Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Legacy: How do you want to be remembered?

In the not too distant future, expect to see some of those prominent names in the gallery of Congress in the obituary page of your favorite newspaper. Most of Philippine democracy's veteran fighters are ageing. Some have faded into oblivion, while others continue to serve us, albeit, without us really appreciating their work. Others, well, they all went away, either due to sickness (most Senators die of cancer) or old age.

Senate president Juan Ponce-Enrile is now 85 years old. Senator Joker Arroyo turned 82 last January 5. While last termer Senator Aquilino Pimentel is turning 76 by December.

Former president Fidel Valdes Ramos just turned 82, a tad younger than Enrile last March 18. These men figured prominently in our history for the last twenty years, all ran and won the confidence of the Filipino People after EDSA Uno.

Enrile and Ramos both launched the coup that changed Filipino history. Arroyo and Pimentel served under the revolutionary government after sacrificing their very futures just to uphold democracy. Most of their contemporaries have either faded to retirement (former Vice President Teofisto Guingona is one) while others, well, already died.

All of them are heroes. They continually hold the trust and confidence of the people simply because of their sterling record of public service. They all mouth the same desire for change. Yet, in all of those twenty years after EDSA uno, nothing has ever changed.

I wonder if these people ever think of going to a beach or a mountain and contemplate on what people would say as eulogies.

Will Enrile be remembered for his role as the defense secretary who defected to the other side at the last minute or will he be remembered for his staunch campaign against telecommunications companies?

How about Joker? Will people remember him as that fiery human rights lawyer of old who defended the defenseless and weak or his present role as an apologist of Mrs. Arroyo?

And speaking about Pimentel, how would he like to be remembered? As that strong-willed mayor of a town in faraway Mindanao or that senator who defended Senator Manny Villar against attacks by another colleague?

Lastly, how does FVR want to be remembered? As the general who jumped for joy after seeing his cousin leave office or the former head of state who nearly brought back the old glory of the Motherland? Or that ex-president who enjoys the tag as the most travelled one or a former head of state who stood his ground against forces critical of Mrs. Arroyo and even condoned the sins of this administration?

These men are, as they say, in their last days on earth. Will people be sad or happy? Will people curse them for promising much yet delivering so little? Or, will the People mourn their passing?

For Filipinos, Legacy is such a brutal word. Since the Legacy scandal broke out, Filipinos now see this word in a very bad light. What are the legacies of our present leaders? Are their legacies like those broken promises of Celso de los Angeles? It seems like it.