First of two parts
THERE are thinkers and there are thinkers, but of the many ill thoughts spawned by the specter of Marcos Martial Law, none has succeeded in debunking the strongman’s words:
“In politics, there are no permanent enemies, there are only temporary allies.”
Marcos was proof of his words. In the lead up to the presidential election in 1965, he was Senate President determined to contest the incumbent President Diosdado Macapagal.
But by the principle of the equity of the incumbent, Macapagal enjoyed the privilege of being the official candidate of the Liberal Party of which Marcos was a member, too. What Marcos did was bolt to the Nacionalista Party and talked the NP presidential aspirant Fernando Lopez into sliding down to the vice presidential slot in favor of him as the NP standard bearer. The arrangement struck up between the two, so reports went, was that Marcos, should he win as president, would relinquish the presidential slot to Lopez come next election – which never happened, because the former, after winning as president in 1965, reneged on his promise not to seek reelection; Marcos ran again in 1969 and, again winning, proceeded to set the stage for his dictatorship that would last up to 1986.
In reverse, then Tarlac Governor Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., a member of the Nacionalista Party, who had turncoated to the Liberal Party when that party came to power at Malacañang, ran and emerged winner as an LP in the mid-term senatorial elections in 1967.
Turncoatism has been so institutionalized in Philippine politics that it has become the rule of thumb among politicians, particularly on the eve of elections when a clear winner is in sight and those aboard the losing cart leap into the bandwagon of the victor.
Now, barely two months to elections time, Senator Bongbong Marcos is clearly in sight as the next vice president. While, as Marcos mandated, there appears already a trend among politicians to jump into Bongbong’s bandwagon, the Yellow Cult that sprang from the legend of Ninoy’s homecoming in 1983 embarks on a hate campaign quite reminiscent in form and in substance of the demonizing that Ninoy unleashed against Marcos in the tumult of the 70s and well into the entire period of martial law.
Come to think it. Imperial Japan aggressed the Philippines in World War II, her forces heaping untold woes, miseries, and horrors upon the Filipino people, but as early as 1960 we had completed a return to normal friendly relations – all to our two countries’ mutual benefits. It had needed less than two decades for the wounds of war to completely heal.
But the Aquino hate campaign against Marcos has gone the long course of two scores and four and now gives signal that it is not about to end ever, but on the contrary to even grow stronger now that the prospects are turning, oh, so bright for Bongbong becoming the country’s vice president in just a matter of less than three months.
It is as if the woes, miseries, and horrors, if at all, of the Marcos reign far outweigh those of the Japanese occupation in WWII so that while Japan had long been forgiven by the Filipino people, the damning of Marcos must continue on and on.
Can the former dictator be turning in his grave now (or more appropriately in his chiller, for his remains remain preserved in a refrigerated chamber in Ilocos where the past three decades it has been waiting a hero’s entombment in the Libingan ng mga Bayanni) in the face of a renewed demonizing he is currently getting from his enemies of old?
Anti-Marcos diehards, claiming for credentials to being revolutionaries a variety of maltreatment from the martial law administration, launched last February 22 the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanang (CARMMA). In a manifesto released by the organizers of the group for the occasion, it declared: “The Filipino people booted the Marcoses out of the presidential palace – and out of the country – in 1986.
After sometime, they wormed their way back to Philippine politics. Thirty years hence (sic), the Marcos grand scheme to recapture Malacanang long planned by the Marcos cabal, is just a stride away – if Ferdinand E. Marcos becomes vice-president. A mere walk in the park could be the presidency, courtesy of the plunder of the people’s money by the Marcos conjugal dictatorship.
“For this reason, we have formed CARMMA – Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanang. We say no to Bongbong Marcos as vice president – because he is not the guiltless son that he presents himself to be.”
To the discerning, that opener reeks of deceit, at best a misrepresentation of actual transpirations alluded to in 1986, EDSA 1. It was not the Filipino people that “booted the Marcoses out of the presidential palace – and out of the country – in 1986.” Granting there was truth to the claim that two million warm bodies constituted the EDSA 1 crowd, was that enough to make up “the Filipino people”? The Philippine population was rounding off at 60 million at the time. How much is 2 of 60, a very measly 3 %. How presumptuous of those yellow puppies to proclaim themselves as the Filipino nation.
Make no mistake, the yellow puppies did not topple Marcos; the US did, kidnapped the Marcoses and brought them to Hawaii, thus throwing Malacañang open to the rampaging mob that were the EDSA 1 marauders.
If EDSA 1 turned out bloodless, it was for no other reason than Marcos vehemently refusing to turn it bloody. The whole nation was agape at that television coverage of General Fabrian Ver, then AFP Chief of Staff, urging President Marcos to disperse the EDSA 1 crowd with gunfire, but Marcos, evidently with restrained rage at Ver’s urging, just refused, ordering instead to simply use water hoses for dispersing the crowd on Edsa.
The history of martial law – which in fact may be written as the history of the Third Epoch of the Philippine Revolution (the First Epoch being the 300-year-struggle against Spanish colonization, and the Second Epoch, against American aggression and its subsequent sponsored succession of regimes by the local bourgeoisie) – has suffered much from biased reportage, that is, biased against Marcos. It is quite risky, therefore, to gather knowledge of that history simply from media reports, more so from revolutionary pretenders whose politics is driven by selfish hurt and insatiable vindictiveness, let alone greed for spoils, to the utter neglect of the pragmatic, primordial need to keep the nation moving on. Nothing can beat accounts by people who had taken part in the shaping of that history, like Senator Kit Tatad and Ambassador Rigoberto D. Tiglao, whose recent writings in this paper have been dealing with the topic. Though standing on opposite poles of martial law, they speak from the heart and their words cannot but converge in an honest picture of what actually happened.
I wish to go the path they tread
In 2010 I wrote an essay, “Knowing Ninoy Aquino,” which I hoped to publish into a book but not having enough funds for the undertaking, I succeeded only in publishing it in my blog KAMAO.
(End of Part 1. Part 2 appears tomorrow Sunday March 6.)