The transfiguration of President Aquino into King Canute

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FOR President Aquino’s bizarre transfiguration into King Canute at the 30th anniversary commemoration of  the Edsa People power revolt,  Filipinos should either credit or blame the New York Times.

It was America’s most influential  newspaper,  with its report that “Filipinos are yearning for the Golden Age of Marcos,” that impelled the President  to launch a tirade against the Marcos family, and caused him to ask our people not to vote for Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr  for vice president in the May elections.

Trying to prove to the world and his supporters that he  can still control events in  the Philippines, he committed himself to halting the rising tide of support for Bongbong’s candidacy. But like King Canute in  the legend, Aquino will most likely get his feet wet.

What the legend says
In the legend and the chronicles, it is told that Canute, king of England and Denmark in the 12th century, went to the seashore joined by his courtiers.


As narrated by Henry of Huntingdon, Canute with great vigor commanded that his chair be set on the shore, when the tide began to rise. And then he spoke to the rising sea, saying “You are part of my dominion, and the ground that I am seated upon is mine, nor has anyone disobeyed my orders with impunity. Therefore, I order you not to rise onto my land, nor to wet the clothes or body of your Lord.” But the sea carried on rising as usual without any reverence for his person, and soaked his feet and legs.

Moving away, Canute declared: “All the inhabitants of the world should know that the power of kings is vain and trivial, and that none is worthy of the name of king but He whose command the heaven, earth and sea obey by eternal laws.”

Afterwards, King Canute never again placed the crown on his head, but placed it instead above a picture of the Lord nailed to the cross.

Are we headed to the same denouement in BS Aquino’s frenzied effort to stop the election of Bongbong and his possible accession to the presidency?

Before discussing how this plot will be resolved, let’s turn back to the instigator of Aquino’s tranfiguration, the New York Times.

Stop butting heads with Supreme Court

The NYT has the penchant of getting under Aquino’s skin.

On August 28, 2014, at a time when Aquino was crossing swords with the Supreme Court over the disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), and was nursing hopes of running for a second term, the NY Times published a scathing editorial entitled “Political Mischief in the Philippines.”

It bluntly told Aquino that his actions “jeopardize Philippine democracy.”

It reported that the Supreme Court, by a 13-to-0 vote, struck down an Aquino spending program, saying “he had exceeded his authority in disbursing funds and that parts of the program consisted of irregular pork-barrel spending.”

The editorial concluded emphatically: “Mr. Aquino should uphold the Constitution of a fragile democracy if only out of respect for his father and for his mother. In practical terms, this means he should stop butting heads with the Supreme Court and gracefully step down when his term is up.”

Overnight, all talk of an Aquino second term stopped.

The following January, when Pope Francis came to visit the country, Aquino tried to grab the spotlight from him by lecturing the Holy Father and insulting the Church in Malacañang.

The Golden Age of Marcos

This time around, the wounding piece of journalism is a N NY Times report timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the EDSA revolt.

Written by Fred Whaley, it reported that  “As Filipinos prepare for the 30th anniversary on of the ‘People Power’ revolution that toppled Ferdinand E. Marcos, the Marcos legacy is undergoing a political renaissance by those who claim it was a ‘golden age’ of peace and prosperity.”

It quoted Richard Negre, a Manila resident who was born two years after Marcos was overthrown. He said: “I think Marcos was our best president. That was when the Philippines was the leader of Asia. We were respected.”

The Times’ big revelation is that the family’s political resurgence is being led by Marcos’s son, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., a popular senator who is tied for first place in the vice president’s race for the May 9 national election.

The report went on to quote other citizens who testified affirmatively for the Marcoses, and some who cast a skeptical eye on them.

It quoted Imelda Orduña, a 70-year-old retired schoolteacher, who said she remembers well the time of Marcos when there was no traffic, police officers did not extract bribes and criminals were on the run.

Another citizen, a customer service operator, said Bongbong Marcos was putting forward a proposal for the future that will bring back the best of the Marcos years.

She said, “That was a time when our economy was booming. Even Imelda did a lot of good things. She shared our culture with the world. I can forgive her for having so many shoes.”

It also gave space to one Aquino spokesman who said that the country is more successful now than it was under Mr. Marcos. “We are now known as Asia’s rising star, an investment-grade economy and an example of good governance.”

But the final word was given to a young woman of 26, who spends hours each day battling traffic to get to work and is frustrated by the current government.

