Reconciliation

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    ‘The hard lessons from President Cory Aquino’s presidency that was besieged by a series of bloody coup attempts should remind Robredo of the political expediency and deeper meaning of reconciliation…’

    VICE President Leni Robredo is wary of several congressmen and government officials lately trooping to her office in Quezon City as it seems to be a regular move of turn-coatism during a possible government turnover. Her predecessors have welcomed it, relishing the new-found political following and realignments.

    Robredo hardly encourages the probable exodus and President Duterte should point his fingers at the real threats to his hold on political power, instead of forcing another demolition job against her. That the political dynasties still rule the legislature is an imposition by both tradition and history that she cannot challenge openly.

    After threatening to abolish the House of Representatives President Duterte had instead decided to turn their terribly-fragile political loyalties and their disregard for self-respect into an abundant opportunity for his administration. Any legislative agenda does not matter much to the congressmen provided they are amply supplied with pork barrel funds and firm assurances of vested and political entrenchment. And they think they can revive the trust of the people the same way.

    The past few months have shown the shocking extent of subservience by close to 300 representatives of the people on two major issues that once again exhibited that true democratic representation is a sham.

    If she goes on to take the reins, Robredo will lead a country in turmoil caused by the crippling health crisis and the equally paralyzing government response, along with an economy in near shambles. She faces a hostile military and national police pampered by the President himself, whose loyalties, unlike the politicians’, would not easily be lost.

    The hard lessons from President Cory Aquino’s presidency that was besieged by a series of bloody coup attempts should remind Robredo of the political expediency and deeper meaning of reconciliation before she reaps the ravages of a new administration hungry for a payback.

    ***
    Nelson Mandela was the chief example of genuine reconciliation in modern history. While South Africa was primed for a civil war after his victory as its first black president, he did the last thing his advisers and political followers wanted – he reconciled with his tormentors and those of the majority of the people. He refused to remove the country’s top military and police officials as well as the government’s economic and business leaders, all of whom had championed apartheid for almost a century. He would say removing them and replacing them with blacks would worsen the intense social and political conflict.

    He was one of its primary victims – suffering for 27 years in prison as a leader of a national dissident movement while several of his friends and followers were tortured and killed. And Mandela left his people with an extraordinary example of unifying a divided nation – he rallied them behind the white national rugby team, a cellar-dweller, which for the first time in their history won the World Cup. The championship games with Australia and New Zealand so electrified both the blacks and whites that they danced on the streets together and packed the stadium side by side with each other. The incredible episodes were turned into an award-winning movie titled “Invictus” that starred Morgan Freeman and Matt Damon and was directed by Clint Eastwood.

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