One of the biggest ironies in contemporary Philippine politics is the one-track mindedness of the yellow army – a euphemism for those doggedly devoted to Corazon Cojuangco-Aquino, her son Benigno Aquino III and the discredited and unlamented Liberal Party. The term includes left-leaning strategic allies of the yellow army who share a strong displeasure for the late President Ferdinand Marcos and his family.
Although the yellow army claims to defend constitutional rights, it has in mind only the constitutional rights of its cadres. This group has absolutely no tolerance for the constitutional rights of anyone who opposes them and their views.
For the yellow army, Mrs. Aquino can do no wrong.
Anniversaries relating to Mrs. Aquino’s birth or death, or anniversaries relating to her husband ex-Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. and those marking the 1986 EDSA Revolt are marked with pro-Aquino activities, as well as the dissemination of pro-Aquino propaganda in the news media.
The anti-Aquino groups did not complain against those pro-Aquino activities because they are in accord with the constitutional rights of free speech and press freedom.
As president, Mrs. Aquino placed all agrarian estates in the Philippines under her Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law, except the Cojuangco family’s crown jewel in Tarlac, the Hacienda Luisita. It was virtually exempted from agrarian reform through an intricate corporate strategy that seemed legal on its face – until the Supreme Court (SC) disallowed it decades later during the time of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
The anti-Aquino groups did not complain against that brazen use of political power by Mrs. Aquino because they were willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, because the SC did not yet rule on the issue.
In 2012, President Benigno Aquino III stage-managed the impeachment and removal from office of Chief Justice Corona – an obvious reprisal for the High Court ruling on the fate of Hacienda Luisita.
The anti-Aquino groups did not protest Corona’s ouster because his removal was in accord with the Constitution.
On the other hand, how does the yellow army react to activities they dislike?
Fulfilling his campaign promise to the sovereign Filipino voters who elected him in 2016, President Rodrigo Duterte authorized the burial of the late President Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
The yellow army protested the burial. For them, their anti-Marcos bias must prevail over the will of the sovereign electorate in whom, according to the Constitution, all government authority emanates.
In September 2017, the family and friends of President Marcos celebrated the birth centennial of the late President at his grave at the Libingan.
The yellow army tried to enter the Libingan to create trouble even if the Marcos celebration was an activity protected under the free speech and freedom of assembly clauses of the Constitution.
Earlier this year, Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno was ousted from office by the SC in a quo warranto proceeding initiated by the Solicitor General.
The yellow army branded Sereno’s ouster as a threat to judicial independence and as a prelude to dictatorship, even if a quo warranto proceeding against a sitting chief justice is authorized under the Constitution and under the law.
Patricia Fox, a politicized Australian nun who actively participated in anti-government rallies in violation of the conditions of her missionary visa, was recently deported by the government. The yellow army sided with the nun, despite her having abused the hospitality of the host government.
In November this year, the Sandiganbayan convicted former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos of graft, a bailable offense. As expected, Mrs. Marcos posted bail and appealed her case to the High Court. Under the Constitution, Mrs. Marcos has the right to post bail while her case is on appeal.
Despite the foregoing considerations, the yellow army demanded the immediate incarceration of Mrs. Marcos. In contra-distinction, the yellow army insists on the immediate release of Leila de Lima, an anti-government senator currently detained at Camp Crame for a non-bailable crime.
Last October, Luigi Biraogo, a Sangguniang Kabataan chairman in Biñan, Laguna accompanied Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos in her tour of factories in the province. Governor Marcos was studying a plan to increase employment opportunities for Laguna residents and Biraogo was there to support the move. Red-leaning allies of the yellow army staged a protest because the governor is the daughter of the late President Marcos. Good grief!