Manolo Quezon is #TheExplainer Newsletter — Issue #12: Omens and Portents “When an Aquino dies…”

Omens and Portents

The passing of the former president lead to many variations on the thought. “When an Aquino dies…” We are a people and a nation who believe in omens and portents and where the mighty and the powerless all traffic in methods to try to court or deflect the inscrutable interventions of the Fates.

Raqndy David’s Sunday column

A new starting line for 2022

What the unexpected passing of the former president did, was derail the current narratives that were being cultivated.

A funeral wreath of bullets

There is no coincidence in politics, some argue. So when the President, during remarks in the Police National Headquarters, said friendly vigilantes should be armed, you can be sure he knew it would galvanize his supporters. More than that: it aggressively expands not just the implicated but deepens their ties to the President firming up and expanding his constituency going into an electoral battle with the highest stakes not just for him but all his people. It is their response to three days of disruption.

Failed reframing

The President’s proposal came at the heels of efforts to frame the passing of the former president, as the ultimate, final repudiation of the Aquinos and the democratic center; all sorts of angles were pursued but the one that ended up being most noticed was the allegation the former President had been neglected and then used to political purposes. Efforts were made to soq intrigue about the manner of his death.

A Continuation Campaign is the hardest of all

In our presidential politics, reelection or continuation by a chosen successor only seems to work very rarely (Quezon, 1941, Marcos, 1969), Aquino (1992), and equally so, only for those who died in office: so it worked for Roxas (1946), for Quirino (1949), and Garcia (1957) in the wake of the deaths of Quezon (1944), Roxas (1948), and Magsaysay (1957), respectively, when the latter two, in particular, were widely expected to be successful in obtaining reelection. A case might be made that it was also as a successor that Benigno S. Aquino III ran and won in the wake of his mother’s death, but as it did for Osmeña, Quirino (1953), Garcia (1961), Macapagal (1965) most presidents failed in re-election bids, while Ramos and Arroyo failed in getting their chosen successors elected.

Additional Readings

What this means then is the electoral pendelum could still swing one way or another. In which of two possible directions? The presentation below outlines the possibilities. It’s from 2010, but remains valid in many ways.

President Aquino’s imperfection — OUR GUY IN GENEVA

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Manuel L. Quezon III

Manuel L. Quezon III

Columnist, Philippine Daily Inquirer. Editor-at-large Views strictly mine. I have a newsletter, blog, podcast, and Patreon.