“During the time of martial law, the Philippines was disciplined,” she said as she gestured toward a group of jaywalkers dodging vehicles and blocking traffic. “People don’t even know how to cross the street now.”

Who will have the last word?

Who will have the last word? Noynoy Aquino or Bongbong Marcos?

Will the tide obey President Aquino and turn away from Bongbong?

Or will the tide keep surging forward, soak Aquino’s feet in water, and carry Bongbong to victory in May?

I’ve seen and covered too many of these political contests not to know where the wind is blowing, and when the writing is on the wall.

Come May 9, the Filipino King Canute (BS Aquino) will discover that his feet are wet.
And Bongbong Marcos will wake up to a morning, knowing that his time has indeed come.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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32 Comments

  1. Chemical brothers on

    It is his destiny (BBM) to become the Vice President. The Edsa revolution is a hoax, a false democracy to deceive the people for their secret agenda to make the Filipino people suffer and the oligarchs will enjoy the everlasting benefits at the expense of the gullible citizen. Their main objective is to brainwash and control the mind of the people by using the media, television and news while they are sucking all the resources of our country. Wake up people the Yellow regime is out there to ruin our values, honor, tradition and customs as a Filipino citizen. Now you can seldom see any respectful citizen to the elders while riding into the public transportation to give way for any sits available. Where are the good traits or values that teaches as in school? all of these were removed by the yellowtards because they don’t want to remember that Marcos is the best President of our nation.

  2. Pnoy after winning the presidency should have united the country. All his enemies should have been forgiven and should have hired the best mind and talent in his cabinet and in his government. Kaya lang vindictive siya. Bat kaya di pa nagaasawa ang gaganda naman ng nallink sa kanya. HUmmmm

  3. Makabenta, what does it say about the Philippines that the scion of the country’s worst dictator is looked upon as a (if not the) leading prospect for the vice presidency and therefore even the presidency. From a family that thinks Malacanang was wrongfully taken from them and makes no apologies for the transgressions and atrocities of the past hauntingly comes a sire full of hubris galloping ominously back to a dark and depressing chapter of Philippine history.

    If BS Marcos slithers his way up the stepping stool of the vice presidency and eventually into the presidency the Philippines will find itself to be the one that’s all wet and soaked in tears all over again.

    At least King Canute (according to probably the most important Anglo-Norman historian of his time, Henry of Hundingdon) seems to have been a good king who displayed wisdom and humility and tried to teach his courtiers common sense by leading them to the shore and revealing the absurdity of his subjects’ pronouncements and or beliefs. Your account of King Canute is twisted or off.

    The modern day Canute is telling the Philippines that it should not put it’s chips on black Marcos. Why take the chance? Is boy Marcos really the top choice for the Vice Presidency? What is so special about him or the Marcoses that the country should allow them back into power? Did the Philippines learn nothing from the past?

    • If only you try to talk to ordinary people, 90% of them say it was Marcos time when they felt safe from criminals and their environs. It was the time when they felt the best life. It is only the people who transgressed the authority, those people who wanted to be leaders too who got burned. For why the military went after them if they were not “pasaways”. Ordinary people are yearning for those times and I’m one of them.

  4. kaya tigilan ng mga yellowista ang kanilang imahinasyon, dahil from this year hinding hindi na makaupo sa kahit position ang mga Aquino family sa gobyerno lalong lalo na sa malacanang. Marami silang kasalanan sa mamayang Filipino. Pinaboran nilang magigi ang mga KKK nila at hindi ang nakakaraming mahirap na Filipino. Lahat ng proyekto ng ipinagawa ni Marcos ay hindi nila ipinagpatuloy tulad ng BNPP na siyang magsasalba sa ating economic and industrial facility.. Aside from infrasturcure . I dont belive who says na mahirap ang trabaho nuong araw, isa ako sa palaing nakakakita ng trabaho, baka tamad lang kayong maghanap ng trabaho nuong araw, and also hindi mahigpit sa educational attaintment nuong araw, high school gradiuate ka may trabaho ka…ngayon kung hindi ka graduate ng college wala ka rin trabaho..Nung araw maraming trabaho, kung masipag ka lang at hindi ka mamimili.. kaya i dont believe na nagsabi na mahirap ang trabaho.. All public buses ay by zoning.. may kanya kanyang hintuan ang buses.. hindi k basta makababa kung hindi talaga sa station nila…ngayon kahit saan ka pumara, hihinto ang bus. nuong araw no way… pati ang mga conductor nong araw ay polite..
    iyan lang po…

  5. Two things are clear regarding that stupid New York Times writer. Either he was on drugs or was totally unclear about the legend that was Canute to even dare write that Filipinos yearn for a Marcos return. He must have been paid by a Marcos relative living in NYC. Ferdinand Marcos’ regime absolutely was the “Golden Age” of corruption in the Philippines. He was the real Canute.

