For a people aspiring to gather up a resolve to eradicate dynasty politics in the Philippines, it is quite ironic that many in their society cannot seem to get over the “horrors” of the Martial Law years and move on. Instead, they are using the distant memory of that regime to continue as a pseudo-argument against the candidacy of Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr (BBM).
Dynasty politics and the primitive thinking that sustains it is still at work when people continue to insist that children — despite having demonstrated otherwise over a string of concrete achievements — necessarily “inherit” the sins of their parents. The insistence that BBM is accountable for the alleged “crimes” committed by his father former President Ferdinand E. Marcos in the 1970s is no more than the corollary of the same idiotic thinking that propelled the ascent of current president Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III to power. In the earlier, it is the moronic notion that BBM is tainted by birth. In the latter, it is the equally hollow-headed notion that BS Aquino is anointed by birth.
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Thus it is hardly-surprising that the camp who are throwing the loudest tantrums over BBM’s rising viability as a candidate for higher office are the same ones who crown BS Aquino God’s Personal Appointee to Malacanang on the basis of birthright. Rather ironic it is indeed that the very people who laud the Aquino-Cojuangco feudal clan as the premiere icon of this “restored” democracy Filipinos supposedly enjoy today, are the ones who exhibit the least faith in the ability of its inherent checks-and-balances to mitigate the risk of a much-feared “return to dictatorship” in the future. Their battle cry “#NeverAgain” reflects this paranoid sentiment.
Economist and educator David Yap II couldn’t have put it more bluntly when he said that it takes “intellectual capacity” and “maturity” rarely found in the Philippines’ chattering classes to look at the candidacy of BBM objectively. Instead, all of the arguments being fielded against BBM are mere ad hominem positions and demonstrates how easy it is to apply the same “#NeverAgain” rhetoric used against him to the track record of BS Aquino and his henchmen…
[NB: Paragraph breaks added by author.]
Let’s preface the discussion with the hashtag #neveragain. What does this mean? It’s not a complete sentence. It’s a phrase. Let’s fill in the blanks.
Perhaps it is never again to Martial Law. Given the present configuration of the Philippine government, the dynamics of political power, and the political landscape, any PRESIDENT will be hard pressed to declare martial law. (LOL if you think a vice-president not named Francis Underwood can declare martial law).
Perhaps it is never again to corruption. Let’s define corruption as the use of government resources for personal gain (which is of course the standard definition, and the definition that encompasses more than just plunder). Who again was the president who leveraged the power of government to insulate a large tract of land from agrarian reform?
Maybe it is never again to cronyism. Take a good hard look at how the spoils of EDSA were divided to a select few families. Maybe it is never again to suppression of free speech. Who was the first president to file a case against a journalist for libel – over an article that contained a metaphor? Which country (not presently a war zone) is the worst country for journalists?
Maybe it is never again to human rights abuses. Remember the Mendiola Massacre? How about the continued maltreatment of farmers in Hacienda Luisita? How about something more recent – how about the tens of thousands of families living in squalor in Yolanda-ravaged regions?
Supporters of BS Aquino and the greater community of people who continue to use their infantile thinking to argue against BBM are building their house on a logical sand dune. Rather than see a candidate for the possibilities he offers on the back of his or her track record of achievement, they would rather place their bets on candidates who offer nothing on both fronts. Despite the current era of the “democracy” supposedly “restored” in the aftermath of the 1986 EDSA “revolution”, Filipinos remain stuck in the same brand of primitivist superstition politics and continue to latch on to the sacrifice platforms of the emotionalist candidates they favour.
Indeed, the sharp legal mind of newly-announced presidential candidate Miriam Defensor Santiago who recently endorsed Bongbong Marcos as her running mate points out in eviscerating detail the reasons why the Marcoses need not apologise.
She stressed that whatever the late dictator did during his regime was not the result of “a familial discussion” but the policy decision of Marcos himself and his advisers.
“No, I do not not think that the Marcoses, as a family, owe us an apology. In the first place, it was not the case that President Marcos, the father, told all the Marcoses to come together, and they all decided jointly to conduct certain activities that were later viewed with disinterest or distaste or even outright criticism by other Filipinos,” Santiago said.
“That was not the case. They did not agree as a family to sit down and say, ‘Okay, let us do this. Let us set up curfews. Let us regulate the issuance of firearms and so on.’ This was all the result not of a familial discussion or decision, but the result of the policy decision of the man at the executive head of the government, President Marcos, plus his advisers.”
Columnist Teodoro ‘Teddy Boy’ Locsin Jr once admitted that the arguments that paint former President Marcos as one who was really not that bad a guy as he is made out to be may be “galling” to some. But he asserts in his 2011 Interaksyon article The real score on the Marcos burial and martial law that a lot of these are the “right” ones and that those who continue to choose to ignore the undeniable soundness of these arguments should simply “suffer the gall and go on lying to yourselves about yourselves.”
I think Marcos should be buried [at the Fort McKinley Libingan ng mga Bayani] for what he was, a former president, twice elected in democratic elections.
Oppositors say he destroyed Philippine democracy. That is not a disqualification. He was democratically elected president, twice.
While he destroyed democracy, in order to save it, according to him, the people ratified martial law in a referendum. The Supreme Court validated the dictatorship as constitutional. So it was legal. Marcos was never impeached; he did nothing illegal to forfeit his right to be buried with other presidents not all of whom wanted to buried there.
On top of that, after the assassination of Ninoy Aquino, the people elected two-thirds of Marcos’s candidates to the Batasan in the first relatively free elections since martial law was imposed. In short, it was tantamount to seeing two thirds ratifying the assassination of Ninoy. Is this unfair? No, it is fair and true. Ninoy’s assassination was the only raging topic of the day, with lightning rallies staged by the Left and joined by people with no connection to the largely mental and always inutile opposition in the non-left, particularly certain human rights advocates whose work did not make a dent on martial law.
As such the kernel of the brain-dead “#NeverAgain” advocacy which asserts that BBM and the Marcoses “cannot even acknowledge, much less admit, verifiable historical facts” therefore has no legs to stand on — because historical fact is a matter of record to which an accountability link to the present set of political players is weak and hopelessly debatable. What is a lot more readily evident and, more importanly, relevant are the ideas and vision brought to the table by the candidates in this election.
Thirty years is a vast timeframe that separates today and the distant yesterday of the Martial Law regime. To continue to wail and gnash teeth over how the threat of Martial Law remains relevant today is an ironic indictment of the very democratic foundations laid over those three decades by former President Corazon ‘Cory’ Aquino herself. Perhaps the people who are averse to moving on should think about that and reflect on what their fear mongering really says about their own character.[Photo courtesy @BongBongMarcos.]
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