Anti-Marcos movements highlight a lack of national vision for the Philippines

We hear a lot about clamours to block the candidacy of vice presidential candidate Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr coming from the alleged ‘victims’ of the rule of his father, the late former President Ferdinand E Marcos. The most recent is one reportedly organised by “a coalition of martial law victims” calling their movement the ‘Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang’ or ‘Carmma’. According to its ‘lead convenor’ Bonifacio Ilagan; its members are fighting a “grand scheme to recapture Malacañang,” presumably being perpetrated by Bongbong Marcos.

Well now, but of course there is such a grand scheme that is being mounted, Mr Ilagan. It’s called the election campaign of Mr Marcos. To win a national election, it really does help to have such a “grand scheme”. Otherwise, you are less likely to win against your rival candidates who also presumably have grand schemes of their own to win the same election. One needs to be organised to win a national election. And, usually, campaigns are organised around a grand scheme of some sort on account of the office at stake being, itself, a grand achievement to attain.

Thing is, however, these anti-Marcos “activists” who we can generally lump into a community of politically-passionate people who subscribe to the notion that Never Again should a Marcos be ever allowed to sit in Malacanang, are selling Philippine democracy short. The fact that they fear that another Marcos winning a top national office in an election will necessarily precede the Philippines’ descent into another dark age of authoritarianism shows how little faith they have in the country’s democratic institutions.

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Is Bongbong Marcos really that dangerous or that vile a man that he will plunge the Philippine back into a dictatorship when he ascends power? Or is Philippine democracy so rickety an edifice that it will simply crumble under the imagined weight of the Marcos family’s supposedly ‘evil’ agenda?

The screaming fits being thrown by these “Never Again” activists are more about what the Philippines cannot be again. In that regard, the Philippines as a society suffers from a fatal failure of imagination. Filipinos cannot seem to imagine a country that is something and can only throw hissy trantrums over what it should not be.

The even funnier thing about these “Never Again” movements is the logic they apply to their advocacy to block Bongbong Marocs (or, for that matter, any other Marcos) from holding executive office. Their advocacy is based on the idea that Bongbong Marcos, simply by virtue of being a Marcos, is responsible for the alleged atrocities perpetrated during the Martial Law years; never mind that Marcos Jr was just a teenager at the time.

What is interesting here is that the alleged architect of martial law himself, Juan Ponce Enrile (who was a middle-aged adult during the Martial Law years), is currently a sitting Senator of the republic. Indeed, Enrile even served as Senate President for five years from 2008 to 2013. Where was the outrage during the time Enrile was, himself, carving out a lofty niche for himself in Philippine politics after the collapse of the Marcos regime in 1986?

The “Never Again” mob seems to prefer to set its sights on a man who was just a kid during the Martial Law years while, at the same time, granting a peachy Get-Out-of-Jail pass to a man who was one of the powers-that-be directly effecting the alleged “atrocities” of Marcos’s Martial Law machine. Yet, groups like Carmma insist that their movement has “no political backing” and that they are “not partisan for any particular vice presidential [candidate] as a group.” The timing of the launch of their “coalition” makes that claim quite suspect.

Those who continue to stomp their feet and gnash their teeth over the continued presence of the Marcos family in Philippine politics should just get over it. The opportunity to exact “justice” for their victimhood had lapsed a long time ago. If there really was a crime, why is no one in jail? Whose fault is it that there is no one true big fish held to account for the alleged crimes of the Marcos years?

The trouble with Filipinos is that those questions are not asked as a matter of institutionalised routine. They are, for the most part, asked only when politically-motivated and are not inspired by a truly ingrained ethic of seeking and effecting justice as a matter of normal day-to-day business. This is why nothing changes in the Philippines — because so-called ‘reformists’ themselves are often driven by a less-than-noble agenda at worst or, even at best, a mere small-minded goal of a nature consistent with the Philippines’ renowned heritage of smallness. No big strategic visions — only smallish goals meant to gratify smallish interests.

In the case of Carmma, what is the long-term end game beyond blocking a Marcos vice presidency? What happens next if that small goal is realised?

Unfortunately, that big void where vision should have been in the national discourse surrounding this election is, as usual, still there and still unfilled. Filipino politicians keep paying lip service to the notion of “nation building”. In reality, however, there is not much of a nation to build — because Philippine society has not much of a vision for would-be builders to work with.

