Aquino’s revenge tic deforms his governance

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President Aquino’s disclosure to a Filipino audience in Boston last week that he had wanted to exact revenge on President Marcos for the assassination of his father, former senator Benigno Aquino Jr., did not surprise most Filipinos.

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It significantly confirmed, from the horse’s mouth, what Fr. Jaime Bulatao, S.J., had diagnosed in his psychological evaluation of Aquino while he was a 19-year-old student at the Ateneo de Manila University.

In the bruited report of the Jesuit psychologist, he noted about the patient:

“The patient is ambitious . . . He wants the power one day not so much to help others, but to be able to heap a measure of revenge on the people who had imprisoned his father, troubled his family, and who made his life a ‘living hell.’

“Despite the deeply rooted desire for revenge, the main complaint of the patient is depression and melancholia…”

Fast forward to May 2010, and the ambitious young man is elected to the highest office of the land. He gains the power to fulfill his fantasies. And today, he has now had four years to do it.

Aquino’s disclosure in Boston and Bulatao’s report reinforce the belief of many that his cruel and barbarous treatment of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and his autocratic removal by impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona—were acts of vindictiveness for the roles they played in the nullification of the stock distribution option (SDO) of Hacienda Luisita and the subsequent Supreme Court ruling that the hacienda’s 6,000 hectares of land must be turned over to the farmer beneficiaries.

Like mother, like son

Given the psychological profile (intent) of our 15th president and the means (Malacañang’s panoply of powers), it’s not farfetched to wonder whether Aquino’s presidency, like his mother’s , is being disfigured in policy and performance by the obsession with revenge.
Many Filipinos believe that this is the case.

Surprisingly, many thoughtful foreign observers and diplomats have also given credence to the corrosive effect of vengeful desires on the conduct of the first Aquino presidency, and are keenly watching whether the second will be more of the same.

The US diplomat, historian and former consul General of the US embassy in Manila, Lewis Gleeck Jr., in his informative and incisive book, President Aquino: Sainthood Postponed, has opined that Cory’s policy of revenge deformed her presidency and caused it to fail.

Gleeck wrote: “A government cannot perform adequately if its basic raison d’etre is revenge. I am not so Christian as to believe that such sentiment is never justified, but revenge, as a basis of government, covers up flaws in both the policies and performance of government. Hatred can deform thinking that anything that the dethroned Monster has done must be seen to be Evil, and its opposite good. This was the rationale of Palace policies for the entire six-plus years of the Aquino government.”

As with the mother, so we must now fear with the son.

The striking thing about the Aquinos is that they turned our public life into the theater for their campaign of retribution.

Forms vengeance can take

The desire for revenge per se can obsess anyone, but it is the forms that vengeance can take that need to be carefully watched and studied.

One scholar who has thoroughly researched and studied the subject is Professor Donald Shriver Jr., president emeritus of the Union Theological Seminary, and past president of the Society of Christian Ethics.

In his book, An Ethic for Enemies, Forgiveness in politics, Professor Shriver surveys the forms and actions that vengeance can take, when a wrong-sufferer tries to exact revenge on a wrongdoer.

Shriver identified seven forms of just or unjust vengeance. These are, and I quote heavily from his book for my exposition:

Terror—terror is the response of amoral, autocratic powers to actions of others that they oppose. The motto of terrorism is, “For damage to one of our eyes, we put out all the eyes we wish.” The gate opens here to measureless revenge.

2. Vindictiveness—It is a first cousin to terror. Its motto is, “Two eyes for one, or a few more for good measure.” Within slight hailing distance of some restraint, the vindictive nod, at least, to the idea of proportion.

3. Retaliation—Retaliation can be defined as response in kind, “eye for eye, tooth for tooth, and no more.” The word carries this literal meaning, and its synonym should probably be “retribution.”

A special difficulty with this concept in practice is the elusiveness of exact retribution, especially when the original offenders are absent, dead, or otherwise inaccessible.

