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That Is Our Destiny

March 04, 2011 12:29:00
Jose Ma. Montelibano

When one day we look back, moments in our history will shine quite brightly above the rest. These are the highlights which define the best of us, when that which is noble and courageous find expression or life in individuals, people and events. We already are familiar with some of them. They are in our history books, the Rizals, Bonifacios, Mabinis and their ilk. Or, even earlier, from myths and legends which depict the refinery of our values as a race and the heroism of pre-Hispanic personalities who represented them. These special moments serve especially to usher or be themselves the face of change.

Today is one such moment. It is not about March of 2011, it is about a moment where March of 2011 is part of. History beyond our present lives will ultimately decide when to define the beginning and end of this moment. One thing is clear, though. This moment features People Power as the grand spirit that gave it life, that change and evolution used as the main character of a historical script. Great moments, and this is one, cannot be contained in the territorial boundaries of one country. Great moments find expressions around the world.

How especially fortuitous that People Power emerged first in the Philippines. As it thrilled the world as the first peaceful revolution that ousted a dictatorship shown live on global television, all of us here and its audience everywhere thought it was a Philippine experience, miraculous but only a Philippine experience. It was not. Soon enough, in a matter of a few years, People Power found its way to Easter Europe and South Africa. Not that soon, but clearly part of this special moment, People Power has disturbed Tunisia and Egypt and is disturbing more countries in the Middle East. I personally believe it will not stop there, that People Power will find its way to the hearts and minds of more people and countries before its moment is over.

As the second cycle of People Power shocks a global audience, it also reappears in the Philippines in its second stage of disturbance. Just when many had become blind, or remained so, about the noble purpose of a social and political revolution that has stunned human consciousness and traditions, People Power reappears to pursue its mission of empowerment to peoples long enslaved in corrupt mindsets and practices. Empowerment, too, begins with awareness of the truth and this truth is the engine of a journey from darkness to light, from immorality to nobility, from fear and cowardice to heroism. It is the journey, too, of our race, seeking our identity beyond a conquered people, beyond a blighted country, beyond our captivity to corruption and poverty, to what we can be as a people of respect and honor representative of the talents inherent in us and the awesome wealth that is our national patrimony.

How particularly interesting it should be for the historians of tomorrow, and inspiring to many Filipinos who still remember, that the assassination of one Ninoy Aquino cleared the path to leadership of the most unexpected Filipino, his own wife, Corazon or Cory to her people and the world who would soon know her. The miracle of Edsa People Power unfolded to anoint to the presidency what a rigged election by a desperate dictatorship tried to steal from the Filipino people. Destiny has its own way of spectacular drama when it chooses, when it has a special lesson to teach the world. The death of the martyr, Ninoy, signaled the decision of destiny to use Cory Aquino as its first main historical figure in the unfolding of People Power.

How much more obvious, then, did the hand of destiny reveal itself when it used the death of Cory Aquino to anoint the most unexpected of Filipino politicians to the presidency - her own son, Noynoy? One death in 1983 led to a new presidency in 1986. One death in 2009 led to a new presidency in 2010. But destiny, when sensed, is often misunderstood. Yes, destiny chose Cory, not Ninoy, denied one who sought the presidency and installed one who had no ambition for it. But destiny did not choose Cory to pamper and honor her; instead, destiny invited her to walk the path of heroes, to honor the mission of nobility, to open the doors of freedom for the people. The Filipino people were priority to destiny over the life of one Filipino. But when she honored destiny, destiny honored her back.

From Cory to Noynoy. Obviously, People Power has not fulfilled its mission. And events around the world show this to be so. Noynoy, now P-Noy, is not destined to be pampered and honored - except to the eyes of those who salivate for the presidency but have been denied it. P-Noy, too, is invited to walk the path heroes, to rescue his people from the corruption that has become endemic and a poverty that shames Filipinos and dishonors a collective destiny. It is not an economic agenda that challenges P-Noy, it is noble spirit of caring for the least of us that he must be a champion for. Economists are dime a dozen. Champions are rare, heroes even rarer.

The legacy of a family that has been destined is not its honor, unless that honor is earned by the love and gratitude of the people that destiny itself serves. The love and gratitude of a people, after freedom has been restored to the society, is then grounded on their empowerment, on their enlightenment. The task then is not over, and must be understood in its depth. Even when leaders fail, even when the choices of destiny fail, the Filipino people must not. That is People Power. That is our destiny.

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