Mabini Letters: Divisive Lucrative Politics

A senator slash actor slash tv host had just instructed his party, a group he co-leads with the former prez, to go to “war” because the seating president insist on filing graft charges against the ex-presidential son (and some of their kapartido), now a representante for the security guards (I’m not sure if they even know that) in the camara de representates. Alarmed that the present administration is bent on taking all of them down, mighty Pepeng Aguimat Jr moves to defend the poor Congressman.


It is our misfortune that we have such leaders. Instead of thinking about the wellbeing of a suffering public , opt to act in favor of their own selfish interest.

Why would you save from harm a corrupt man? Because by doing so you protect what hides behind your closet – you know, the skeletons and secrets that must be kept away.

Let these crooks defend themselves from accusations of graft – let them be humiliated for their greediness in front of the public – lawyering for these thieves is not an elected officials, or a political party’s function. Issues like education and the ever increasing cost of living, can wait for these politicians but not protecting their loot and reputacion. They who would rather defend their dishonesty than do anything good for their country.

But of course, easier said than done – the biggest criminals, the most corrupt politicos, always escape prosecution. Worst, and this is familiar to see today, disgraced politicos charged with pilfering millions watch their childrens and relatives get voted back to power as if they’re the only people that can be elected. We have yet to figure out a remedio for this case of terrible amnesia.

Where are we headed with these men disguised as leaders – our economy and our future, if we keep voting for these payasos, is headed to the slaughter house!

I can’t stop thinking about Apolinario Mabini when I hear news like this. A man who had the unpleasant experience as the second man in command, to see his country, disintegrate from American demands right before his very eyes. The first republic was lost because a great number of politicians started to the recognize the benefits of being “under”  than winning freedom.

The people who wanted  no more trouble, the rich politicos, appeared to have abruptly retracted support to continue fighting for an independent government. At this time, autonomistas were already preparing to strike a deal with the Norteamericanos while the revolutions poor sons and daughters, together with their admirable battle commanders (typically from the ilustrado and burgiouse class) continue to die in the war fields around the country.

Because he refuse to side with those who wanted to do away with fighting, Mabini, grudgingly retired his post.

“My character is not suited to the restless life of the politician – a lief that I have led only out of necessity”, said Mabini after turning over his post to Paterno. This was around the time when many, especially the “comfort loving people”, the “rich and cultured of Manila” that was “so well represented among the powers that be” had already gone soft, opting to “Surrender unconditionally” to the demands of the Americans.

Even during the early years of the first republic, politicians played the political game as if the only thing at stake are their personal interests. Sadly, more than a century later, not much has changed – ang dami, halos karamihan ng politico ngayon ganito pa din, sarili lang ang iniisip.

Those who went to the side of the Americans, wanting to preserve their interest than fight, Mabini had this to say, “people who lose heart after a few months of fighting are only good to carry the yoke of slavery”. He might as well have said this to the succedding generations of Filipinos who today are still slaves to money and power. If we are to win against corruption in this land, we could not afford to be light handed on those who committ crime against the Filipino people. If we jail pickpocket crooks and sneaky cellphone snatchers, lets apply the same to those who made miliions from the kaban ng bayan.

Life would have been easier for this Mabini  he just sided and work with the rich folks whose influence could have sustained him for life. And even better, if he accepted American rule, he could have ended with a high appointment in the justice department or some other post suitabe for his genius but his true patriotism and amor propio would not allow him to act like his contemporary leaders. His uncompromising and relentless belief against accepting a foreign power to run the affairs of his country is what I truly admire about him.

He was a very simple man and this could be attributed to his peasant background. He was never comfortable with the comforts of life. If he was never gifted with a “ginintuang ulo” he would have been a farmer back in his hometown. I remember his granddaughter telling me that the americana (a gift from a friend) he wore in his wake was also the suit he wore in his photo portraits and other special occasions. That was his entire couture right there – he never found a need for fancy clothes.

Our present politicos, those who study history, probably read the great Mabini. They look at his life and imagined what life would be after they leave office – if they don’t grab whilst they can they’ll end up like him – penniless. So they enrich themselves while they seat in their ivory towers pretending to be leaders.

Mabini’s uncompromising position,his refusal to consent to the “absurd demands” of an invading empire was the reason why this patriot was relegated, by the Yankees and their Filipino allies, to the sidelines. Worst, even after his death, the rich Filipinos whom he attacked and criticized in his writings, stirred spiteful rumours about the real cause of his death (and thanks to that fat and balding national artist, a historian wannabe who added more fuel to the  dirty chismis against the poor paralytic).

If it was any consolation for Mabini, he was more fortunate because the other person that denounced the “surrender” , Antonio Luna, lost his head. He was more radical in his view. He called the Filipino leaders who were ditching the revolutionary government for a puppet one as “traidores”. He threatened to imprison all leaders that would deal with the Americans.

The only man who could have created the conditions for a protracted war was eliminated, by who? There are theories out there that draw different conclusions – and this is for another article. Let me get to Cabanatuan first, maybe the spirit of Don Antonio Luna would disclose the true reason behind his assasination!


5 responses to “Mabini Letters: Divisive Lucrative Politics

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