• Real change is in our hands

    17
    Tita C. Valderama

    Tita C. Valderama

    THE wounds inflicted by martial law run too deep and burying the late dictator on hallowed ground earmarked for heroes only added insult to injury.

    The wounds are beyond healing obviously, as the younger generations are carrying on the fight for justice for victims of martial law atrocities and against continuing oppression by the regimes that came after.

    While street protests are freedoms guaranteed under the Constitution, the protesters’ cries seem to be falling on deaf ears as people in power just ignore them. And in the age of the internet, the outrage is noisier on the social media than on the streets.

    Lest I be misunderstood, I am not undermining the impact of street protests. A few incidents in the past have proven that the so-called parliament of the streets brought about dramatic changes such as the 1986 “people power revolution” that drove the Marcoses out and the 2000 protests against then President Joseph Estrada who was forced to step down in January 2001 on charges of massive corruption.

    But then, after seven years of costly litigation in the Sandiganbayan, Estrada was set free courtesy of a presidential pardon by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who, in turn, was also detained on corruption charges under the administration that succeeded hers, but was freed after the charges were dismissed under the president that followed.

    The Marcoses have been back in power since shortly after they returned from exile in the early 1990s during the presidency of Fidel Ramos. The late dictator’s namesake, Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., nearly became vice president in the last national election. President Duterte has said Marcos Jr. may soon be our vice president, a hint perhaps that he would win his election protest case against Vice President Leni Robredo.

    Former first lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos is a congresswoman of Ilocos Norte, Imee is on her third term as governor of the same province. Imee once served as congresswoman of Ilocos Norte while Imelda represented Leyte. Imelda ran for president in 1992 but lost to Ramos. Bongbong had served as governor, congressman, and senator.

    They may have their bailiwicks in the Ilocos region and the Eastern Visayas, but they got substantial votes as well in other regions. The anti-Marcos campaign anchored on corruption and human rights abuses under martial law obviously did not resonate with the voters.

    We have kept in power corrupt politicians and even given their families extended political control by making public office a lucrative business enterprise for them. They have prostituted the word “public service” by offering to serve for the welfare of the public but ended up enriching themselves and deepening their political influence at the expense of the constituents they promised to serve.

    Something is seriously wrong in the country’s political structure and the electoral system. The Philippines is in deep shit because we are highly politicized. We don’t have a truly independent judiciary from whom people can expect justice. Our legislature is so corrupt with most of its members being blinded by ‘pork’ entitlements.

    The bigger problem is that we have an electorate that is corrupted by corrupt politicians. Many of us would rather take a vacation or stay home instead of casting our vote on Election Day. That is, if they even took time to register and ensured that they are eligible to vote.

    It has been said that bad politicians are the ones elected by good citizens who do not vote.

    In the May 2016 synchronized elections, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) reported a record turnout of 81.62 percent, meaning about 40 million out of the 54.4 million registered voters cast their votes.

    President Duterte’s 16.6 million votes do not constitute a majority, but he got the highest number of votes so he was declared the winner. The 14.4 million who did not vote, and probably millions of others who did not bother to register could have made a big difference in the elections.

    Voters don’t seem to recognize and appreciate their power and obligation to vote. We cannot just keep on whining and protesting when our leaders make wrong and unacceptable decisions. We have the obligation to vote and vote for responsible candidates, not those who can only sing, dance, make jokes, win boxing bouts, and distribute dole-outs.

    Even if all the 16.6 million Filipinos who voted for Duterte see no problem in burying Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, it still was not the sentiment of the majority of the more than 100 million Philippine population. Proceeding with it, and in such a surreptitious manner, smacks of disrespect for the nation.

    While burying Marcos at the heroes’ cemetery was a campaign promise, doing so at this early stage of his presidency is certainly not consistent with Duterte’s other campaign promise of healing the wounds of political divisiveness. It rubbed salt on the political wounds inflicted by martial law.

    Truly, the need for electoral reforms has become more urgent following the events of the past few days, particularly when people occupying positions in the legislature like Senators Tito Sotto and Manny Pacquiao don’t see any violation of the law when the chief law enforcer accepts a present of an all-expenses-paid travel to the United States.

    The problems require not only legislative solutions but also a serious review of the Constitution, including the provisions on the minimum qualification for candidates to public office.

    But first, we have to elect candidates who are credible, responsible and truly public-service oriented. Ultimately, the power is in the hands of voters.

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    17 Comments

    1. Jaime Dela Cruz on

      “We have kept in power corrupt politicians and even given their families extended political control by making public office a lucrative business enterprise for them. They have prostituted the word “public service” by offering to serve for the welfare of the public but ended up enriching themselves and deepening their political influence at the expense of the constituents they promised to serve.”

      This is indeed very accurate analysis. A prime example of this is NoyNoy who didn’t have a clue but was given and kept in politics because his family can do it. A congressman and a senator without any record of a bill or law under his name. And as president? …need I say more?

    2. Jaime Dela Cruz on

      “Even if all the 16.6 million Filipinos who voted for Duterte see no problem in burying Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, it still was not the sentiment of the majority of the more than 100 million Philippine population. Proceeding with it, and in such a surreptitious manner, smacks of disrespect for the nation.”

      “But first, we have to elect candidates who are credible, responsible and truly public-service oriented. Ultimately, the power is in the hands of voters.”

      The writer seems to think that the 16.6 million who voted for Duterte does not constitute majority. She is right if majority means 50%=1 of registered voter. But i like when she said, “ultimately, the power is in the hands of the people”. Why don’t we have a referendum on the burial of Marcos and lay the issue to rest. Political or legal wrangling will only benefit those who work to promote the personal agenda. Let’s go to the “majority” the people and finally find out what the nation truly believe.