4. Punishment—Punishment applies to a wide array of social disciplines, some of which only remotely fit the offense. The motto of the punisher is, “for your hurt, we hurt in return, but necessarily in kind. Above all, we must reassert the standards which you have defied; our punishment must not defy them either.”

The latter point is the claim urged by those who believe that no society should institutionalize capital punishment.

5. Restitution, or restorative justice, has as for its motto, “Restore what was lost.”
But empirical finitude and tragedy haunt both retaliatory and restorative justice here.
Often “it” is gone forever, so that cries for justice have only the recourses already described.

6. Protest—Protest is the barest of responses in the spectrum and is the recourse of those who have no other motto than “Let us live with the loss, but let us at least name its injustice out loud.”

There are wrongs that no human court can properly punish or rectify. But to leave that fact unremarked is to abandon the cause of justice itself.

7. Passivity—Passivity , like terror, belongs to this moral-political spectrum only as a boundary.

Terrorist power and its passive objects have anomie in common—that is, lawlessness.
Terror is the “anomie of the powerful.” Passivity is “the anomie of the powerless.”

No future without forgiveness  

Shriver concludes his book with this wise and prudent counsel: “Each of these forms has implications for a society’s norms for the just use of power in its institutions.”

Societies must seek a “balance between compassionate and retributive impulses.” Once they are committed to such balance, “individuals and societies can turn their attention to the question of what forms of retribution, and which forms of forgiveness, afford the opportunity of an existence that encompasses both justice and love.”

In South Africa, Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu cut through all the handwringing, declared “There is no future without forgiveness,” and then created the Truth Commission.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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26 Comments

  1. Pnoy has the right to be mad that made his attitude to be filled with hate and revenge against Dictator Marcos for the torture and eventual murder of his father, Ninoy Aquino. It is a normal human emotion to revenge the death of one’s father whose only perceived sin is to protest the authoritarian rule of Marcos, a right of every democratic loving person. This traumatic experience of then young man, Pnoy might have caused Pnoy’s stubbornness and one-track thinking that affects his current mental judgment on various issues he now faces as President. What Pnoy should find out is the mastermind of his fathers assassination, so as to close the book on his fathers death. Of course, just to find out the truth, the re-opening of the Ninoy murder case must not interfere in his governance, nor should he be preoccupied or too obsessed with it.

  2. Jaime Dela Cruz on

    I have commented in MST that the reason why Pnoy hasn’t effected revenge on Bongbong is that he (Pnoy) hasn’t yet figured out how to do it. After reading this article, I now wonder if Pnoy’s sudden friendliness to Imee Marcos is not an attemp to get closer to the family Marcos and find a way to destroy them. “keep your friend close and your family closer”. I do not know which family is richer, but I do know that in a battle of wit, Pnoy won’t even come close to Bongbong and if Pnoy chooses to engage the Marcoses in his “vengeance plot” wit will always prevail over money.
    What worries me though is his attemp to extend his reign beyond 2016. If congress bows down to the clamor of the people to not give him another term, he will go all out to find a way to exact his revenge. Remember he still has a year and a half and his budget which gives him a lot of petty cash to spread around has been approved in the lower house. My hope is, he does not see the people as the reason for his failure to retaliate. But if he does, I hope that Gen. Catapang is smart enough and quick enough to stop him in his attempt to punish us all.

  3. The Ateneo psychologist assessment of the young Aquino is now haunting the entire Philippines. Worst is yet to come. PNoy has instable mind.

  4. Frank Drilon, the number one sycophant and demagogue in the Liberal Party, had conspired with then Cory Aquino to oust Gloria Macapagal in revenge for the DAR to distribute Hacienda Luisita to tenants. That was the primordial reason Cory’s government failed, with Drilon agreeing to Cory’s legal policy as the then Secretary of Justice and Executive Secretary. Drilon rides in coatails of the Aquino’s since Drilon has no political bailiwick of his own! Now Drilon is prodding Pnoy for a second term though discreetly. Drilon is number one sucker and ass kisser of the Aquinos.

  5. VOTE wisely in 2016 and DO NOT allow money rule the election. Do not allow yourselves vote for money.

    get drunk with the money, skip the voting. conscience clear

    same goes with other cuprits, election riggers? The number manipulators?

