Benigno Aquino III was a well-meaning, fairly competent product of this time and place. What he was not was a tyrant. Neither was he a brusquely anti-human rights, grossly incompetent and abusive poor excuse for a president and head of State.
The use of unaccountable State violence has always been at issue in these isles of fear. But never has it been as widespread and as openly sanctioned than today. During past administrations except that of Ferdinand Marcos’, there was at least enough lip service paid to respect for human rights and the rule of law for the police and military to think twice before killing a crime suspect — or a political activist, a human rights defender, or regime critic. Although abuses did happen even then, they were often condemned even by government spokespersons. No President ever disparaged human rights and its defenders either.
To offset the regime’s advantage in resources, the independent press and media must provide preferential time and space to the pro-democracy opposition forces given the edge in advertising and online reach of the Duterte camp.
No trace of either Nene Pimentel’s or Ninoy Aquino’s progressive, anti-authoritarian legacy, which once distinguished it from other political formations, remains in PDP-Laban today.