On Bonifacio Day, venerating the unworthy

Marlen V. Ronquillo

Marlen V. Ronquillo

A BROMANCE with Mr. Putin is something that is tough to explain. Yet, the man soon to wear the tag “ most powerful man on earth” has a man-crush on Mr. Putin. Mr. Trump says Mr. Putin is the leader he most wants to be. Strong, decisive. Can crush political opponents at will. Can establish new versions of the“ gulags” without alarming most of the world. Even capable of annexing territories.

But is Mr. Putin really a great and awesome leader? In leveraging Russia’s nukes to the max and crushing his political opponents, he is. But on the most important criteria of making lives better for his people–-and leveraging his country’s economic resources to the max–-he has been mediocre, to say the least.

What is Russia now? A failed petrostate with much of the economy controlled by Putin’s political allies and business cronies. Even with the gift of peak oilfor around a 10-year run, Mr. Putin failed to use those oil boom years to transform and diversify his country’s economy. After the collapse of oil prices, Mr. Putin’s economy likewise sank into what now appears to be an irreversible downturn.

Even on the most basic and cost-free policy, nurturing the prodigious talent of theRussian minorities, Mr. Putin has dismally failed. The technology talent that is now driving the tech boom in Tel Aviv (the second best in the world terms of many parameters and benchmarks), is partly powered by immigrants from Russia.

What classes of people have Mr. Putin nurtured? And who, in turn, showered him with all the praise and the affection. Hackers, assassins, war-freak bikers and entire courts of docile supplicants. And this is an all-too-familiar story, enablers from within the Orthodox Church, Mammon and Religion riding in tandem.

Mr. Marcos, as Rep. EdcelLagman has proposed, should have been buried at the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, the project that handed over to Mr. Marcos an $80 million kickback. That was for a project that could have dealt Apocalypse on vast swaths of Central Luzon had it been made fully operational. Mt. Natib, where the rusting nuke plant rests, is one giant sinkhole.

Let us set aside the question about medals and heroism and focus on the management side of the supposedly “ brilliant” and “ competent “ Mr. Marcos. When Mr. Marcos assumed power in 1965, the outstanding debt was $600 million. After his fall in 1986, the total debt was $26 billion and the Philippine economy was a certified basket case.

In 1983, according to data from Ibon, debt was 91 percent of GDP and more than 500 percent of export earnings. So prostrate was the country that imports had to be paid in cash. What flourished under Mr. Marcos except for the runaway debt? Insurgency, poverty and civil strife.

What kind of hero and leader would leave his country a basket case. Even the nut cases among the Marcos trolls would have a hard time twisting facts to defend the economic record of Mr. Marcos.

The uncertainty and excitement that have been generated by the administration of Mr. Duterte have pushed so-called members of civil society, and some business groups, to wish for the staid and orthodox governance of Mr. Aquino. These groups consider Mr. Aquino a worthy leader .

I don’t. The “rough ride” under Mr. Duterte may take us to hell–or to heaven. There is a big possibility that it will be heaven.

The nostalgia for Mr. Aquino is a flawed sentiment. Mr. Aquino was the flag carrier for social darwinism and his government was a government“ by the Top 1 percent, of the Top 1 percent and for the Top 1 percent.“ The vulnerable human lives, I , my neighbors, my friends, were all invisible to Mr. Aquino.

Mr. Aquino created an impressive class of dollar billionaires, yet allowed many areas in remote regions of the Visayas and Mindanao to remain in the squalor of 80 and 70 percent poverty levels. The consistent GDP growth never lifted ordinary lives. Ten million children remained in the malnourished list, bound to live wasted, stunted lives as adults.

Mr. Aquino overtly never waged mass murder but his neglect of the underclass was the equivalent of intensifying the rich-poor divide, violating the Scripture’s call for helping the sectors so identified in the Sermon on the Mount. Do you still recall how he treated with scorn and loathing the token legislation for the underclass?

His failed policies, I will have to repeat this, incubated the resurrection of the Marcoses. So complete is the resurrection of the Marcoses that even the sidekick of Imee Marcos at the KB is now UP president, the most prestigious academic position in the countr .

On Bonifacio Day 2016, the veneration of the unworthy is the new normal. The great hero of the working class and true revolutionary must be twisting and turning in his grave.


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  1. You were wrong about your assessment of Nate Silver as a most reliable pollster- he predicted that Trump was going to lose badly- as you were wrong in your appreciation of Boy Sayad’s capabilities and promises in the 2010 election. How do we know then that you are right in your assessment of Marcos and Putin this time when these two are certainly more complex questions than Silver’s polling or Boy Sayad’s heart and brain?