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Inter-Asia Cultural Studies


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Postnational family/postfamilial nation: family, small town and nation talk in Marcos and Brocka
Rolando B. TOLENTINO Available online: 10 Dec 2010

To cite this article: Rolando B. TOLENTINO (2003): Postnational family/postfamilial nation: family, small town and nation talk in Marcos and Brocka, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, 4:1, 77-92 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1464937032000060221

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Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, Volume 4, Number 1, 2003

Postnational family/postfamilial nation: family, small town and nation talk in Marcos and Brocka
Rolando B. TOLENTINO
Under martial law, everything is relative. You have to be related. (Manila joke, circa 1978) The family gures prominently in Philippine business. As of 1992, only 80 corporations out of the countrys top 1000 were publicly listed; most companies are actually gloried family corporations. Securities and Exchange Commissioner, Rosario Lopez notes that Filipinos seem to prefer relatives as partners and shareholders. (Lopez 1992; McCoy 1994: 8) In the language of Philippine politics under Marcos, vocabularies of the family abound in family business conjugal dictatorship, nepotism, godfather, godson, First Family, father and mother of the nation, etc. Taking off from their propaganda machineries, the couple utilized their children to mimic the national leadership: When the First Lady launched her Green Revolution, she took children with her to plant vegetables. And when a sh scare hit the country the First Family had a meal consisting of seafood, thereby calming the peoples fears (Department of Public Information 1975: 92). Furthermore, the childrens functions were gender specic: Bongbong often opens athletic meets and usually throws the rst ball in the little leagues. Imee and Irene frequently act as hostesses in important charity affairs (Department of Public Information 1975: 92). The First Couple politicized the familys function and, since they were late entrants in the national arena, they sought to construct their own political dynasty. In time however, the dictatorship would also enforce a counter-move of fragmenting families by institutionalizing the massive migration of Filipino labour for much needed foreign currency. The family, like the nation, has ceased to exist as a coherent entity. And similar to the nation, the family exists only in imagined fragments and essence. A further connection between family, community and nation can be made. The sexual dynamics of the family can serve as a register of the politics of community or the small town, which in turn, is a microcosm of the nations political dynamics. Community, however, differs from nation in the more localized and specic fashion in which the formation is imagined. While the nation evokes macro-afliations, the community denotes micro-associations. In this essay, however, I will critique the constructions of family and nation based on positive unoriginality, one that reects, instead of refracting, a faulty paradigm through the prism of local colour and contexts. While analysis of the familial in national history or national family presents new folds in the operations of the insular plane, it does so without problematizing the very premise on which the nation and family have been constructed and have developed in more recent history and geography. The family has been constituted in terms of social origin and association, whether through natural or legal imperatives; the nation has been constructed in terms of its coherent function as an analogue to the nation-state. In this sense, a legal and natural reductionism is being put in place as family and nation becomes the focus of study. I propose the use of postnational and postfamilial in the analysis of insular cultural politics, the kind of parochial handling and interiorized sense-making operation of national issues. Benedict Andersons nation moves its construction beyond the social science regime, into a poststructuralist terrain that makes possible the imagination of nation even when it does
ISSN 1464-9373 Print/ISSN 1469-8447 Online/03/01007716 2003 Taylor & Francis Ltd DOI: 10.1080/1464937032000060221

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78 Rolando B. Tolentino
not exist (Anderson 1983). The family in the late capitalist period has also entered this terrain, making equally possible the imagination of other forms of ties beyond blood and legal relations that bind individuals to, and people with, each other. Blood is no longer necessarily thicker than water. Yet incest remains to provide an idiom to discuss the imagined lial and national ties in the insular plane using other familial formations of Marcos crony capitalism and Imeldas Blue Ladies. Part of the apotheoses of the Marcos couple, these groups construct the hegemonic registers of the nation which, in turn, can be used to locate sites of resistance. Where these groups are loud and publicity conscious, the larger population would use the political joke and gossip as counter-registers of their reactions to the hegemonic spheres of the dictatorship. I will use two small town lms by Lino Brocka, with a 12-year interval, Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang (Weighed But Found Wanting, 1974) and Miguelito Batang Rebelde (Miguelito The Young Rebel, 1986) to illustrate the notion of revelation in these tactics of resistance.

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Incestuous love: family, small town, nation I must confess that once upon a time his family and my family were oligarchs. But we are reformed oligarchs . The Romualdez family has been in ofce for many years, and thank God there is a family that is willing to serve the country . Thank God they know how to make money. Otherwise, if Marcos did not have money before, what experience would he have to make this country prosper? The United States is ashamed it is rich. Why should we be ashamed? We have some gifted members of the family. Good. They want to serve the people. Wonderful. (Imelda Romualdez Marcos, interview in Newsweek 13 September 1982) I told [them] the situation in which we are the fact that we are now ghting for survival; that whether I retire or not our family is in danger of liquidation from either the communists or our political enemies; that if I retire I would be forced to ght for our lives because the communists are growing stronger and would be much stronger without me as President; rather than ght a defensive or losing battle later, I would rather ght now by taking over the government by a proclamation of Martial Law; but that such a proclamation would succeed if the people are with us and the people will be with us if the new government is a reform government and we are all exemplars of the new society; so they, the children, must so conduct themselves that they will not antagonize the people. (Ferdinand E. Marcos, diary entry on talk with his children before declaring martial law, 1972; William C. Rempel 1993: 166) The state recognizes the family as the basic unit of society, one that initializes the socialization of adults and children to the service of institutional and national objectives. Friedrich Engels historical study of the family hinges on the institution of monogamy in marriage that gives rise to the state and its function of hold [ing] class antagonisms in check (Engels 1978: 750). Through the forging of the dominance of man and indissolubility of marriage, the will and inheritance secures the interest of the ruling class and its male heir. For if Marx says The rst division of labour is that between man and woman for child breeding, Engels extends this by stating, The rst class antagonism which appears in history coincides with the development of the antagonism between man and woman in monogamian marriage, and the rst class oppression with that of the female sex by the male (Engels 1978: 739). Family, after all, comes from the Roman word famulus, meaning household slave and familia, meaning the totality of slaves belonging to one individual (Engels 1978: 737). While Engels was aware of the presence of the female subject, he reied the mode of production paradigm, which subsumes womens issues solely under class analysis.