25 Replies to “Anti-Marcos movements highlight a lack of national vision for the Philippines”

  1. Carmma is na “Karma” na. I have lengthy talks with OldTimers here in California; who lived during the Marcos Martial Law years.

    They told me it was not as terrible; as those in the Aquino years. Aquino years have many massacres, killings , murders unsolved, rampant graft and corruption, etc…these Aquino crimes are all documented, like the German NAZI war crimes.

    Those “Never Again” groups are financed by Aquino and his Oligarch cahoots. So that, they continue to hold on: Feudalism, corrupt practices, DAP/PDAF/Pork Barrels, KamagAnak, Inc.,their cronies, etc…

    These people, think that, people have no brains. So, they resort to the “Scare Tactic”, on voters.”Lumang tugtugin na ito, Aquino/Roxas”… They have no platforms to present to us, to solve the country’s problems. Many of them are : beneficiaries of Aquino/Roxas patronage politics; own vast tracts of agricultural lands, with serfs/tenants; are employed in the government of Aquino (they are parasites, living on our taxes); etc…Enrile, the ultimate political opportunist, should be burned on stake…he is the most corrupt human being, ever to walk on this Plane Earth…

    “Never Again”, for any mentally retarded and incompetent Aquino or his minions!!!

    1. 777Hyden007Toro9999.99,

      When Marcos was in power, there was only one asshole (him), and kept all other assholes at bay.

      When Marcos died, all the assholes came out of the woodwork and turned this country into a real shithole.


      1. Aeta:

        Exactly…assholes, or no assholes…we are turned into assholes, also, in this shit hole. However, why did we, the people(now assholes), allowed them to do it? This is another U.S. $64 question…Any Asshole there, willing to answer this question?

  2. how can they say Marcos and his Martial Law did wrong and nothing? there’s no civilian casualties during Marcos era except those hypnotized by communist ideology.

  3. martin,

    The Failipino people blame Marcos because he is dead and cannot defend himself. He is also the most convenient “scapegoat” for all the wrongs we Failipinos (businessmen, politicians, and the masses) have done to this country since his ousting 30 years ago.

    It goes to show that we Failipinos will point fingers at each other to deflect unwanted attention from our arrogant and selfish ways, that have caused more destruction to the Failippines than what Marcos has done during his reign.

    So Fuck all of us aristocratic and self-serving Failipinos. There is no one to blame but ourselves—Marcos or no Marcos.


  4. The irony here is that the last time the country had any visible sign of discipline and was respected by other countries was during the Marcos era.

    1. Exactly! I would rather have the Americans condoning Marcos’ actions (good or bad) towards his own people, than the Chinese swallowing the whole country whole. Just ask the average Failipinos today and they will tell you the same thing.

  5. Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received — hatred. The great creators — the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors — stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.

  6. #NeverAgain, if they have streamlined the justice system. No, they didn’t. In the Yellow Age, the undermining of the Supreme Court as an independent branch of government and a hallowed institution was complete and effective. Cases continue to be settled only after years and decades. Justice has become more selective — it is only available for the moneyed and the well-connected with the powers-that-be.

    #NeverAgain, if they have raised the quality of politics. No, they didn’t. In the Yellow Age, forward looking ideas are not important. For that matter, it is not about any idea; vision is alien. Instead, emphasis has been, with zest, on ad hominem. Cory set the pace — policies were discussed in the mahjong table. Cabinet positions are not about the best and the brightest; it is about KKK, more about cronies. Politics is removed from reality; they think they are playing a computer game.

    #NeverAgain, if legislative agendas are about nation building. No, they ain’t. Agendas are negotiated based on the amount of pork barrels. They are not shamed by being seen as voracious. It is bribery, alright. But they don’t call it that. They call it by various names — fancy names, fancy programs, all fancy. It is a system institutionalized.

    #NeverAgain, if they have stopped media killings. No, they didn’t. PHL remains the most dangerous place for media practitioners outside of war zones like Iraq or Syria. They hate making things easy, so FOI can never be approved. Therefore, you know evil is being perpetuated for evil loves darkness. They minimize that massacres in the Yellow Age have been more organized and more premeditated. If #SAF44 was not premeditated, it was nevertheless an organized incompetence.

