A sister of one religious order, the Daughters of St. Paul, who sends me notes and comments on what I write when the spirit moves her, has sent me a most illuminating reaction to my recent column (“Aquino fooling only himself, not the nation,” Times, August 16, 2014).
As I sometimes do with the insights and laments of others (“thief executive”, for example), this column will take off from the note of Sr. Gloria Felix, FSP.
A gift from the Beatles
“Our man in Malacañang must decide whether this is where he wishes to go.” Firstly, I must thank you for your very enlightening piece. I think our man in Malacañang is incapable of making any personal decision because I am afraid he is the incarnation of the NOWHERE MAN. Allow me, Yen, to quote the most salient parts of the song made famous by the Beatles:
He’s a real nowhere man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody.
Doesn’t have a point of view,
Knows not where he’s going to,
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
He’s as blind as he can be,
Just sees what he wants to see,
Nowhere Man can you see me at all?
“Is there any future for a nation such as ours, being led by a Nowhere Man?”
Sister Felix’s comment elicited agreement from other readers. One reader, who styles himself as Ramon, wrote:
“Very appropriate, indeed…Pnoy is the “Nowhere Man” of the Beatles’ song…
And the push for the Bangsamoro is indeed a curious and inexplicable one…hmmm, baka nga yan ang plano niyang pagtaguan pag wala na siya sa pwesto at makukulong na siya?
“I can forgive all this corruption, but not this Bangsamoro deal.
“People, please read the Quran online, to really understand that Islam is not just an ordinary religion, it is really a political ideology that seeks to control the government for Allah.”
The good sister sent me surfing in the web for information about and the full lyrics of “The Nowhere Man.” I got the stuff in no time, along with several renditions of the song.
Like most of the Beatles’ oeuvre (complete works), “The Nowhere Man” was written and composed together by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
It was first released in 1965. And it was featured in the Beatles hit film, “The Yellow Submarine.”
Nowhere man and nowhere presidency
In the Roman Catholic tradition, there are a large number of religious institutes of nuns and sisters, each with its own charism or special character.
The Daughters of St. Paul is one such institute. I surmise that taking keen interest in public affairs and national life is part of its charism and public sharing.
Sister Felix’s characterization of Benigno S Aquino 3rd as “the Nowhere Man” – and presumably of a Nowhere Presidency– will stir a lot of reaction – both ayes and nays.
He’s as blind as he can be
For my part, I totally agree with the characterization. After four years of watching and living under the leadership of BS Aquino, I have come to conclude the following:
During his campaign for president and in his early days in office, President Aquino did not have a clue what governing is all about, and what being the commander in chief and chief executive of the Philippines means.
In his first message to a joint session of Congress, the nation expected him to spell out his vision for the nation and his specific program of government, including the new laws he would push in congress.
Instead, he devoted his message to complaining about a depleted budget, which was totally untrue, and to castigating his predecessor Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
He forgot to present a road map to the nation. One month later, the hostage-taking incident in Rizal Park took place. We have been lost in the desert ever since.
Aquino talks a lot these days about the reforms that his government has allegedly accomplished. But he and his Cabinet cannot say what these reforms are exactly. Several pundits have suggested that these reforms are just delusions of the President.
The biggest delusion is the claim that the Philippines has become the new Asian economic miracle. Alas, the bold claim falls apart when set against the record of high unemployment and rising poverty. As the Beatles song says, he is as blind as he can be. He cannot see our people and our real needs at all.
Being nowhere and going nowhere
The sense of being nowhere and going nowhere has been reinforced by his newly revealed agenda for the closing years of his term.
Clear when first announced as a trinity of wishes – charter change, extension of the president’s term limit, and clipping of the powers of the Judiciary — the bold agenda has since melted under the weight of public criticism and the confusing statements of Palace spokesmen.
As with governing, Aquino does not know how his wishes are going to be accomplished, or what strategy and tactics can be employed. Even the servile Congress does not know how it can be of help, without committing hara-kiri.
Meanwhile, the nation is held in suspended animation, until Aquino decides what he’s really going to do and where he’s going. The nation is edging to march and shout, depending on what he does.
What seems likely now is that the nation will steer toward the opposite of what Aquino will do and where he is going.