Postnational family/postfamilial nation 79 The primordial value invested by the state in the family is never to be underestimated. In the 1986 Philippine Constitution, the family is the sacred oracle of national life: The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution (Republic of the Philippines 1986: 3; McCoy 1994: 7). An Anarchy of Families (1994), an anthology of essays on the leading political gures of family dynasties in the Philippines, reafrms this basic national principle (McCoy 1994: 7). The editors introduction The Historiography of State and Family in the Philippines, presents the point of writ[ing] Philippine national history from the vantage of the leaders of specic families that have played a dominant role in national or provincial politics, or from within a micro-historical perspective of individual families (McCoy 1994: 25). What remains privileged in this writing is still the national history, and how micro-historical perspectives only seek to reafrm such a vantage position. While attempting to further the engagement by the small coterie of professional historians, many of them self-conscious nationalists [who] have dismissed the countrys elite as politically treasonous or socially insignicant, the essays foreground political families as integral to the shaping of national history as written from the vantage point of the narrative of the nation-state. The nations history is deemed as an analogue of the Philippine nation-states (failed) coming into being. Furthermore, in invoking self-conscious nationalist historians without any contexts on the history of historical writing in the Philippines, the editor reies local writings as doubly awed both in their inability to master the macro-narrative of the nation-state and as particularly experienced from within. The editors claim to make a familial perspective on national history reduces the nation and family in the traditional sphere, whose intellectualization can only be deciphered through the western study of history. Even the emergence of local studies has unconsciously been grounded on a similar assumption. Anglo-euro-centrism becomes the underlying premise of an emerging discipline called Pilipinolohiya (Filipinology or studies of the Filipino psyche, culture and society), a staunchly indigenous nationalist programme based in the University of the Philippines-Diliman. Premised on the assumption that ang pagka-Pilipino ay bunga ng karanasang Pilipino (being Filipino arises from the Filipino experience), Pilipinolohiya posits the analysis of the Filipino essence as the crux of study: ang pag-iisip at karanasang Pilipino ay may katangiang kaayusan na dapat lumitaw sa pag-aaral na Pilipino (Filipino psychology and experience have formative characteristics that should be articulated in Filipinology) (Covar 1991: 38, 41). On the one hand, the discipline negates Anglo-euro-centrism as a vital form of cultural imperialist thought. It fails to acknowledge the continuing propensity of new ethnography to binary thinking.1 In preferring the emic over the etic, based on the ethnographers perspective and universal theories respectively, scholars negate the ramications in the reversal made, or the imperial regime that remains governing in the inversion. On the other hand, it subscribes to counter-western thought and methodologies; e.g. data dictate method and not vice versa, and the bogging down of centreperiphery relations. The discipline fails to acknowledge and historicize its indebtedness to critiques within western disciplines that have allowed selfreexivity and inter-disciplinarity to be foregrounded. Formally organized in 1987, Pilipinolohiya has gone the way of exploring the Filipino indigenous, an entity or body of knowledge of what can be developed as the Filipino national culture. This latter term is dened as hindi suma o total ng lahat ng daloy at batis, kundi yaong bagong himig at anyo ng pinagyamang pambansang kaisipan, kultura at lipunan (Not as the sum or total of all the ows and wellsprings, but the new content and form of the enriched national psychology, culture and society) (Covar 1991: 43). Ambiguously positioned, Pilipinolohiya is constructed as an indigenization that reacts directly on two fronts: western epistemology and its place in the Philippines. As such, it provides a space for the object of study to be recongured intrinsically, without colonial and imperial imperatives, in order to draw the essential notion of the Philippine nation. While it may be a form of nativism, the discipline also arises out of the historical milieu in academe to nationalize as a way of veering away from its

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80 Rolando B. Tolentino
imperial legacy in ways that interrogated how both the national university was formulated in the US colonial period and how higher education has been so focused on western frameworks. The call for the use of the national language, for more holistic and interdisciplinary approaches, and for indigenous methodologies arises from an effort to decolonize. While I am sympathetic to this cause, it is also necessary to question critically the emerging models of postcolonial studies. While both critiques within discipline and of western thought from an indigenous perspective are attempts to rework hegemonic constructs, these remain problematic in reifying or counter-legitimizing macro-narratives of the nation. The family gures prominently in contending methodologies of the nation. The focus on the family points to the contest for the nations origin. In An Anarchy of Families, the family is organized in a kinship system (the family tree) whose focus is on the nuclear unit; in Pilipinolohiya, the focus is on the extended kinship system. In both cases, the family is primarily constructed vertically, and this construction is premised on blood and legal origin and association. What is omitted from the discussion is the possibility of constructing familial ties horizontally, or the familiar formed through debtgratitude, friendship, homo-social and feminine organizations, etc. This can be likened to Andersons horizontal comradeship in the way disparate individuals are united for a national cause, but it is also distinct from the notion. Horizontal relationships are also gendered experiences, in the ways the male and female subjects differentially experience bonding and desire for inclusion. What late capitalism has done to the family is to fragment the unit of its origin, erode sexual and gender positions among members, and obscure the nation-states privileging of the entity. What results from the institutionalization of migrant work as a source of foreign currency (migrant workers are required to remit a percentage of their income to Philippine nancial institutions) is the feminization of labour. This is because more men leave the national space to work in feminine jobs such as nursing and child-care. Such institutionalization has also resulted in various other effects, such as wives becoming the head of families, spouses and elder siblings taking over the role of the breadwinner, the emergence of multiple income earners within a household, child labour, feminization of migrant work as more women leave to work abroad, sexualized Filipina labour in their emerging role in the sex trade, etc. The family as a cohesive entity lies only in romantic nostalgia. A familiar analysis of the nation moves beyond the traditional bonds of biological and legal relations to the direction of capital and gender play in late capitalism; in other words, a post-familial entity. Furthermore the nation is not only representable through its elite constituency but through other formations whose organization can be read as symptomatic of later movements of capital having ramications on class and gender positions. I will venture into a brief discussion of incest as the idiom that links late capital operations of family, community and nation. While incest has generated the prime narrative of Freudian psychoanalysis, with the Oedipus complex becoming the meta-narrative of the western individuals sexualization and socialization, it also has the potential for material translation. As incest involves narratives of difference, its meaning of intercourse with a family member can be elaborated to explain the logic of the social terrain. This taboo assumes subversive qualities in the crossing-over to the prohibited. However, there are two divergent claims in its use. For the hegemonic culture, incest is a project of social perpetuation. Political and economic marriages, mergers, turncoatism or nepotism, in one way or another, institutionalize poverty as part of the hegemonic activity. Incest has a way of weighing down being at the level of family and national sagas, thus trivializing stories outside the domain of hegemonic culture. It is for this reason that the Marcoses downplayed the issue of human rights violations, seeing these as both integral and antithetical to the New Society. Philippine society, in general, has been dominated by incestuous relationships that maintain the elites hold on land, the economy and politics. The statistics reveals a small number of elite controlling major national interests:

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Postnational family/postfamilial nation 81 The top 5.5 percent of all the land-owning families own 44 percent of all arable land in the country. The richest 15 percent of all families account for 52.5 percent of all the nations income. In 1991, only ten corporations accounted for 40 percent of all net income; and 34 percent of the total assets of the top 1000 corporations. A recent study by the Institute for Popular Democracy showed that only 60 to 100 political clans control all elective positions in the national level. (Almonte 19931994: 112) For the margins, incest equally provides a network system where familiar, parochial, and provincial knowledge is essential for survival itself. The retail system among the margins is based on incestuous knowledge. Buy and sell, a retail trade based on a one-shot commission, can either spell big bucks or waste of effort depending on the middle-persons intimate knowledge of the single buyer and seller. Bakal-bote (steel-bottle) hauling glass and metal recyclables by cart is also staked on a familiar knowledge of individual households willing to sell their used supplies. The notion of suki (regular and familiar customer), with benets of cheaper cost and value added, is based on one sellers knowledge of the buyers preference. Half the success in tawaran (haggling) or utang (credit) rests on similar intimate knowledge. The sari-sari (diversied) store, an emblem in all street corners, is an operation invested in the familiar: prots rest on credit based on knowledge of family members and their backgrounds, and on the ability to sell goods at all prices. Basic commodities such as cooking oil, rice, petro gas, sugar and salt can be sold for any amount requested by the customer. While incest bespeaks of love, it also refers to hatred of the internal environment. This loathing for the interior takes on violence inicted on familiar individuals and spaces. Familiarity [also] breeds contempt. The desire for sex with a family member rests on individuals living closely together; so domestic violence, parricide, infanticide, etc, produce an exteriorization of interior anguish. Freud mentions that the two crimes of Oedipus are mother-incest and parricide. While incest speaks of desire for familiarity, Oedipus parricide is based on non-knowledge of his origin. Thus, as in Freuds diagnosis of obsessive neurosis, the idea I should like to kill you, when freed from its object, basically signies I should like to enjoy you in love (Freud 1966: 344). This rhetoric can be translated into a political manoeuvre, in which familiar knowledge of the other undoes hate into love and tolerance. Familiar knowledge goes beyond blood and legal relations; it involves having an intimate affair with the other, where fair play and respect are vital grounds for this knowledge to thrive. It involves treating the other as familiar, with ties that bind but do not choke like the hold of the western family. Lastly, the race issue pregures in a material translation of incest. For the insular subject, one does not only derive pleasure from the forbidden. The postcolonial subject is already a product of the prohibition, a historical entity constructed in the imperial rape and exchange of the colony, and the continuing pillage by its own elite. Development can be spoken of using the idiom of incest. Incestuous relations operate among imperialists and local elite in the demarcation of areas of inuence and control. The focus of areas is not solely for in-breeding purposes but for constructing spheres of desire, possibly accounting for the uneven application of development. As essays in An Anarchy of Families have shown, each political family does not only have its own geographic sphere of inuence but, more signicantly, within this geography there exists a particular play of desire between oligarchs and their dominion, and oligarchs through generations. I will take this multi-level incestuous operation to examine Marcos use of cronies and Imeldas Blue Ladies as nodes of late capital power relations, where class and gender can be tackled through the deployment of the postnational and postfamilial. Marcos and Imeldas groups produce horizontal family relations, existing in a desire for economic and cultural mobility, respectively. On the national level, these enclosed groups would altogether change the

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82 Rolando B. Tolentino
economic and cultural landscape of the country. Yet the dynamics of these groups are also marked sexually. While both were efforts to gain and perpetuate dictatorial power, Marcoss cronies were composed of afuent henchmen covertly cornering the various cash crop and industrial markets; Imeldas ladies were politicians and military wives and socialites who would provide a retinue for gala events, shopping sprees, and other showcase activities. My contention is that these groups have thrived for so long because the conjugal dictatorship utilized the cultural force of the postnational and postfamilial rather than the iconic operations of the nation and family. For the dictatorship, the constitution of these groups further lent to their apotheoses, constructing a glorious regime through an equally illustrious mythied past. Philippine lm culture is also imbued with incest. Most successful actors come from acting families. Expertise in production is learned though parental tutelage; willing disciples are taken into the custody of seasoned masters. A few families control the vertical monopoly of the industry in terms of production, distribution, and exhibition. Among each other, these families haggle for every show biz prize, from more advantageous playdates to stars and directors. Business in undertaken using the family paradigm. Matriarchal gures abound in the women producers of studio companies: Dona Sisang de Leon of LVN Films, Mama Blas of Lea Productions, Mother Lily of Regal Films, and Mother Seiko of Seiko Films. Business is run as a personal family matter.2 Actors would pose for an annual picture during birthday receptions of the LVN matriarch. They play up their favoured child roles to get cash advances from producers busy playing mahjong or thinking aloud of lm titles that would click with moviegoers. These companies are run with functions centralized in a few matriarchal individuals who decide on all aspects from casting, costumes, publicity, director, writer, caterer, songs, script, lm title, colour motif, to the priest who will ofciate the mass during the rst days shoot. Martial law provided Marcos with the blanket authority to re-circuit the national political and economic terrain. He exempted himself and his allies from litigation for actions undertaken during his regime. He centralized executive powers, and until years after the declaration of martial rule, retained legislative powers. The judiciary and election commissions were composed of political appointments, including the Supreme Court, which validated most of Marcos presidential decrees. The military was politicized to be beholden to the dictatorship. Media operations reopened under the new management headed by Marcoss crony appointees and the close scrutiny by the censorship board and the military. Martial rule was also a matter of consolidating economic power, reconstituting the landscape with a selected segment of the old oligarchy and trusted technocrats. Fortune reports: Marcos principal economic achievement in 15 years in power has been to help his friends and relatives build giant conglomerates (Fortune 27 July 1981; Manapat 1991: 87). Marcoss close circle was composed of technocrats with graduate degrees, mostly from US academe, and friends and relatives privileged with access to huge economic and banking opportunities. He was a willing godfather to the whims of his wards. The godfather function is of great cultural signicance; as national hero Jose Rizal noted, One needs a godfather for everything, from the time one gets baptized to the time one dies, to obtain justice, apply for a passport, or to start any business (Manapat 1991: 98). Marcos banked on the technocrats trained abroad to legitimize the excesses of his regime. Unwittingly, he also invested in the academic capital brought in during the long history of the pensionado system, where children of the local elite were schooled in the US to imbibe and perpetuate American ideals upon their return. Nationalist historian Renato Constantino remarks of the newer generation of trainees: Their thoroughgoing American orientation assures their trainers that in making decisions for this country, they will not stray far from the American point of view. They are the Trojan horses within the policy-making bodies of government and local business (Constantino 1979, 1981). Among Marcoss technocrats were: Prime Minister Cesar Virata (MS in Industrial Management, University of Pennsylvania), Education Minister Jaime Laya (MS, Georgia Institute of Technol-