  6. that f*ng president and his cabinet members whoring our nations wealth draining it to the last drop until they leave the office…………and to those f*ng voters responsible in puting those f*rs in office and who will continue to vote abnormal, corrupt , showbiz politicians who doesnt EVER care to review/ analyse about the merits of any public servants!!!!!!!

    VOTE WISELY NA KASI SA 2016, Filipinos need to remove rouge/showbiz politicians from abusing public office so people can prosper. The new leaders with their specialization as well as working merits must run our country and create policies that will help national security and nation building.

  7. paano ka makakatulog ng mahimbing kung ikaw ay may itinatago paghihiganti sa iyong kapwa. gaya ni madam cory we call it santa pero may kimkim syan galit hanggang sa siya namatay. same with the uniko iho na may vengansang itinatago sa sarili ibig pang gamitin ang mga busabos na pilipino para sa kanyang pagsariling kagustuhan mga pilipinong busabos ni pinoy at cohorts gumising tayo bago pa tayo maging mga busabois ng angkan aquinogumising tao mga busabos

  8. Bonifacio Claudio on

    The Truth Commission of South Africa then was like the Church’s confession cubicle where you TELL ALL YOUR SINS without; then you will be FORGIVEN & be one with God & the people once more… That was the anti-thesis of the one put up by Pnoy & quashed out by the SC as unconstitutional…

  9. Tama ka ed_dAVAO, sa mga mukha pa lang nitong mga dilaw na ito, makikita mo ang kanilang KAWALANGYAAN, KAYABANGAN, KATAKAWAN ng salapi ng bayan.
    Walang-wala pa pakato ng mga naunang mga senador at congressman ang mga ito. Hindi karespeto-respeto. Siguro kong makasalubong ko ang mga ito baka hindi ako maka_____.Mantakin mong magnakaw ng ganoon kahalagang salapi, sa pamamagitan ng taong nasa malakanyang, lalo ng itong TULO LAWAY na ito

  10. Blame Kris , she doesn’t want to loose her power in showbiz also their grasp on Hacienda Luisita so she used the death of Cory to convince the Filipino to vote for Pnoy as president. Her tear jerker speech fooled them(not myself). Now we are suffering for having a vengeful president who keep on blaming GMA and Marcos.His recent “tepok lamok ” speech abroad showed his vengeful attitude on Marcos, the question is, is he really decided to know who really killed his father or he just wants to create an impact on his speech abroad.

  11. P. Akialamiro@yahoo.com on

    The prounouncements made abroad on getting at the Marcoses, the questions asked of the reporters regarding journalists being killed in the country, the claim about why many OFWs left the country before his term, the insensitivity shown after the aftermath of Yolanda, the all out effort to get rid of CJ Corona to the extent of using DAP money to ‘buy’ the votes of some senators, the accusation and jailing of 3 opposition senators, to the exclusion of others who are his partymates, the defense of erring underlings despite glaring suspicious corruption, the challenges directed at the supreme court despite unanimity of decision, speak well about the personality of this sitting president. A normally thinking mind can safely coclude that the Philippines has a leader who is incapable of leading the country to prosperity, although he has the audacity to claim himself to be.. Instead, to a “tuwid na daan” which is a “mirage” in reality..

    If given fair and impartial trials, I doubt if his predecessor and the three jailed senators will be found guilty. While they may not be found guilty as charged, a ‘good’ precedent is set in Philippine politics where high government officials are charged and imprisoned which will render them “history” as far as their political ambitions are concerned. Meanwhile, they languish where they are confined. Nonetheless, I hope history won’t repeat itself, for an exception, next time around.

    With the increasing crime, lack of housing for victims of calamities, yearly calamities under poor leadership, “Quo Vadis, Philippines?”

  12. mr macabenta, how did you get a copy of that report? akala ko state secret yan. pls do us favor by publishing, via your column, the whole report. after all, it concerns us all. what is happening, to my mind, is not normal.