    #NeverAgain, if they have improved the lives of 99% of Filipinos. No, they didn’t. Among others, they ignored agriculture to pave the way for smuggling — forget about unemployment. You need jobs? Go abroad; never mind if this separates you from your family. We need your remittances to support the bloated government bureaucracy; never mind about the moral and social cost. We need to make the economic data look good, never mind if in reality it is a donut economy — empty in the middle.

    #NeverAgain, if they have improved our standing and reputation in the international community. No, they didn’t. We are now seen to be a stupid people because who does the world see in this archipelago? Stupid leaders. Singing talents, beauty queens, boxing champions wouldn’t cover the fact that the country is now structured and operated like it was the 14th, 15th, 16th century Europe. Next move is to be like Africa. That to them is improvement because they didn’t want to look like Latin America. No wonder, PHL is the basket case of Asia.

    #NeverAgain, if they brought the country up to speed with the modern world. No, they didn’t. Yellow Age is all about form; at its core is a decaying society — the worst. The worst is the corruption of the best. It is the Age, people no longer know what is good and bad because of all the propaganda coming from all directions. People remain confident because they maintain a faith, or superstitions, and faith could move mountains …somehow, one day. Forgotten is that intelligence is needed where and when those mountains could, or should, be moved.

    #NeverAgain??? The Yellows should be the last to say this!!! If they still insist, then it is no longer about the search for truth. If they further insist, then it is no longer about objectivity, but about a smokescreen. They need to cover-up that they have done far worse. Traitors persist because they are very good in creating a bogeyman — they depend on this man, but will not admit it, because they cannot depend on themselves.

    #NeverAgain? It is a very good propaganda. But, history, nature, struggles, destiny, karma… are not made because of propaganda. Acts or actions determine such things. So, they could repeat #NeverAgain all they want, but their acts, evil as they have been, determine what would be relevant or not in the end. It is obvious their words reverberate less and less.

    (Carmma, you want credibility to your cause? Help as well the families of SAF44 in their search for justice. )

  7. Remember that time when Noynoy Aquino was thought to be a good president because he is the son of Cory Aquino? Then all of a sudden it’s a bad thing to be someone’s child.

    Remember that time when they said Gilbert Teodoro will make for a poor president because he is a “tuta” of Arroyo? Then all of a sudden people are with Roxas to continue the “Daang Matuwid”

    If this is not a perfect example of “double standards”, I don’t know what is

  8. This is what separates meaningful movements from mere populist emotionalism. This anti-Marcos movement just blocks a candidacy. But does it propose a working solution to the problems of the country? It won’t. Blocking a candidacy or having “revenge” against a certain candidate linked to abuse will not give people jobs, bring OFWs home, provide people with needed assistance and services or solve poverty. It’s just pointless emotionalism. Or let’s use the word vindictiveness.

    People claim Get Real Phils is negative, but you see, these movements based on revenge or “past hurts” are more negative. They propose no solution to the current problems. They just thrive on being against someone with no concrete action to solve anything. Vindictiveness never solved anything.

  9. Simple lang yung kaso ni Bong Bong. Ibalik mo yung ninakaw ng magulang mo at ng pinagsasaan mo buong buhay mo na hanggang ngayon ay binabayaran ang kampanya mo . . . tapos hayaan natin umiral yung bulok nating demokrasya. Kapag ibalik mo yung ninakaw ninyo, isip mo ba may pag-asa ka pang manalo ng anumang nationally elected political position? Pera-perahan ka lang. I have great faith that in the absence of the ill-gotten wealth funding your political career, mas mabilis pa sa alas kuwarto ay patay na ang karera mo. Bago ang lahat, ibalik mo yung ninakaw ninyo and try for once in your life to earn an honest living.

    1. You’re suffering from tunnel vision, dude. You’ve forgotten the billions of pork barrel funds that were stolen from the public. The scam had been going on since Cory Aquino’s time. The problem was, the media did not and still does not highlight it enough that’s why people like you think “it’s nothing” compared to what Marcos allegedly stole.

      1. That’s exactly what I have been talking about! If you compare all the fortune stolen from the country by the Chinese-Failipino businessmen and their Failipino political counterparts, since Cory Aquino’s administration, it will surpassed what Marcos had allegedly stolen during his reign. Thanks to ABS-CBN and GMA7 for keeping the truth from the masses, because they are also benefitting from fleecing the country of its wealth.