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Postnational family/postfamilial nation 83 ogy and PhD, Stanford University), Trade and Industry Minister Roberto Ongpin (MBA, Harvard University), Economic Planning Minister Gerardo Sicat (PhD in Economics, MIT), Agriculture Minister Arturo Tanco Jr. (PhD, Harvard University), and National Economic and Development Authority Director-General Placido Mapa (PhD in Economics, Harvard University) (Ibon Facts and Figures 1984).3 Furthermore, as Roberto Magdamo of the Metro Manila Times said, technocrats such as Jose Conrado Benitez, Imeldas right-hand person, typify the prototype of the martial law-bred and trained government ofcial. He grew and developed in government at a time when the climate was designed to develop arrogance, when institutional checks and balances were weak; when the press was docile and the public even more tame (Coronel 1993: 165). So marketable are foreign-trained technocrats that Aquinos subsequent cabinet would continue to be dominated by them. Citizens were doubly disenfranchised by Marcos circle. While technocrats paved the ground for IMF-WB policies to ofcially take stock in the country, cronies practically dominated the national economy for themselves. Roberto Benedicto controlled the sugar trade, the designated private bank for the industry, Republic Planters Bank, Channel 9, and had stakes in the shipping, hotel and gambling industries.4 Together with another Marcos associate Luis Yulo, Benedicto instigated a meat cartel, which had virtual monopoly over the import, distribution, and feed-supply of the cattle industry. Antonio Floirendo was the banana Tsar, successfully manoeuvring connections with Marcos for contracts with the agri-business giant, United Fruit Company. He was also a sugar broker, and either owned or had interests in mining, shipping, and the machinery and equipment industries. Juan Ponce Enrile, named Secretary of National Defense and main implementer of martial rule, took over the chair of the Philippine National Bank from Benedicto, and has sat as director of the Philippine Veterans Bank, Philippine National Oil Company and Petrophil. His Jaka Investment Corporation, a holding company and one of the 200 biggest rms in the country, has investments in the real estate, coconut, agri-business and manufacturing sectors. Even portions of the Cojuanco family, Corazon Aquinos clan, beneted tremendously from presidential favours. Ramon Cojuanco had the monopoly of the telephone industry. Eduardo Cojuanco, together with Enrile, controlled the coconut industry and its ofcial bank, United Coconut Planters Bank. Manuel Elizaldes steel company boomed during martial rule; his tin company had a monopoly of tin plate production. Ricardo Silverio owned car and truck assembly plants, and a nancing company bailed out by the government. Rodolfo Cuenca, a Marcos golng buddy, owned the Construction and Development Corporation of the Philippines, which was awarded major public highway contracts. A government takeover became Marcoss recourse when the company failed dismally. Other members of the circle included Geronimo Velaso, Herminio Disini, Luico Tan, Hans Menzi, Campos Yao, Rolando Gapud, Roman Cruz, the Enriquez and Panlilio Families, Bienvenido and Gliceria Tantoco and, of course, the Romualdez and Marcos families. So institutionalized was this closed circuit operation that the term crony capitalism evolved to dene the Philippine economic system. Imeldas entourage of socialites, women in prominent political, business and military households, would be termed the Blue Ladies for the colour-motif they wore. Starting as an auxiliary group in Marcoss rst presidential campaign, the group eventually evolved into Imeldas personal apparatus. Imelda and Marcoss marriage was generally considered a political strategy; a presidential aspirant marrying a controversial beauty contest winner after 11 days of courtship. Marcos was believed to have honed Imelda for the role of the politicians wife. As Imeldas unofcial chronicler, Carmen Navarro-Pedrosa, states: The provincial ways would not sufce for the role that she was to play as wife to Marcos. The people she would have to deal with were politicians and big-time businessmen who knew the game. She had to be knowledgeable, even shrewd; to deal with them effectively. She had to motivate herself to learn the ways of the political

