New kid on the block

New kid on the block Featured

BY Easter, when Christ has risen, the Bongbong may have caused the Marcos name to also rise again. I may be damned for blasphemy — but what the hell! The opposition was given the opportunity in the last two months to unite and create a momentum to prevent a Marcos from rising from the dead. This Easter Sunday, three oppositionist candidates stopped the impetus dead on its tracks. And fittingly for the Lenten season, one among them is someone's mole. A kiss of death by a Judas Iskoriot! It now appears that the fragmented opposition is comatose. BBM with his message of unity — fake or not — has won the day. So, congratulations to the Marcos family. You are back!

The Philippine political ecosystem will drastically change with BBM at the helm. He will reign as our president, but can he rule? To do that, he will need the opposition and those elected to flock to his side. This is a no-brainer as in the patronage system of Philippine politics, the opportunistic elected officials always gravitate to the power center — the presidency. It is the nature of the beast as what happened to the Deegong when opportunistic politicians swamped his adopted PDP-Laban — owned it then transformed it to a caricature of a once formidable ideological party, now broken with its members waiting to suck up to the next patron.

This structural defect will persist for as long as no corrected measures are applied. On the other hand, Marcos must magnanimously engage the anti-Marcos remnants and Filipino constituencies, listening in to their varied demands, longings and aspirations, unfulfilled for the past 36 years since his father was booted out.

The Marcos years

I was not eligible to vote in 1965 for Marcos' first term. I campaigned hard for Raul Manglapus against Makoy and President Dadong Macapagal. Marcos did well in his first term, pursuing aggressive infrastructure and agricultural development programs and putting in his Cabinet world-class technocrats. He tried to break the centuries-old hold of the landowning ruling class on the economy by systematically cultivating his own group of entrepreneurs and industrialists. He made war with the communists. The Philippine economic trajectory was on the way up.

I campaigned for Makoy and voted for him for his second term in 1969 — a first-time presidential voter at 24 years old. But the very people he elevated to the pinnacles of industries assumed upon themselves the combined role of technocrats and capitalists — and with his blessing allowed the formation of monopolies within these industries. In lieu of the old oligarchy, he created his own — a new breed of cronies and bureaucrat capitalists — fueled by "behest loans" to expand their turf. Gradually the rapacious nature of the man began to emerge, complemented by his alluring political wife Imelda. This organized plunder sucked out the blood of the Filipinos down to the bone marrow. Thus began the descent on a slippery slope toward perdition. I have been anti-Marcos from then on.

The first to third quarter storms were raging. Wanting to extend his term, Marcos perverted the 1971 Constitutional Convention. He declared martial law in September and by December a draft was submitted to Marcos. This was revised further and ratified by the Filipinos in a sham show of hands — subsequently proclaimed as the 1973 Marcos Constitution, extending his term by changing the government to a parliamentary system with him as president. He had Cesar Virata appointed as prime minister with a compliant unicameral Batasang Pambansa. But in fact, he ruled by decree reducing Virata to the proverbial "tawo-tawo sa humayan" (a figurehead).

After the fall

The EDSA People Power ending the Marcos era, to the subsequent post-Cory regimes witnessed the vilification of Marcos as a matter of course. The tragedy was that the Cory administration and the succeeding ones never did present themselves as the harbingers of change; not even the assumption to power of Cory's son — who should never have been allowed to lead our people in the first place. This continued demonization couldn't upend the residual affection shown by Ilocanos of the north from whence a political comeback was orchestrated. The Marcos rehabilitation was complete with the burial of Makoy at the Libingan and mga Bayani; the political strategy of the Deegong as payback for the Marcos support for his presidency in 2016 and the coming midterm elections of 2018. But today, unable to get his way by having his independent-minded daughter Sara run for president — a sure winner to the Deegong's mind — he turned around and spat at the Marcos son. A madman's act!

A new narrative

My generation and the governments we supported have bungled their way these past 36 years — from Cory to FVR to Erap to GMA to PNoy and to the Deegong. It was they who paradoxically collectively primed the stage for the return of the prodigal son!

And he is supported — if the numbers are true — by a majority of the Filipinos, many of whom have no inkling whatsoever of life under a dictatorship. And who never knew nor cared about Marcos the father — but could relate with Marcos the son. We the sexagenarians and septuagenarians of the Baby Boomers and Generation X along with the Yellow crowd of PNoy have utterly failed. With their support for the Bongbong, let the millennials and the Generation Z do their thing — and if necessary, allow them to fail if they must.

A tidal wave?

"There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune" – Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Awaiting this tide, we anti-Marcos, those who lived under the tumultuous days of Ferdinand Makoy and the conjugal dictatorship are a dying breed, ravaged by time, the onslaught of the pandemic and pure ennui. Towards the end of our lives and in the face of this new political regime, we need to dichotomize our emotional antecedents from the current realities, our hatred for a ghost of the father and everything he stood for that our sad experiences have imposed on us. Admittedly, it's hard to reconcile the dictum "you can't visit the sins of the father upon the child." I will not even attempt to ask the Bongbong to apologize for the father. Let him navigate his own path.

But we should not wish him to fail. His failure is the country's too. But we should never allow him license. Filipinos understand only too well the filial responsibility to cleanse and honor the memory of his father. But central to this cleansing process is for the son to do good by the Filipino, as the president for all. Avowals that martial law and what his father did was good are of no consequence, prone to open old wounds. He has to prove it by his deeds. Atonement as demanded by the anti-Marcos may not be appropriate too — as a son must cling to the fiction that a father is seldom wrong. But he was. The son's victory may have partially exculpated the father's sins.

But blind Lady Justice may still have her say!

Read 771 times Last modified on Wednesday, 27 April 2022 11:35
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