Pope Francis on forgetting; Bongbong Marcos’s presidential run


Vatican-speak is tough to decipher. Even those trained in fathoming the goings-on at Kremlin during the heyday of the USSR will have a tough time cracking the codes of the ways and the by-ways in the Holy See. It is the Fort Knox of secrecy.

The new Pope, Pope Francis, is a welcome break from those who shut off Vatican and severed its links to the outside world. Vatican-watchers, under that long reign of secrecy, were reduced to bungling Kremlinologists, feeding off on morsels of intrigue and body language. He is a pope of candidness and candor, subverting, at times, the stuffy, ultra-traditionalist ways of Vatican. He knows that the aloofness of the previous popes, the rigid adherence to inapplicable doctrines, had strained the relationship of the Church with its flock. And he goes about in changing that image of cocooned Church.

What can be a more welcome dateline for a news story that this one: Aboard the Papal Plane.

Yet, his recent statement about “We don’t have the right not to forget,” has so many meanings that we don’t how it would apply in real-life, real-world situations.

Because one interpretation is this: Senator Marcos Jr., can perfectly run for president without the baggage of the past. People should forget about the Marcos rule and let the son run for president if he wishes to. Pope Francis seemed to say this : The past is past and let the son be unencumbered by the sins of the father.

There is a general, universal admiration for the new pope . Catholics, amazed by his freshness and candor, have forgotten how he sort of waltzed with the dictators and tyrants of Latin America’s tragic past. At this stage of his inspiring papacy, we really have forgotten that blot on his priestly life .

But we have a question. Does forgetting means giving a fresh slate to everybody, unequivocally and without any question? Does that mean blanket forgiveness?

Does it mean that Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., can file his candidacy for president and appeal to us for votes without us being reminded of the personal and national hurt that we suffered under his father’s presidency?

Or, were the words of Pope Francis on forgiveness limited in application? We really have to be guided accordingly.

Senator Marcos, even if were vacillating a bit on his presidential plans, knows one thing. The ideal time to run for president is 2016. It can’t be six years after 2016. The people pushing his presidential bid are not really young politicians and technocrats who are younger than him. They are remnants of his father’s regime—the young lieutenants of his father’s presidency who are 65 and beyond. They are still around for one last taste of political glory—but not that long. They can’t be around forever.

The sentiment of the Solid North, where a nostalgia for the Marcos regime still throbs, may not be that intense by 2022. The young today that would mature and vote in 2022 maybe not as in awe of the Marcos name as the current generation of the Northern electorate.

By 2022, should he make his run in that election cycle, he would be an old candidate compared with possible candidates Grace Poe or Bam Aquino. And Mr. Marcos knows fully well how cruel voters are toward candidates of a certain age.

It has to be 2016.

The central question that is asked by the most ardent Marcos supporters, what they perceive as the heaviest drag to a presidential run in 2016, is this: Can we airbrush history and create an environment of forgetfulness? The chilling images of the 2013 campaign, which saw the loss of an early survey frontrunner, Jack Enrile, because of already ancient stories that linked him to killings, are enough to give the Marcos boosters a pause. And a real scare.

What if the political enemies of Mr. Marcos post photos of the martial law martyrs?

The Tagamolila brothers, Edgar Jopson and a host of iconic names that are inscribed at the Bantayog ng Mga Bayani? Photos speak a thousand words and work up a thousand emotions. Plus Ninoy Aquino’s bloodied boy on the airport tarmac, and the limp, mangled bodies of the other martyrs.

People can forget about the overseas wealth, the layering of overseas property, the billions of pesos worth of assets parked in the tax havens. But a photo gallery of martyrs is something that would still shock the voters born after the declaration of martial rule.

The declaration of Pope Francis, that “We don’t have the right not to forget,” was stated on a very opportune time for the boosters of Mr. Marcos’s presidential run. An electoral manna from the least likely source. Of course, forgiving those who seek forgiveness is a bedrock teaching of the Church, and Pope Francis just phrased it aptly, perhaps to temper the rage of those in the troubled parts of the world such as Egypt, where Egyptians are killing Egyptians .

Maybe Pope Francis was just telling the troubled and violent parts of the world to shake off the old grudges, no matter how deep, so societies can start afresh.