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84 Rolando B. Tolentino
world. They taxed her immensely because she was not psychologically prepared for the role. She must have felt offended to know that the man she married was now asking her to change, to be better than she was. It seemed ironic that he was asking her to be re-educated, as if she were a girl who had not always wanted a better education such as her afuent city cousins. It was painful to be told to develop taste when she had wanted the good things of life ardently. (Navarro-Pedrosa 1969: 191) Coming as an outsider to the Philippine political and economic circle, she struggled to be worthy of inclusion. Unlike Corazon Aquino of the Cojuanco clan, the creme de la creme of ` ` Manilas Four Hundred (an allusion to the number of rich families which controlled the countrys wealth), Imelda had to begin from scratch. She tried in her provincial way to ingratiate herself with political families. She would send cakes and dishes she herself made to political personages to win votes for her husband. On a visit to the Manahan farm, she went out of her way to cook for them. When Mrs Manahan was hospitalized, Imeldas two visits were remembered because she cried so profusely that nurses wondered whether she was a mother or a sister of the patient (Navarro-Pedrosa 1969: 196). She thus made efforts to hide her illegitimate and poor origins. Afuence would be the perfect disguise: She boasted about her gowns and jewellery to less afuent friends but depreciated their value when she talked to really rich friends. If she was crude, it was only because the game of getting along was new to her; but once she learned it, she would manipulate them with aplomb, as she would later as her husbands presidential campaigner and as First Lady (Navarro-Pedrosa 1969: 197). But her admiration turned to disdain once the circle became beholden to her power: [The Blue Ladies] would come over and [Imelda] would talk to them and talk to them and talk to them, keeping them beyond the bounds of their own patience and only at the very last minute, at the very last instant, would she call out to her aide to bring the things shed brought home for the girls. Then the aide would appear with an armful of this stuff and dump it on the oor, causing the women to scramble and shriek and grab as Mrs. Marcos watched . (Rosca 1987: 184185) This disdain took on ofcial rhetoric when she ostracized the old oligarchs. In a keynote address to a family planning conference, she lost no time in connecting large families with immorality: large families living in squalor strain the moral sense. Our own experience of greed, graft, and corruption has largely been the consequence of large families Aggression comes from pressure, indeed, arouses the aggressive instincts of men (Ellison 1988: 174). Membership in these groups acquired a mythic quality: by existing in the very space of dictatorial power, members were able to gain entry to knowledge and opportunities beyond the wildest dreams of the ordinary citizen. Like the popes blessings, the couples constant dispensation of favours done in the corridors of the palace a tea party, funeral wake, or friendly golf match allowed patronage and economic gains to ourish. These groups however were part of the larger apotheosis project of the Marcoses. For Marcos, it began with his birth, [He] was in such a hurry to be born that his father, who was only eighteen years old himself, had to act as midwife (Spence 1969: 3). Marcos was touting himself as an overachieving individual who was way ahead of his generation. He won his own acquittal from a murder charge while preparing for the exams. His score in the bar remains unsurpassed to date. There is also the story of his 28 medals of honour for leading a guerrilla unit during the Japanese occupation. His rise in politics was phenomenal, only to be topped by Benigno Aquino, Jr., another young political aspirant in a hurry to become president. All these

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Postnational family/postfamilial nation 85 illustrious stories of Marcoss past were emphasized in two commercially successful feature lms. Imeldas own ascent to power has been constantly called into focus by questions on her past, revealed in Navarro-Pedrosas unofcial biography The Untold Story of Imelda Marcos (1969). She attempted to cover up the past by both establishing her afnity with state power and by a habit of conspicuous consumption unmatched by any other. Her own description of partners sharing power attests to her desire for national stature. Referring to the Malakas at Maganda origin myth, she says: It is said that the birth of humanity came about when a divine whim split a single bamboo and from it there sprang forth a woman and a man, and the woman was Maganda, which means beautiful, and the man was called Malakas, which means strong. They were equal, and in their own way the strong and the beautiful were equal ever since (Marcos 1976: 84).5 Willingly, she acceded to conjugal rule, being named Metro Manila governor in 1975, in virtual control of six million people. She also had a cabinet rank, in charge of the Ministry of Human Settlements. Handpicked by Marcos as presidential replacement, Imelda was Marcoss surrogate in numerous high-prole foreign missions abroad. What was further magnied for the domestic scene was her visibility in all state as well as social functions. This imaging of Imelda concretized her ascent and hold to power. She took advantage of the lavish portrayal of her, even constructing events and gatherings where further lavishness would be bestowed on her. Lavish connotes a state of plenty and opulence, as it also denotes excess, conspicuous consumption. The spectacles constructed in her name were produced through signiers embodying not opulence but excess. She accumulated a collection of genuine classical art items as well as fake ones. Imeldas collection grew upon the standards of quantity and price, to what has been described as a perverse interpretation of the Hegelian insight that quantity turns into quality (Manapat 1991: 43). Imeldas sudden departure from the Palace in the wake of the February 1986 Revolution caused a stir when 3000 pairs of shoes, 2000 ballroom gowns, and giant bottles of expensive perfumes, among others were left behind. US Representative Stephen Solarz remarked: Compared to her, Marie Antoinette was a bag lady.6 Scandals, from Marcoss affair with American starlet Dovie Beams, to the discovery of the Marcoses hidden wealth, only fuelled the couples apotheoses. Following the thinking in show business, Whether good or bad publicity, its still publicity, scandals only seek to perpetuate the object in memory. And because of the historical precedents in the string of atrocities committed by the Marcoses, any news that surfaced does not come as a surprise as much as it is an afrmation of the couples nature. With the Marcoses in exile in Hawaii, news of the trial and on the hidden wealth and their daily affairs only succeeded in restoring them in national memory. This would catapult Imeldas decent standing in the 1992 presidential elections, even beating the experienced senator who orchestrated the ousting of the US bases. The mythication of the Marcoses apotheoses involved a retinue of hired intellectuals and artists, which would form a loose internal formation simply beholden to power without ever exercising its clout. The dictatorship systematically used intellectuals and artists for the purpose of reifying imagined origins and heritage. Poets and biographers wrote book-length epics and invented life stories that paid national homage to the couple; painters muralized the couples mythical parentage of the nation and their families in royal garb; lmmakers recorded national history in a lm that was never shown, etc. The use of intellectuals and artists can be interpreted as another disguise for the Marcoses own inadequacies. While singing praises to the dictatorship, the artistic and literary works reveal the artists and writers own class origin, as petty and middle bourgeois under the fold of national art patrons. Intellectuals and artists then became another ornament in the Marcoses apotheosis design. In lm, for example, Imelda admonished the industry to reciprocate the ofcial production of national origins. In a 1974 speech delivered before the Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences, she states the mission is to project the authentic image of the Filipino the timeless dictum of all art: the

