The peasant-born Apolinario Mabini, whose 150th birth anniversary passed last Wednesday with few being even aware of it, was one of the two greatest intellectuals produced by the reform and revolutionary periods in Philippine history.
Mabini, who by dint of hard work became a lawyer by the time he was 30, has not received the recognition he deserves, although he belongs in the same company as Jose Rizal. True, those hideous clichés that describe him as “The Brains of the Revolution” and even worse, as “The Sublime Paralytic,” regularly fall from the lips of schoolboys and the clueless creatures who pass for government officials in the country of our despair, but the reality is that very few Filipinos are familiar with, much less appreciative of, the unique role he played in the making of the Filipino national community and in defining the philosophical and historical bases of the Philippine Revolution.
Former Senator Joker Arroyo, who was his mother’s executive secretary, called him an “evil genius” for his supposedly creative use of Article 39 of the 1987 Administrative Code of the Philippines to justify the Disbursement Allocation Program, in the process marking the first time that Benigno Aquino III has ever been so referred to by either epithet.
A genius, after all, Mr. Aquino is not, his record as both member of Congress and as President not being particularly bright, and DAP itself being the brainchild of his Budget Secretary Florencio Abad. If comparisons must be made with the Presidents of his real boss, the USA, he’s no Abraham Lincoln, but more like a Ronald Reagan, who knew at least one thing: how to communicate, and how to make people think they’re getting roses while he was handing out thorns.
Philippine fraternities or Greek letter societies are the local versions of similar organizations in the United States, in the universities and colleges of which fraternities (men-only organizations), sororities (societies that accept only women) and mixed-gender groups are recognized, except in those institutions where they are explicitly banned.
Malacañang sources say the administration isn’t lobbying for the Nobel Peace Prize for Benigno Aquino III, and we should take them at their word. But if they are indeed lobbying for it, and today being Mendicancy—sorry, “Philippine-American Friendship”—Day, they should enlist US support for it, to at least test whether all that bowing and scraping before Washington has paid off.