Respect, then reflect

Let’s pray for the late President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino and his family. Let’s also pray for his bashers, they badly need it. Tradition or whatever, besmirching the dead is, at the very least, infantile.

But there is a takeaway from the highs and lows in the reactions to PNoy’s death – that solving our problems as a country should go beyond personalities because our woes are SYSTEMIC.

The Aquinos (Cory and PNoy) also fell short of the public’s expectations when they were in power. The same can be said of the 13 previous presidents.

The national divide defined by personalities rather than ideals and ideologies became more distinct when the 16th president of the republic, Rodrigo Duterte, rose to power, purportedly on the backs of 16 million voters who groaned under the post-EDSA Philippine politics.

No. 16 projected himself as the anti-establishment candidate, the conqueror of oligarchs, the Grim Reaper of drug lords, etc. His language and demeanor seemed to pierce through the systemic disease that gnawed at our society.

But some (outside the 16-million group) say that it’s still politics as usual, only that it has become harsher and coarser, much to the delight of his factotums. He glossed over and even slept with dynasties that buttressed oligarchies and shabu still abounds the streets. Oh, he is also the father of an enduring dynasty in the south. Let’s also add his so-called “defeatist” policy on the big pond called West PHL Sea.

Death is always certain. The only difference is when.

No. 16 will also cross over, and his passing will definitely reap both praise and derision. Let us respect the memory of the dead and assuage the grief of those left in this “Vale of Tears.”

And then maybe, we can replace personal contempt with a deep reflection on what really ails us as a nation.