    Marcos’ corruption is unmatched anywhere in the world as written in detail by top investigative author Sterling Seagrave in his book “Marcos Dynasty.”

  6. During Marcos time there was heavy traffic that’s why they started the LRT. There were no jobs. It was a bleak furture for fresh graduates. Today, you just have to hurdle the traffic to get to your job ! Fresh graduates look forward to a bright future ahead. This is the difference !!!

  7. During Marcos time there was traffic and no jobs. Today, you just have to hurdle traffic to get to your job. That’s the difference !

    • Jobs where?!people are hoping to work abroad to have a bright future as future in the Philippines is bleak!?people are caught in traffic, to look for jobs!!

  8. Sabi ng Lola ko noong panahon ni Marcos kapag kumakain ang maraming mga Pilipino ay nagkakamay dahil sa kahirapan, ngayon naka kutsara na dahil LUGAW na lang ang kinakain. Saan ka pa diyan

  9. Problema sa Pinas,puro pulitika.Pondo,serbisyo,ekonomiya,industriya pati kasaysayan pinulitika.Kaya kahit walang kwentang komento ay pinupulitika.

  10. Leodegardo Pruna on

    P-Noy cannot know where he stands. The people should asked Ateneo to release his psychological records so the people with understanding could at least bend a little to give way to such deficiency since anyway he is about to exit. Otherwise, the conditions now obtaining may lead to an unforgiving society where not only he but also to a president close to his heart (if ever) who led and left behind hate and vengeance which P-Noy himself continues to exercise. God save the Philippines.

    • Agree. It is losing readers, and money, as it has become a mouthpiece for liberals and the Democratic Party. It’s always pushing an agenda aimed at accomplishing a specific end. The days when it was the number one newspaper in the USA are long gone. Online reporting from various sources is now the main “go to for news” for many people. Thank God for the internet!!

    • And you also forget that the way the Aquino regimes treated us Filipinos in itself constitute atrocities being committed against our dignity as nation? Are you a proud member of the Yellowistas?

    • the atrocities you are thinking of are happening also at present. if you are talking about cronyism, they never left the scene. only faces change. cory had the kamaganak inc and the insulares group, erap had kumpales, fvr and arroyo had cronies and benito boy sisi has kkk. corruption by politicians is still present. murders, tortures and arbitrary arrests are still happening. the only thing different is the free press. during martial law, the manila times, tribune and standard will not be allowed to exist.

  11. Sir,
    Let me put it in the scale of justice.
    Marcos Golden Age:
    Infrastructure projects erected including nuclear plant mindful at time that we need energy security; the Masagana 99; A lot of pro people projects like the Heart Center , National Kidney now being privatized, etc;

    -Human Rights abuses; Extrajudicial killings, etc.

    -A kleptocratic kind of corruption;

    -Lost our freedom and more

    With Aquino going canute:

    THRU PPP defeats the very core foundation of our Constiution ; “the general welfare of the people is the Supreme Law”;

    -Extrajudicial killings including media practitioners and continuing debasement of our cultural minorities;

    -Endemic corruption why his administration turned our Nation into pigsty Republic;

    and,

    -Ilegal drugs now became No.1 National Security threat.

    Marcos golden age got lupus.

    In our TIME, we regain our freedom but lost our golden opportunities after EDSa1

    Kaya ako po ay Solid North

  12. Hindi lang paa ang mababasa kay Pnoy kungdi malulunod rin siya sa pagkapanalo ni Bongbong sa 2016 election.

  13. Magnificent analysis! New York Times is one of the very influential members of the Mainstream Media in US. It is the voice of people controlling White House and the Capitol. This article coming from New York Times which is timed on the day before the 30th anniversary of EDSA is a clear warning to Pnoy and his administration that they are already out of grace from the Entity who gave them the power. In short, Washington is done with them. No matter how he explain to the people the hazards of Martial Law under Pres. Marcos, Washington has already decided and its very clear that they are endorsing Bongbong to take over. Pnoy should take this very seriously and he better not make funny this election. This power can make and unmake presidency as sampled when his mother Cory was placed into power.