    3. to exhume Marcos’ body from the LNB is a ridiculous proposition. And yet some people allow it to lodge in their mind. Di lang nila matanggap na naisahan sila. At kaya naman sila naisahan ay sapagkat hindi sila rin sila sincere sa kanilang pagkontra sa libing. Kaya ang issue na ito ay labanan ng mga insincere at pinaglalaruan ang isipan ng mga tao. Oras na hukayin nila ang katawan ni Marcos, babangon ang mga zombies para kagatin ang leeg ng mga dilaw, pula, berde (balimbing) at iba pang kulay.

    4. Before the campaign and during the campaign digong clearly stated that
      He will allow the burial of marcos at libingan… he was very open and candid about it and he won. So whats all this noice? It just prove that digong is true to his words. Ang mga nagiingay tumigil na kayo. Si digong tumutupad lang sa salita niya. Hindi sinungaling tulad ni abnoy.

    5. The real problem is the Filipino people in general. Most of the people are mediocre and hate or do not trust wise and intelligent people because intelligent people will hi-light their mediocrity. This is the main reason why the crab mentality stick to the Filipinos culture.

      This explains why the electorate keep on voting the incompetent and corrupt politicians. Filipinos are also lazy and complacent, they do not want to take extra effort to know the character and competency of candidates. The media, the academician do not exert effort to provide the electorate better perspective who are the worthy candidates. This is also the reason why so many legible voters do not register, they are lazy to take the queue during registration.

      This laziness and mediocrity is the reason why filipinos do not have critical thinking and wait and see attitude about events and happenings going on in their social milieu .

      • Jaime Dela Cruz on

        “This laziness and mediocrity is the reason why filipinos do not have critical thinking and wait and see attitude about events and happenings going on in their social milieu .”

        I wonder if you got this conclusion from your observation of your Pilipino friends. I suggest you find a different crowd, you are within the wrong circle.

    6. the subject on politicians pretending “public service” is not only applicable to marcos families. it’s for the majority of politicians “serving” this country. so talking of rotten eggs focusing only a specific family abusing Filipinos is not logical which unfortunately what you’re implying. nothing will change if journalist like you will focus on selected rage applicable only for certain family leaving a lot more untouched.

    7. At the very least, phil election is liked a rigged bidding, the most qualified is not even included, or would be eliminated as nuisance and not allowed to run, or bathed in mud. This is ensured by an election administrator that’s worst than a judas.

      What choices will there be? A system that has mastered the hoodwinking and captivity of the people, whose only choices left, are between black and the black hole (unlimited evils).

      That is why, the likes of DU and DT are more palatable by a very far margin, than the usual election fares.

      Looking the usual result, we are morely likely than not, going to elect officials who will be coddlers of big criminal networks, or be the criminals themselves.

      It is not about knowing whom to elect, it’s that there is really no choice, totally bankrupt.

      Simply a failed system. And the writer wants us to be educated to accept such a system? forever?

      What is needed then?

    8. No offense but you should make statements precisely. LNMB is not earmarked for heroes only as the Supreme Court clearly said that even a mere soldier, defense secretary or president can be buried there. Besides being a hero is arguable and could not be tried in the courts. Hero for you maybe not for others. Real victims can file case in court against surviving Martial Law administrator like Enrile and Ramos if they want. But insurgents like rally-rioters, the CPP, leftist hardliners are more of a cause of Martial Law than victims. How could they claim to be victims when they are the ones who perpetuated all sorts of attacks upon the state?

    9. I hope you would also register your anger against the Aquino government and Leni Robredo who instead of fast tracking the building of houses for Yolanda victims, chose corruption and politics. For the Liberal Party to steal votes in the election and install a Fake VP. Nakakasuka kayong mga Journalists na anti-Marcos! Kung nahuli kayo noon, natorture, kasalanan ninyo. Wag ninyong sabihin na magtatalon sa saya ang gobyerno dahil gusto niyo ibagsak. Haler!

    10. because its not only in the Ilocos and Visayas that the projects of marcos had it was the whole country that got irrigation, boats, carabaos and kadiwa grocery center the project of marcos was far reaching to the whole country.
      The technical skills center “MAnpower” Didnt judge whether you are bisaya or ilocano, you only had to be Filipino.
      There a lot of ordinary Filipinos who owes gratitude to the marcoses thats why Bongbong almost won, The Filipinos are saying if that is what it takes for FEM to be buried then we will elect bongbong.
      I do not think Bongbong will go for election on 2022, its over the narrative of the Marcoses vs Aquinos didnt help the poor of the country. sadly this narrative took into hostage the Filipinos who are still dirt poor. and is still struck in traffic.

    11. The yellows led by Cory delivered us from Marcos in 1986. These same yellows saved us from Erap in 2001. The yellow prince Boy Sayad saved us from Manny Villar of C-5 fame and again, Erap, in 2010. You are still not happy with the changes that they wrought? Why, what happened? HARHARHARHARHAR !!!!

    12. To tell you, honestly, Ms. Valderrama, I’ve voted in every election even during the last candidacy of the Beloved (?) dictator which kept me and wife and all the rest standing in line for hours under the searing heat of the sun… I had hoped that other kababayans would vote for love of their right…but till now (at my senior age) I fail to witness Mang Tibo, Ka Ute, and Inday Mameng going to the polls with the honest intent of voting for the right candidate. Kailan kaya magma-mature ang electorate ng ating Bansa?

    13. Yes! Answer that Madam!! I am sure you won’t because you are a YELLOWTARd. And until we get rid of your kind, these Country will never move on.

    14. Of course you are right, Madam, but how can you do that with our bad comelec officials who are corrupt? Do you think Leni, Laila and others won if not for those Noynoys appointed comelec/smartmatic mafias?