I received a text message, which I passed on to others, of course, which contained a hidden message. The nursery rhyme, Humpty Dumpty, was a really popular one for decades although it does appear that technology and the onslaught of new data has made Humpty Dumpty not as popular anymore. Anyway, the hidden message is not in the rhyme but in the identity of Humpty Dumpty in the Philippine context today. My take is that the source of the text message was referring to Mike Arroyo, the First Gentleman of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
In that same text message was a quote from another nursery rhyme, “I went to London to visit the Queen, but London Bridge is falling down.” The reference to me seems quite clear, that London Bridge symbolizes a faltering royalty, and the queen is Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Between Humpty Dumpty and London Bridge, the Philippines remains attached to Western lore and personalities.
I also noticed that the grammar was somewhat flawed, or deliberately predictive. As I observe, Mike Arroyo or FG, has not had a great fall, but he could have one soon. The same is true of Gloria; she seems safe but not that safe. Her recent operation may prove much safer than the path that is beginning to unfold, the path of truth seeking the light by its own power.
The Truth Commission reflected the gut demand of Filipinos who have been blinded and blighted by the administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and the role that FG Mike Arroyo played in it. The majority of the Supreme Court found the Executive Order creating the Truth Commission as unconstitutional. I disagree, of course. What I found as perverse is that the spirit of the Constitution has been put in a strait jacket that is known as the form of the Constitution, a pitiful example of word over meaning, of procedure over substance. But then, again, I am a mere citizen and the Supreme Court is much more than that.
However, my sentiment and view are being affirmed while that of the Supreme Court is being defied by recent events and, I predict, by more events to come in the immediate and near future. The truth knocks on the doors of Philippine society, not only in the halls of the Supreme Court. This is rare but not that unknown. When truth coming from the guts of the citizenry insists on revealing itself, it can remove sitting presidents of the republic despite their control of official power, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. In the two peaceful people-powered revolutions of recent history, the truth and the people themselves, the Supreme Court was not the final arbiter but simply forced to swallow the supremacy of citizens in the exercise of direct democracy.
What did the Truth Commission seek to do? It wanted to unearth the crime and treason of an officialdom that abused its power and wielded it to amass wealth and corrupt the national soul along the way. Midway in the rule of Gloria and her FG, I read in the newspapers a report quoting a lawyer who said he believed that half of judges were corrupt, meaning they accepted bribes to favor certain litigants. I found shocking what was said, and what it did not say. If there was truth to the claim that half of judges were on the take, I would assume that half of lawyers were bribers, too. Most shameful of all was the relative quiet of the Supreme Court in the face, not only of that statement, but in the opinion of the public that justice can be bought. It means that there is questionable justice, except to those who have the capacity to pay.
When the Truth Commission was shot down by the Supreme Court, the truth simply pushed legal protocol aside and began to rise to the surface. From Heidi Mendoza and Col. George Rabusa, the truth is marching on to 2004 and 2007 poll frauds as reported by players themselves, election officers who participated in subverting the people’s will. We are informed through live television about a dirty deal about used helicopters sold as new, and the connection of Mike and Mikey Arroyo to the use and, perhaps, ownership of those helicopters. Latest is the resignation of Migz Zubiri from the Senate, an offshoot to all the noise about cheating by the administration in the 2007 elections.
In the whole scheme of things, what are cases of corruption here and there, even as shocking or entertaining as they can be? If there was corruption in the nine and a half years of Gloria and Mike in Malacanang, and people themselves in surveys conducted quarter after quarter, year after year, believed corruption was rampant, the wording of the Truth Commission saying that it intended to examine the Arroyo regime remains valid, justifiable and practical. From experience, the PCGG has several cases unresolved over the hidden wealth of the Marcoses that it never bothered with the term of Diosdado Macapagal before the presidency of Marcos. In other words, when corruption is massive, it can take more than a decade to resolve all the cases that will be filed against Gloria and Mike and their cronies or fronts. How could the Truth Commission realistically think of investigating the Estrada, Ramos and Cory presidencies?
It is my conviction, grounded on what I know about life and what I see as affirmation from current events and trends, that a people’s need for the truth cannot be denied anymore, that it has reached an intensity that it will reveal itself even without formal prodding by courts and despite the Supreme Court’s view of what is unconstitutional. We are on a tipping point in the Filipinos’ evolution, when the elite who have wealth, who have power, who have advantage, will see the ordinary Filipinos emerge from the shadows to claim their birthright. And they will succeed because many among the elite are now refined enough to care and even share.
That is why London Bridge is falling down, and why Humpty Dumpty will have a great fall.