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86 Rolando B. Tolentino
Filipino the timeless dictum of all art: the exaltation of the human spirit. We would like to see lms of our native epics, portrayals of our native souls (Marcos 1976: 5859). Leading these groups, Marcos and Imelda further constructed a power-knowledge hierarchy of outside/inside, core/periphery, privilege/marginal and ofcial/practical incestuous relations. Cronies and Blue Ladies would eventually mimic the couple in their arrogance and excess. Conrado Benitez, Imeldas right-hand person and one of the administrations brightest technocrats, arrogantly declared, I grew up in a family with very well-known people and a very high achievement orientation I took advantage of my name and used it. Do I deny my birthright? (Coronel 1993: 161162). By maintaining these loyal spheres of inuence, the couple was able to re-inscribe the insular political landscape. Marcos privileging of close allies and family members not only ensured loyalty but also nancial gains, especially to his own family. By dishing selective favours, Marcos was also able to downplay his own corruption. Through martial rule, attention was to remain downsized to the covert crony operations. Attention was much more focused on Imeldas female domain, inaugurating edices and construction programmes, endorsing high-prole events with charitable causes, bringing in foreign artists, etc. When excess was unexpectedly exposed, she churned out philosophical rhetoric on man, art and society to justify the lavish gathering. Their Swiss bank accounts and other investments elsewhere were only to be found much later, when the 1983 outpouring of mass disenchantment also paved the way for outside news to inltrate the insular plane, and vice versa. The control over incestuous relations in the insular fold would loosen its grip when the Marcoses attempted to reconstitute these in the international circuits. The local elite became too easy a yardstick for the Marcoses to measure up to. The couples ultimate standard was acceptance by the west, particularly the USA. Commenting on the Metropolitan Theaters inauguration in 1966, attended by everyone that mattered socially, Imelda recalls the jewellery, reifying her desire to be accepted in the international scene: My, in America when theyre rich, theyre really rich when I came in wearing my pearls, I was so thankful I chose them because everyone else was wearing diamonds (Woman and Home 16 October 1966; Navarro-Pedrosa 1987: 1112). She would bask in the limelight of international coverage; the December 1975 Cosmopolitan article named her one of the ten richest women in the world, thereby joining the company of illustrious women. Her willingness to be Marcoss ambassador of goodwill to foreign missions also accrues to her the building up of a legitimate position in the global scene. But acceptance would often be denied Imelda. When she failed to receive an invitation to the royal wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, she staged in June 1983 her own version with her youngest daughters marriage to the aristocratic Araneta heir. I quote lengthily to illustrate her attitude to getting things done her way and at all costs: When Irene chose her fathers birthplace as the venue of her wedding, Imelda had it transformed overnight into a town of what she imagined to be seventeenth-century European splendor. And all this done between the day Mr. Araneta asked for Irenes hand and the day of the wedding. Two weeks before the wedding the towns main street was strewn with everything from bricks and cement to potted bougainvilleas and imported holly bushes and all the rest of the paraphernalia needed to re-create the town for the wedding of the century. Imeldas forty-ve-day deadline included the construction of ve new buildings, all of them built according to the Spanish colonial style to match the church. Among them were guesthouses and a massive reception building to impress Imeldas jet-set friends. A new international airport was built, as well as a ve-star hotel complete with swimming pool, Jacuzzi, and a lavish casino. In addition the old stone and brick schoolhouse where Marcos studied was refurbished to look more European and medieval. The townspeople relate how the entire town worked into the night in preparation for the grand wedding. To landscape the surroundings, more than 3,000 workers were brought in from outlying provinces. From a scruffy,

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Postnational family/postfamilial nation 87 sleepy village, Sarrat became a splendid, magnicent royal town with reproductions of Spanish aristocrats town houses and streets lined with potted owers . Just as Princess Diana had her royal carriage, Irene Marcos, too, had a silver carriage from Austria, drawn by seven white horses, which were own in from Morocco. (Navarro-Pedrosa 1987: 189190) If attention eluded her, she demanded it. If money could buy attention, it did. She ew her beautiful friends to her parties and feted them. To remain true to her penchant for the royal, she commissioned some ten ten-foot Cowan portraits of the Marcoses. Two of these were her own portraits, with titles The Triumph of Purity and The Triumph of Beauty; one was a portrait of the Marcos family the couple are regally seated; sashes, jewellery and medals embellish their all-white formal wear. On the other hand, Marcoss entry into the international political arena was initiated through contributions to the campaign coffers of Nixon, Carter and Reagan. He was only too happy to implement US policies in the Philippines, and felt satised when, at the height of the dictatorship in 1981, Vice President George Bush toasted, We love you, sir, we love your adherence to democratic principles and democratic processes, and we will not leave you in isolation (Navarro-Pedrosa 1987: 168). Five years later, Marcos received the axe. Talking to Senator Paul Laxalt in February 1986, he asked, What do you think? Should I step down? The senator replied, I think you should cut and cut cleanly. The time has come. Marcos felt doubly betrayed. He had to be sedated to leave on a plane he thought would take him to his birthplace but, instead, brought his family to Hawaii. The couples desire for international acceptance placed the management of the national in the fringes. With the lm palace asco in 1982 and their daughters wedding in 1983, what Imelda had intended for international projection backred. Marcoss announcement of the 1986 snap polls in an interview with a US news talk show surprised his fellow nationals. They had lost touch with the nation. Cronies and Blue Ladies would join the Marcos exodus, using the very money they squandered to buy their passage out of, and back into, the country. Overstating and overhearing the postfamilial/postnational small town What the postfamilial has done is to examine the tracks of these other relations whose loyalty with the Marcoses is undaunted. The postnational will be used to examine the ways in which people have engaged with these national familial units. Through the tactics of the political joke and gossip parinig (overstating) and padinig (overhearing) people have posited counterregisters to the operations of the national; a postnational that dees postfamilial relations. Ricardo Manapat, author of Some Are Smarter Than Others (1991), the most comprehensive guide to crony capitalism writes, The pillage started with the silencing of opponents (Manapat 1991: 84). Silence provides an apt metaphor for the hegemonic intent. While this intent has never been complete in any case, e.g. national democratic underground movements, peoples movements, etc, it nevertheless provides for the modes to examine everyday sites of resistance during the Marcos dictatorship. Political jokes exemplify one of these modes. Usually taking on a play of words, the punch line exists through an understanding of inversion, reversal, play, the foreground and background of the discourse of the joke with the historical and political conditions. Usually taking the form of one-liners, the joke is reconstituted not for the laughtereffect but for a certain exigency of the moment. The epigraph in this paper illustrates such a play: relativity achieves xity through relatives. Here are two other examples: Q: A: Q: A: For Imelda, what is the biggest industry in the Philippines? Mining. Thats mine, thats mine, thats mine . What happens if death takes the Chief from our midst? The President would have to run the whole thing himself.