  13. 1986 hanggang 2016 ang panahong nasayang at ang panahon ng mga mapaghiganting yellow na lumustay sa yaman ng bayan.
    Ang panahon ng mga linta at buwitre na nagpasasa sa yaman ngbansa.
    Ang ppanahon na ginagamit na sila daw ay inapi at pinarusahan,walang ginawa sa panahong ito, kung hindi ang paulit-ulit na sila ay bayaran at makinabang sa pag-alis ng dictador, puro pansarili pakinabang lang ang ginawa!!
    Si Aquino at mga santo-santita yellow brigada ay naging malaking linta na sumipsip sa yaman ng bansa.
    1986 hanggang ngayon wala nagawa mabuti ang mga salot na ito,kung hindi ipamalita na sila ay api at sila ay mga hero at santo!!
    Sila ang nakakaalam ng mali pero wala silang ginawa para maitama at mapabuti ay bayan kung hindi nagpasasa lamang sa yaman ng bayan-!walang silbi!! Mga walang silbi at patuloy na nagmamarunong.
    Panahon na para burahin ang masamang alaala na ginawa ng Aquino at mga ipokritong yellow na hanggang sa ngayon ay na ghahasik pa ng kasinungaling!
    Ang taong nakakaalam ng mabuti at hindi ginawa ay masahol pa sa ignorate!!

  14. Regardless of what Fr. Bulatao said, we can not conclude that the removal of former the former Chief Justice Corona from his post at the SC can’t be a proof of your suspicion that Pres. Aquino the 3rd made a vindictive act. It was the Senate of the Phil that convicted him. Are the senators under the thump of the President?
    In fact, Corona admitted violation of the law which warranted his downfall. The case against Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is another thing. We have to see what will be the conclusion of the case before we can make any judgment as to whether PNoy committed a vengeance.

    • It was a vindictive act, because he bribed the legislators to do his bidding. Even former Chief Justice Puno said that the verdict of the legislators (impeachment and conviction ) could be nullified if it can be proven that the senator judges were not IMPARTIAL (of course, they were not because of the bribe given to them). Besides, non-disclosure of some items in the SALN is not an impeachable offense.

      You see, the Abnoy was never in his right mind because all it is filled with is revenge. HE WHOM THE GODS WISH TO DESTROY, THEY MAKE HIM MAD FIRST! And right now, the Abnoy is confirmedly MAD.

    • ..and what was the “driving force” behind the majority decision of the Senate? Patriotism? That will be something for you to contemplate perhaps…

    • ferdinand Micos on

      oo nga mga senators ang nag impeach kay corona pero binusalan sila ng pera netong nakaupong presidente

  15. In some comments I wrote earlier, I already expressed my conviction that the Abnoy sought power before 2010 not because he was concerned about the people and wanted to govern them justly and with charity in his heart. Far from it, he wanted to exact his revenge. I did not realize this is what Jesuit psychologist Fr. Jaime Bulatao wrote also in the psychiatric report of the young 19 year-old Benigno S. Aquno III .

    So this confirms that really this young Aquino is not of sound mind and has no business occupying the highest office. The menace of his vindictive rule is already spreading. Will not a country of intelligent minds and a determined people not be able to stop this presidential malevolence?

    • Pnoy could be a depressed autistic mind who’s got a one-track and stubborn thinking or obsesses soon of things that challenges him. The more he got challenge, the more confrontational and hard-headed he gets amounting to a vindictive and exposing his revengeful character. I definitely think some “screws” in his brain are loose and need psychiatric guidance and treatment.

    • His entire outlook and purpose in life is all filtered in that aspect of vengeance. Mix in incompetence, stupidity and aversion to hard work its no wonder he’s a crap of a leader.

    • Blame the LIberal party for this. This party has no principle at all. For allowing PNOY as their candidate. THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE LIBERAL PARTY ARE ONLY AFTER OF THEIR
      PERSONAL GAINS, NO MORE.

    • Correct. But voters are decieved by Matuwind na Daan. Now a Matuwid na Daan to the pocketss of plunderers.

      Now our problem is how to get rid of PNoy before his term ends?