    2. What if the Aquinos already have all that ill-gotten wealth? I recall reading that Kris was spotted wearing some of Imelda’s jewelry. So the Yellows probably have possession of the ill-gotten wealth. They ill-got it themselves.

    3. kapal ng mukha mo chong…anong nakaw ang sinSABI MO.. MAG basa basa pag may time at panooirin mo yong interview ni mel changco at wennie monsod kay mrs. marcos about sa yaman ng marcoses…

    1. raygun,

      “You can’t deny World Bank data. Negative GDP and moratorium on Philippine debt during his time.
      Oh, and hyperinflation, too.”

      I guess you also believe the current Failippine proganda that the economy is doing well, corrupt officials are caught and prosecuted, criminal activities is down, and the Failippines is the most stable/safest place to live in Asia.

      If you’re a Chinese or member of a political dynasty or affiliated with either one, I gues you would convince yourself to believe those lies.

      Would you also believe the Philippines is still owned by Failipinos and not the Chinese? The World Bank might say so, but what do ‘real’ Failipinos say?

      Open your eyes and ears and look around you, instead of spending too much time reading financial publications whose sources (the Chinese business communities and a corrupt Failippines government) are biased and questionable at best.


  10. “Martial Law Facts: 3,257 killed. 70,000 imprisoned. Marcos named biggest thief of history in the 1986 Guiness Book of Records. And you call this man a hero?”

    “In a language that today’s youth will understand, there will be neither internet nor Facebook if there was Martial Law today and with Marcos at the helm. We sacrificed our personal freedoms for the promised progress that didn’t materialize. The only progress that happened was in their personal foreign bank accounts. There was ‘Peace’ because they controlled the press. What the people didn’t know was there was War in the far-flung areas, in the hinterlands and in Mindanao. There were no Muslims in Manila then but because of the war between the MNLF and the AFP, the refugees started showing up in Sabah, Manila and the rest of the country. Their infrastructure projects was a source of corruption through commissions, percentages, cuts, over-pricing, etc., which buried the Philippine economy in debt.”

    “What more proof do you need? We already have survivors and families who lost loved ones telling their stories. Or do you want to experience first hand the torture and eating of your own feces? Those presumed innocent were freed but not after being subject to physical and mental torture. With regards to infra well we now have lrt 2 3 skyway new roads and bridges airport terminals 2 3 etc without having the need for dictatorial powers. A dollar was equal to 2 pesos few presidents before marcos. Our nation is young compared to like the US. They went thru a lot before they were able to establish their nation. We can too.”

    “re you really that dense that you can’t figure out that they robbed the country blind and they ( the Marcos’ ) just gave you a pot to piss on. Pittance is used to describe the amount of money they supposedly shared to the 50,000,000 people at that time whilst they lived in a mind boggling extravagant, luxury that no other dictator in Asia can ever match. Lee Kwan Yew ( 1959 – 1990 ) said of the Marcos (1965 -1986 ) regime since they co existed, ” Ferdinand Marcos’ regime became famous for grand scale larceny, and stealing foreign aid for personal profit and gain. ” At that time Singapore was POOR and the Philippines was better. Imagine if Marcos did not pillage the country ? Now KNOW where Singapore is in the world and where is the Philippines then at the end of his dictatorship. The Philippines was the poorest among the ASEAN organization and that was the reason the country loss the MIDDLE CLASS. You my friend were either poor to think otherwise or rich and was part of the oligarch. Either way more power to you dear Ron because you witnessed the transition of the my country from a poor one to an emerging power in ASIA today. ”

    im confused by the comments im reading in facebook..would you mind give me the cons and pros of Marcos regime? was he really was the best president so far?

    1. confused,

      Who the hell told you or where did you read that I called Marcos a hero? Quote that one for me, will you? What I have been saying is back then we only had one thief and we knew where to find him. Since 1986, we have not been able to count the number of thieves that stole from the country because they are so numerous and nameless. 3,257 killed over from the Martial period of 1972 thru 1986. Let us do the math. We are talking about 14 years of Martial Law divided into 3,257 will give us an average of 233 deaths.