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88 Rolando B. Tolentino
What is striking about these jokes are the modes in which they, historically and linguistically, congure the punch lines. As jokes refer to the unconscious, there too is the connection between the jokes operation and subjugation. The punch line provides openings to the ways in which subjugation has been put into place, the underlying contradictions and the subversion routes. Jokes call attention to daily life, deemed as the site of the regime of oppression and repression. The punch line ruptures the regime, calling into focus the prohibited. In issues such as crony and familial capitalism, Imeldas kleptocracy, Marcoss disease, and the First Lady as the real seat of power, the political joke points to a subversion of hegemonic knowledge and language. Gossiping is another way of talking back to the dictatorship. The dictatorship saw the real dangers posed by gossiping; Marcos passed a decree banning the spreading of rumours. Taken as a national security threat, gossiping poses a contradiction to the hegemonic culture of law and order. It is Janus-faced: allowing people to listen attentively to the dictatorship while at the same time undermining from behind what the regime has said. In this sense, gossip allows for the articulation of the individual take on ofcial matters. It allows for the awkward assault on policies of the dictatorship. Like the political joke, a related syntax game comes into play, one whose communicative prowess depends on knowledge of the various ruptures that undermine the regime. In the political joke, what occurs in gossiping is a literal translation, a movement of words from one condition to another. Relativity under normal conditions is relative under the dictatorship. Literal translation is effected in two ways: in terms of movement between space (from ofcial to practical or vice versa), and in terms of social beings. Gossiping operates through parinig (overstating) and padinig (overhearing). While parinig refers to the act of spreading rumours, padinig refers to the act of receiving rumours. Both are undertaken through a reading of the excess. Gossiping after all speaks of dictatorial excess that transmutes and translates heterogeneously. It allows for an unsystematic deployment of excessive dictatorial signiers to other less rigid signication elds. The alternative spaces of the sari-sari store facade, water pump area in the slum, beauty parlour, barber shop, cafeteria, coffee shop, couturiers lounge, dress shop, discussion groups in universities and countryside provide venues contrary to Marcos rubberstamped legislature, media and judiciary. These alternative spaces re-signify and re-circuit ofcial codes and channels, making claims of counter-authority in the affairs of the nation. Parinig has two nuanced manoeuvres: padaplis (indirect assault) and patama (direct assault). This means that, depending on factors such as, who is being spoken of, to whom, what, and why, the assault on hegemonic culture can play on two registers. Padaplis evokes a range of possibilities, the one spoken to is also somehow implicated, the one spoken about is of subversive intensity, and the reason for speaking involves an uncertain context. Patama evokes forthrightness; the articulations need not be disguised. Gossiping equally involves a direct and indirect assault, all depending on the emotive level of the persons involved, which in turn, is dependent on the gravity of the national situation. What padinig does is to be able to decode the tone, syntax and modality of communication of the parinig. Inherent in this communication ow is misrecognition, to inadvertently translate and transmute the content and its codes of reading. Successful gossiping after all is characterized both by its sedimentation or embellishment and free mobility. Political jokes and gossiping share three commonalties: one, these involve familiar knowledge of syntactical use and historical contexts; two, these involve a crossing over of boundaries, both between bodies and spaces; three, both involve a movement from the public to the private spheres. In having familiar knowledge of specic syntactical use and national conditions, the individual is able to move to the postnational. This domain points to the temporal disruption of the operations of the nation-state. No longer threatening, one is able to imagine a relational position to national power. Postnational afrms the micro-political ways in which the nation-space can be reconstituted or made sense of. It involves a crossing over of boundaries, and a specic movement of public truths into the sphere of the privatized knowledge. It

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Postnational family/postfamilial nation 89 therefore involves privatization, which is different from individualization; while the latter refers to the connement of knowledge-power limits on the individual entity, the former denotes transference and tactical use of local knowledge. Lino Brocka was able to utilize these nodes, further incorporating the visual aspect in lm as a kind of overseeing (pakita). The parodic use of religious and political icons framed in relation to lm characters and narrative, constructs an anxious trope where hegemonic meanings can be interrogated. A scene in Maynila Sa Kuko ng Liwanag provides a glimpse of the directors subtle manoeuvre: Overheard in the frames right hand-corner, barely within the cameras range of locus, is a palmists sign with its intriguing come-on looming large. May problema ka ba? (Do you have a problem?) it asks; and almost as if in answer, we notice next a hastily scrawled grafti to Julios left one word: Makibaka (Struggle). (Guerrero 1983: 232) The lm narrative provides a trope for understanding the critical and complicit micro-operations. Two lms by Brocka revolve around the dynamics of the small town and family. Focusing on the lives of the mayors family, Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang and Miguelito: Batang Rebelde present the social structuring of the small town whose preoccupation with power play is related to the national operation. In both lms, the gure of the mayors adolescent son is poised in a moral dilemma choosing between a corrupt system his father epitomizes or an alternative order that some other marginal gure symbolizes. In Tinimbang Ka, the marginal gures are Kuala, the mayors mistress forced into a failed abortion causing her to become insane, and Berto, the leper who falls in love and impregnates Kuala; in Miguelito, it is the estranged mother who comes back to town after being wrongfully imprisoned. What is interesting is how the male adolescent characters come into the Manichean encounter the realization of the contradictions of their privileged life, the search and quest for an alternative system within the politics of the small town, and the righteous choice taken. The epiphany is made possible and undermined through jokes and gossip. Brockas rst self-produced lm Tinimbang Ka deals with the carefree life of Junior in a small town. His family is composed of a nagging yet religious mother, and a philandering father, who is the town mayor. Shunned by his girlfriend, he is taken in by Berto, who is starting a family with Kuala. Junior learns about life and sexuality through the simple ways of the marginalized couple. In the climactic scene, Berto seeks out the town doctor, as Kuala is about to give birth. When he is turned down, Berto takes the doctor as hostage. It is through an informal system of screams, the relaying of the groundbreaking news and the constant sound of dogs barking that the town is forced into a major crisis. Through overhearing and overstating, the towns folk realize the scene, and track Berto and the doctor to the shack. The reverse effect of gossip works to consolidate the town elite, circuiting sounds and voices to forewarn of a threat to their own kind. In the geography of the small town, the prominent gures of elite families, zealously religious elderly women, tenants, village idiot, whore and bakla (gay) represent the popular imagination of its power dynamics. The police shoot down Berto. Kuala also dies giving birth. Junior comforts both dying bodies. Holding the newborn child, he proceeds to exit the scene. The town elite is waiting for him, evoking guilt in their bowed heads. He shoves away his fathers hand from the infant. In the nal shot, Junior slowly exits the frame, as the towns folk are amassed in the background and a white crucix hovers in the foreground. The morality play ends clearly with Junior aligning himself with the dregs of the town, the newborn baby serving as a beacon of hope. In another reworking of small town politics, Miguelito realizes the epiphanic moment through technology. The command to kill his real mother is relayed through a walkie-talkie system. But the order is not implemented because Miguelitos bodyguard friend is convinced