Still, Mr. Marcos and his camp can use it to unencumber his presidential run of the baggage of history. And run on the undying Christian themes of forgiveness and redemption.


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  1. Ramon Andino Cinco on

    To some who who were leftists during the 60s and 70s, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos was a dictator, hence a bad president. But we should not forget that Pres. Marcos had also some remarkable achievements which until now the Filipinos could be proud of. As to somebody who became a hero for being an in-born oppositionist during the Marcos era well he was just too lucky that his wife became a president by destiny. She too had no achievement to speak except that of being a Marcos basher.

  2. Why so harsh on Sen. Marcos? Maybe comparing his records as a politician with the one in Malacang he will come out better. There is no proof until today that it was
    Marcos who ordered the assassination of Aquino. Otherwise the case had been closed when Cory became President. The one who ordered it may be laughing his/her way in and out of the Palace.We don’t know.If it is true that they have the money kept in the banks abroad so let him bring them home make more project so that more people can have work and earn a decent living.Rather than living on dreams promised by unreliable politician.

  3. that’s exactly the reason why we are not moving up. we allow ourselves to live in the shadow of the past. why do you think we have another unprepared aquino in the palace now, yet another aquino or poe lining up? for me if anyone who could start rewriting the history of the philippines, to correct and write the real one, he has my vote. enough for these lies and systematic manipulation to keep our people dumb. the aquinos from cory to now are fake. they are not really serious in serving people. they just happened to be there. the same thing with poe. why she’s up there so suddenly is like magic. she is still collecting her thought why she is there, maybe. thanks to pinoy 20m votes as announced by comelec earlier then dropped to 16m by no known reason, another magic. leading a country with 97m people is very serious thing. these people are not fitted to that. the people of this country is taking for a ride big time, for a long time.

  4. Of course, the enemies of Marcos will do everything to stop Bongbong from winning the Presidency. But let them be. In fact we should encourage them to go all out.

    Afterwards, let the people decide.

  5. Voice from the Wilderness on

    Indeed, Bongbong Marcos is a viable alternative presidential bet comes 2016 in contrast to the other front running presidential bets in the person of Vice Pres Binay, Mar Roxas and probably Sen Grace Poe who are all obviously allies of the present inept president. With Sen Marcos as president, the country will come full circle and who knows a peaceful revolution for the good of the country can be in the offing to atone for the perceived political sins of his family and by also making the the cursed aquino clan demystified and likewise account for their political sins to the nation. Surely the good Senator have painfully learned from the debacle they suffered when they were in power and it will serve him in good stead on what is really to be done to bring this nation to its deserve greatness.

    • Juan De La Cruz on

      This is probably one of the most idiotic political analyses I have ever read. Apparently, you are not aware that hundreds if not thousands of people died during the Marcos regime, 10 Billion Dollars stolen and caused the Philippine growth to stagnate not only for the 20 years the Dictator Ferdinand Marcos was in power, but for 15 more years of economic hardship. Wake up and look at the what the Marcoses has done to the country. Until now we are still paying for the foreign aid and kickbacks they have stolen. Just because you probably came from the same province of the dictator doesn’t give your answer any semblance of an objective analysis let alone basic human sympathy for the suffering of the Filipino people. Please let your blind loyalties give way to a sober and objective assessment of our countries situation.

    • ENOUGH….ENOUGH….ENOUGH of those MARCOSES…they were the Evils that still lingers in Philippine Politics and some politicians are even copy cats of them…they should even be allowed to roam around in the Philippines…

  6. The Filipino people should never, never allow another Marcos become President of the country, most especially any one of children of Pres. Marcos. Any one of the children of Marcos is the beneficiary of billions of Marcos loot.

    The senatorial seat for Bongbong should be the highest elected position that any one of the Marcos children can get. But the Presidency should never be given by the Filipino voters to Marcos. Never, never, again.

    • Better to let him run and win than let another incompetent aquino get the presidency.
      Another Aquino presidency will definitely spell DOOM for the philippines.

  7. First of all, Sen. Marcos had no choice of who his father should have been; secondly, what did he do or could have done, for what his father did; and, total forgiveness is the essence of Christian forgiveness, if he did sin and he asks forgiveness for it.

    • Juan De La Cruz on

      He has the choice to return the money their family has stolen from the Filipino people.