  14. Mariano Patalinjug on

    Yonkers, New York
    26 Feb. 2016

    The people of the Ilocos provinces obviously cannot get over their high regard for a beloved son, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, who ruled over the country as a Dictator from 1972 to 1986–and, by extension also for his wife IMELDA [the “imeldefic” known worldwide as that First Lady with 3,000 pairs of shows], and for his children, IMEE, BONGBONG, AND IRENE.

    Imee is now the Governor of Ilocos Norte; Imelda a Representative from Ilocos Norte; and Bongbong a Senator who is now a candidate for Vice President. It is only Irene who is not a politician, but is married to the son of one of the wealthiest families of the Philippines.

    It is a tragedy of major dimensions that the present generation of Filipinos may have only a vague idea of what the “Conjugal Dictatorship” of Ferdinand and Imelda did to the country–and that could explain why Bongbong Marcos is confident that he has a very good chance of getting elected Vice President now and, in 2022, will very likely decide to be a candidate for President and win!

    But that’s just what Philippine “democracy” is all about. It is actually not Lincoln’s utopian democracy “of the people, by the people and for the people.” It is IN FACT, one that is of the plutocrats, by the plutocrats and for the plutocrats.

    MARIANO PATALINJUG
    patalinjugmar@gmail.com

  15. Gago lang si NOYTARD kaya ayaw niyang tanggapin na totoo ang pahayag ng NYT.S ira ulo kasi kaya ang pinaggagawa niya sa loob ng anim na taon kundi maghiganti ,manuhol,magpabaya at manigarilyo ang gago.Palibhasa’y lahi ng traydor(lolo niya ay makapili noong panahon ng mga hapon) at lahi din ng mga balasubas(ninuno niya ay niloko ang bayan sa pagkahuiha ng Luisita noon)ang gago kaya wala kang maasahan na katinuhan sa ABNOY na yan.

  16. Mr. Makabenta your writing has no sense. Traffic during the Marcos years was not bad because vwry few cab afford cars. Filipinos were very poor because all the monies of the people were taken by Ferdinand and Imelda. Yhey made th e Central Bank as their own piggy bank. Proof is that we are auctioning the jewelries of Imelda which was bought by peoples mopney. . Mr. Makabenta tumigil ka nga niloloko mo ang mga tao.

    • walang pagkakaiba. sabi si makoy sr at imeldific ay ginawang piggy bank ang central bank. ano ginawa ni benito boy sisi at grupo ni abad-drilon-belmonte??? hindi ba ginawa nilang sarili nilang pera ang budget ng pilipinas??? remember DAP at pag lobo ng PDAF under benito boy sisi?? alam ba kung saan napunta yung P150billion DAP??? this amount is more than $3billion.

  17. Your article is one sided, taking the opinion of people who were pro-Marcos. What about the opinion of people who suffered during Martial Law? Were you already born during the dictator’s time? I guess not or even if you were, have you not thought of the several people who disappeared, murdered, kidnapped because they voiced their opinion against the great dictator? You mentioned about the opinion you quoted that there was no traffic during those days, it’s because there were not too many vehicles around compared to the present times. Police accepting bribes is an old story not even during Marcos time it was eradicated. I knew because we had trucking business that was always a victim of these police asking for bribes. Being a newsman should get true facts and not just write to destroy the credibility of the present President who is voicing the true situation during Martial Law. Another Marcos will bring back the nightmares during his father’s regime. I also would like to add, if Bong-bong is sincere, return the ill-gotten wealth of his family to help the poor people of the Philippines!

    • Pakibasa ho ulit…,para lang ho naishare ni Mr Makabenta ang storya na nangaling sa New York Times ng America,hindi ho sya nagsulat nyan,,just like sharing,,paki intindi ho muna yung buong article

  18. Unlike King Canute, Aquino is so stupid and clueless that he will not give up whatever “crown” he thinks is on his head and will continue his irresponsible remarks and incompetence to his last day in office.

  19. Our King Canute and his yellow horde are in extreme panic mood. The floodgates of yellow propaganda have been unleashed with impunity if only to thwart Bongbong’s making it as the vice president in May and ensure that his chosen clone makes it to Malacanang. That’s like stopping the sea from rising to seek its own level.

  20. “a young woman of 26,” said: “During the time of martial law, the Philippines was disciplined,” and EDSA is already on its 30th. This young woman was born 4 years after EDSA and martial law was even way before EDSA, how could she even conceived what the Philippines was like then?