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90 Rolando B. Tolentino
of the righteousness of the mothers struggle for justice. They escape to the place of the bodyguards sister, also the mayors mistress. A shootout ensues, the bodyguard and mayor are killed. Miguelito comforts the dying father; his mother consoles him as they walk out of the scene. The similar framing of the ending scene in both lms provide for a discussion of closure in small town morality politics. In the rst lm, the deaths reconstitute the suffering of those historically marginalized, to give their lives up for the heros epiphany. Kualas being is gossip personied, a past liaison gone wrong between a mayoral candidate and his mistress. Her death is further positivized in the successful birthing of her infant, an antithetical incident to the lms opening scene, the failed abortion. In the later lm, death claims the towns primal authority (the mayor is head of a beholden group composed of the towns male elite) and the promise of individual mobility (the bodyguard had ambitions to work abroad). What is reconstituted in both lms is a moral righteousness as embodied in the rich adolescent male. Made to witness the primal Manichean scene, the male individual is jarred enough not to repeat the ways of the bad father. Jokes further reify the privileged young male position as the bearer of future good. In both lms, his male peers cajole the male protagonist. In the bowling area, Juniors insistence that his buddy make good the marriage with his ex-girlfriend ends in a brawl. Juniors buddy jokes nastily about rst conquest and envy. Finding Miguelito sulking from failed efforts to have sex with his girlfriend, his friends bring him to the town nightclub. They make fun of the young hostess as Miguelito talks to her. He stakes his claim, a brawl ensues with the hostesss customer. In a subsequent incident between the two, Miguelito cannot arouse himself with the hostess, as he thinks about his father meeting and impregnating his mother, who was also a prostitute. Sexist jokes give the male protagonist a sense of moral superiority. As such he is doubly righteous; not only is he against the evil of town politics, he is also against the evil in men in general. In Brockas small town lms, Patrick Flores states that the ideological operations make it appear seemingly easy for rich kids to turn their backs on privilege and betray their class, in the same way that it becomes seemingly natural for them to sympathize with the oppressed (Flores 1991: 46). Flores is mentioning another hinge in the network of small town relations, one based on class analysis. The corresponding actions, to betray or to sympathize with their class, remain outside lial but within familiar grounds. The male individuals double act of alignment and disavowal operates along familiar levels he chooses the moral right because he is all too familiar with the gures of evil and their impact on the geography of a small town. From Flores analysis, what can be regenerated for postnational and postfamilial analysis is the interjection of class and, possibly, other cultural categories in the reconstitution of family and nation as areas of contest. In so doing, the postnational and postfamilial can be reworked to provide new vantage positions to critique nationalist paradigms of formation, such as the queer nation, sisterhood-is-global, or even labour unions. The small town becomes the nexus of a morality play as the familys fragmentation in late capitalism has already precluded its possibilities of coherency. As it has been ushed into the transnational geopolitical space, the family is constituted only in the possibilities of its imagination. In Midnight Dancers (Mel Chionglo, Philippines, 1994), three brothers work as macho dancers in gay bars and as prostitutes to share in the household expenses. The father moves out with another woman, one of the brothers has a wife and a male lover, the other is salvaged. The conguration of sexuality, poverty and dictatorship resists any moral containment. The issue is not to reclaim morality but to interrogate it for contradictions. Because the small town signies both geographical location and, usually, its mental entrapment, it becomes the nostalgic site for constructing the play. As in these two Brocka lms, the resolution poses the futility of the present evil condition while maintaining a silver lining in the future. The geographic location of the small town is contained by its mental entrapment: the condition

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Postnational family/postfamilial nation 91 entraps, and the only possibility of survival in the given historical milieu is to hope. While hoping refers to the bourgeois class being annihilated and reborn in the crisis, it also signies the oppressed class serving as agents of crisis and change. The small town serves as an analogue of the morality play that somehow remains as the guiding principle of the national condition. The small town, however, is twice distanced from the national: from neither being a direct representation nor a distinct entity. National politics is further translated from within the small town. The only direct references are the Marcos portraits that proliferate on the walls of ofcials ofces. The small town oversimplies the operations of monopoly capitalism and feudal relations. It is also not a distinct entity, devoid of national embellishes. What is similar between the small town and the national is how morality comes into play and the bind it leaves behind. Despite her conjugal past and excess, Imelda has successfully managed a comeback in the Philippines. Her return to the limelight calls attention not only to her successful manoeuvring but an acceptance, if not tolerance, of a huge number of people from various segments of the population. In the morality play of the small town, one easily forgives in the present for actions done in the past. But one also does not forget quickly. That is why the crisis comes once in the lms lifetime, albeit expectedly. The bind also remains; the past ties remain binding, keeping Imelda constantly interrogated but never punished, and the various peoples maintaining a sense of gratitude to, and hatred of, her. Authors note A version of the article was published in budhi 3 1 (1999). I am grateful to Aristotle Atienza for his assistance in nalizing the essay. Notes
1. A crucial background text in Pilipinolohiya is Marvin Harriss Emics, Etics, and the New Ethnography (Harris 1968). 2. For an idea of how personal these lm matriarchs can be in their approach to business matters, see Mercado (1977) and Maglipon (1993). 3. For a further discussion of technocrats, see Technocrats At Whose Service (Ibon Facts and Figures 1984). The listing of US-trained technocrats was lifted from this report. 4. See Manapat (1991) for a comprehensive overview of each of the cronies investment stakes in the Marcos regime. I cull from these discussions. 5. This was a speech delivered at the International Womens Year Conference, June 20, 1975, Mexico City. 6. Quoted in Carmen Navarro-Pedrosas The Rise and Fall of Imelda Marcos (Navarro-Pedrosa 1987: 220). This is a sequel to her rst biography on Imelda.

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Authors biography
Rolando B. Tolentino is an associate professor of the Department of Film and Audiovisual Communication, College of Mass Communication, University of the Philippines. He is author of National/Transnational: Subject Formation and Media in and on the Philippines (2001), and has edited Geopolitics of the Visible: Essays on Philippine Film Cultures (2000). He is presently visiting professor of the Philippine Studies Program, Osaka University of Foreign Studies. He is a member of the Congress of Teachers and Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (CONTEND-UP) and Manunuri ng Pelikulang Filipino (Filipino Film Critics Group).