconciliation when Cory was mortally ill and in the throes of death, the latter refused to resolve their differences, thus carrying her rancor to her grave.

Now comes candidate Benigno S. Aquino III, with his “yellow horde”, underpinning his presidential campaign with a rambunctious anti-Arroyo crusade. At one point, candidate Aquino proclaimed that he would not speak of anything else but the ills of then president Arroyo’s government True enough, he barely spoke of his life achievement, plan of governance, or what he would do for the country’s economy, education, defense, and infrastructure maintenance and development should he be elected. Instead, his vitriolic attack against the latter intensified, leaving his underlings to search and destroy his closest rival, Manny Villar with the apparently contrived “C-5” accusations and of a completely baseless innuendo of a secret alliance between the two. It was an overkill. Both efforts at vilification have proven to be a success. Mrs. Arroyo remained the most hated person by many in the country on and after she finished her term. Manny Villar, for his part, lost the election, finishing third behind the convicted plunderer, Joseph Estrada.

Just a few days ago, Mrs. Arroyo underwent a delicate surgery, a life-threatening operation on her spinal cord. Philippine newspapers report that some of Mrs. Arroyo’s critics were praying and wishing for her complete recovery. It is sad to note, however, that in this social blog, one poster (apparently deranged by insufferable hate) , goaded on by a number of “friends”, actually ” prayed for the former president to die on the operating table, prompting this writer to comment that anyone who prays for another person’s destruction is praying to satan. And she called herself Catholic.

posted with permission. Originally posted at his facebook page

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