Playing with Fire

Using the dead for politics

By Gonzalo Duque

NECROPOLITICS rearing its ugly head here!

You know, when  I attended the wake of former Mayor Benjie Lim, Tony Uy was very good to me. Being the manager of the Eternal Gardens (or, is he?), he brought me near the coffin.

As I was about to leave after wishing the dead to rest in peace, I whispered to Celia that I will vote for her as councilor. Her reply to me was short. “Do not vote for me anymore as councilor. Just vote for my son, Brian Lim.”

I could not respond to that to say I won’t vote for Brian in deference to the wake being held.

My intention in telling her that I wanted to vote for her was well-intentioned.  And since I could not vote for Brian Lim, I might as well not vote for her! Celia might not have understood my intention that as her compadre— being the baptismal sponsor of my daughter Pebbles — my choice is really just to vote for her.

As far as Brian is concerned, it is a totally different story. Why? Because in launching his  candidacy, he used many ‘operatives’ to discredit and malign Mayor Belen Fernandez.

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Just when I was about to leave, I couldn’t believe myself that Lina Tan would engage in political demolition of Mayor Belen Fernandez in public, mincing no words thrashing Belen, which unfortunately was seconded by my friend Tony Uy.

Sana si Lina, regardless of her negative thoughts about Belen, must bear in mind that it was Belen who extended help to her brother Nic Melecio when he suffered a stroke. Remember, Nic was many years a consultant of Belen.

Lina may not know Belen’s act of kindness towards her brother. (I was informed that Belen continues to support Nic till today). Yon, sana maalala man lang ni Sister Lina and temper her language of hatred towards Belen.  Many people are peeved hearing her talk ill of the mayor na tumutulong sa kapatid niya.

Lina supported me before as a candidate for congressman against Joe deV . Lina was still alright then! Level-headed.

Then there was Robert Erfe Mejia at the wake. He was more friendly and civil towards me. But Congressman-wannabe Redford Erfe Mejia completely ignored me, as if I was not around, until his attention was called by his father, Robert.

I’m afraid necropolitics is very much in the hearts of the supporters of the former mayor, Benjie Lim.

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Let us talk necropolitics for a while.

This word means that the living would take advantage of the good memories of the dead, by using the dead to promote their political interests. It means, the corpse of a dead person (kawawa naman siya) is being used by his kin to boost his bid for a public office, because he knows pretty well, he cannot stand alone on his own merits, aware of his own shortcomings.

This is good if the ones who died, like, Ninoy and Cory, were all martyrs for the sake of freedom and democracy. In the case of Jessie Robredo, he had an unsullied reputation as a public servant, which may have helped his wife Leni win the vice presidency by the closest of margin against Bongbong Marcos.

I cannot say the same thing for Benjie Lim. It is because right after THE PUNCH bannered a  story that a civil case was filed in court against him and his co-conspirator Jose Mariano Cuña in a bid to force them to return the P16 million spent by the city for a dump site in San Jacinto, that was laced with graft and corruption, his family announced his demise. 

Was this coincidental? Many were asking.

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