      Now let us compare that figure to the number of violent deaths throughout the entire archipelago in the hands of warlords of political dynasties, New People’s Army, Muslim insurgencies, and crime syndicates since the end of Martial Law in 1986. You might be very surprised on how high that figure will be since there are hardly any type of enforceable “law and order” in existence, and every person and household basically have to fend for themselves. Marcos imprisoned 70,000 people, you say? Well, most were probably activists, similar to what you see picketing the American embassy or local government office today–who are also very much alive and well–and probably would have stayed out of jail back then if they had not been paid or influenced to oppose Marcos.

      Just how in the hell can you can speculate that we would not have been able to access the internet nor Facebook if we had Martial Law today? Do you consider yourself a Bill Gates or Marck Zuckerberg to make such speculation? Do not count your coins until they are in your hands. Even people of war torn Iraq and Afghanistan have access to the internet. We’re living in the electronic age and a democratic society. No amount of governmental interference—with the exception of Communist China—can prohibit internet access even if Marcos were alive and in power today.

      “We sacrificed our personal freedoms for the promised progress that didn’t materialize. The only progress that happened was in their personal foreign bank accounts.”

      Now that is a matter of opinion from someone who probably has never owned a business, or have associated with Filipino-owned businesses during Marcos’ time. I have met a lot of successful Filipino businessmen, in their respective industries, who thrived during Martial Law–from agricultural/aquaculture (my family was in that one), manufacturing, retail services, and import/export, just to name a few. Marcos tried in earnest to keep foreign competition out—especially the Chinese—because he did not want the influence of Communism and “Bamboo Network” business cartel to enter the country and start destroying its infrastructure. Chinese-Filipino businesses, with the exception of a few, were not allowed to grow in an unprecedented rate that they have grown today, and has literally destroyed all locally-owned businesses in less than 30 years since 1986.

      Yes Marcos controlled the press, and rightly so, because most of the press were backed by political activists who also wanted who also hunger for wealth and power. The Lopez family of ABS-CBN is a good example of one of those oligarchs today who desperately wanted to unseat Marcos. And if you look closely at the biased reporting and mind-numbing programs that ABS-CBN and GMA-7 (owned by a Chinese) are putting out there to dumb the public down, I do not see much of a difference from the monopolized media programs we have today to the tightly controlled press under the Marcoses.

      As far as the Muslim insurgencies are concerned, Marcos did a hell of a job keeping them out of Luzon. If the post-1986 administrations (Aquino, Ramos, Estrada, GMA, and Aquino again), and thousands of high level government officials, had not all been too busy trying to kiss ass to the Chinese by giving them generous economic favors in exchange for bribe money, we would have spent more time allocating our resources to strengthen our military to keep the Muslims insurgencies in the south, instead of allowing them to creep into our cities, towns, and neighborhoods.

      Of course there were families who suffered during Marcos’ era; I am not denying it. However, I also want you to admit there are just as many families—if not more–who had suffered in the hands of our post-1986 government and are still suffering today. You will never hear the sufferings of today’s families because their cries have been suppressed and censored by the oligarchs who are in power today.

      I will use this analogy again since you are having a hard time comprehending it. Yes, Marcos was a thief and he robbed. However, for every peso he stole from the country, he kept 20 centavos and gave the rest back to his people. Since 1986, for every peso that the multitude of oligarchs have stolen from the country, they kept 80 centavos to distribute among themselves, and only gave 20 centavos back to the people. You seem to enjoy using figures to validate your argument. Figure that one out. I would rather have one thief (Marcos) than have multitude of thieves that will keep multiplying and in stay power for eternity. If Marcos stole billions, I promise you the multitude of thieves in power today will steal trillions until the country is completely drain of its wealth.

      You, I, and every dumbasses who call themselves a Failipino will be saluting a Chinese flag someday–since the latter already own most of the Failippines–while we find ourselves out of the country enslaving away to other foreign masters, and the ones left behind will fight and kill each other for crumbs that the oligarchs dropped on the floor. That is not a myth; it is a fact, and all the evidence are right there in front of you to see, if you simply open your mind’s eyes. Man, you really are “confused,” aren’t you?


    2. Untold facts: who and how many among those killed and imprisoned were innocent, activists, rebels or terrorists? Who are the government officials involved?

      There’s so many publications showing such generalized figures but none of them provided a detailed breakdowns or demographics

      Improving econonomy? Increased GDP? But they don’t tell you which classes were getting the biggest pie.

    3. it was happened because the aquino twisted the story…kung meron mag nanakaw mga aquino yon hindi marcos ninakaw nila lahat even the real HISTORY..

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