Tuesday, October 13, 2015
The story goes that Levi Celerio, the great lyricist and leaf flutist, composed the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) theme in the toilet of a restaurant and got paid handsomely and immediately for it. The word "bago" and its derivatives are repeated seven times in the music set to elegant march. Yes, I counted them while singing every word of the song before I wrote the preceding sentence, which is either a testament to a middle aged lawyer's alcohol-ravaged but surviving memory or the timelessness of the enduring and memorable musical hook. Considering that Levi was eventually awarded as a National Artist, I suppose it is more of the second. It's been more than 43 years since KBL became a political byword, and it has gone full circle from conception, installation, disposition, and resurrection. With the election of Senator FM, Jr. as senator, the stage has been set for its re-establishment. I told a group of anti-Marcos friends that FM Jr. is not the same as the Sr., neither in brilliance nor audacity, and the old World War II buddies and cronies of Sr. have all gone to the great beyond. Thus, it is a fallacy to think that the re-establishment of KBL under FM, Jr. would bring us back to the same regime of FM Sr., Imelda and Enrile, who slowly but surely are pushing on to retirement, notwithstanding. Looking back, the nation has been so kind as to afford the Marcoses a chance for retribution and redemption after driving them out of power. Many world dictators and their families met violent ends in ways that demonstrate the ruthlessness of humanity. Yet, we are not that kind of people, and there are legacies of the KBL that could still hold out on their own versus the post-1986 Presidents. Thus, FM, Jr.'s decision to put himself as a candidate for Vice-President is a chance for the nation to evaluate how far we have gone since KBL was disposed. And perhaps, we would know if we have moved on if the KBL is no longer the standard by which we judge our governments. Meanwhile, let me start by saying that so far no political jingle post-1986 can equal that timeless Kilusang Bagong Lipunan theme. Levi Celerio deserved every peso of his pay.