Undying hatred of the “Marcos past,” unreasoning fear of a “Marcos-friendly future,” and total rejection of any suggestion from any source that Filipinos had begun to rethink the real value of Martial Law and Ferdinand Marcos’ real standing among Philippine Presidents are among the saddest afflictions of President B. S. Aquino 3rd.
These were aggressively on display on the 30th anniversary of the February 25, 1986 EDSA ‘revolt,’ when Aquino relaunched his late parents’ lifelong campaign against the late President Marcos. Completely anathema to Aquino was The New York Times’ observation that Filipinos had become nostalgic about the “golden age” of Marcos, when the Philippines and their President were highly respected everywhere. Aquino frothed in the mouth upon reading this.
Since the late ‘60s, the discrediting and destruction of Marcos had been the main object of the late former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.’s politics. As senator, his uninterrupted polemics was against Marcos. He authored only one law—the Study Now, Pay Later law, which the late former Senator Raul Roco, during his own campaign, claimed to have drafted as Ninoy’s chief of staff—but he delivered endless anti-Marcos speeches.
In one such speech he blew the cover behind Marcos’ national security project for Sabah, the Philippine territory, which had been incorporated into Malaysia against our formal protest. This ironically made Ninoy a “hero” and Marcos a “knave” especially to the Malaysians, the British and so many naive and unthinking Filipinos, who had no appreciation of the paramount national interest involved. To this day we suffer the consequences of that highly irresponsible and “treasonous” act.
Aquino went beyond mere speeches.
In 1969, he brokered the meeting between Amado Guerrero (aka Jose Maria Sison), leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and Bernabe Buscayno, aka Commander Dante of the New People’s Army (NPA), which forged the ties that launched the Communist rebellion against the government. When the Communists came knocking at the gates of Malacañang, Marcos decided to fight back by declaring Martial Law in 1972. The oligarchy, which counted on the Aquinos, condemned Marcos for proclaiming martial law, but not the Communists who had threatened to overthrow the government and provoked a constitutional response from Marcos. This continues to this day.
Plaza Miranda bombing
In 1971, Aquino accused Marcos of having ordered the bombing of the Liberal Party political rally at Plaza Miranda, where all the top party leaders were on stage except for himself, the party secretary-general, who was mysteriously out of reach during the attack. He surfaced later, dressed in a military uniform, apparently ready to oust Marcos and take over, if any of the LP leaders had been killed. The toll was high, but none among his top colleagues were killed.
Years later, the Communists confessed to the crime, but former Senate President Jovito Salonga, one of the most seriously injured bombing victims, said, “Ninoy had something to do with it.” But Aquino never apologized, nor was condemned for it. As Marcos’ most important martial law prisoner, he was sentenced to death by a military tribunal, but allowed to leave for the US for a heart surgery. He returned three years later only to be gunned down at the international airport that now bears his name.
Marcos, through his Defense Secretary, Juan Ponce Enrile, had tried to dissuade him from coming home, citing a reported security threat, which the government was apparently still trying to ascertain. This went unheeded, and he returned. The rest is history. Marcos was blamed instantly for the murder, and members of the aviation security command were accused and convicted of the crime. But the grieving widow, who became revolutionary president after ousting Marcos, never bothered to find out the real brains behind it. Neither did her son PNoy, who became President in 2010. Mother and son simply encouraged the public to believe, without any basis, that Marcos was responsible.
Cory spent her six and a half years in office trying to wipe out anything and everything that bore Marcos’ mark. She discarded the government’s full-scale industrialization program; scrapped the Department of Energy, the all-but completed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant and the entire national energy program; exempted her own family-held Hacienda Luisita from land reform; left all of Imelda Marcos’ cultural projects to the elements; expunged “Isang Bansa, Isang Diwa” from the national consciousness; handpicked 50 individuals to write a new Constitution because she could not trust the Filipinos to elect those who should do it; barred the Marcoses from returning to the country to answer charges against them, but instead asked the US to prosecute them for some of these crimes; spent over a trillion pesos in six and a half years to build a few flyovers in Metro Manila, as against the P600 billion or so Marcos had spent to build all the infrastructure in the country in 20 years; barred Marcos from being buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani where even dogs and scoundrels lie.
PNoy does one better
Now PNoy has done his deceased parents one better, by savaging not only Marcos pere but also Marcos fils. He has warned the nation against the “dangers” of making Sen. Ferdinand (Bonging) Marcos Jr. the next Vice President of the Philippines. As though the vice presidency, which has no known official duties or responsibilities, had become more important than the presidency, and in charge of running the government. Or that, finally guilt-stricken about his hopelessly inept and heartless six years in office, Aquino has reached the conclusion that no son of a former President should ever be allowed to go near it.
To Aquino and his claque, trying to prevent Bongbong from becoming Vice President has now become as important as, if not more important than, trying to prevent Vice President Jejomar C. Binay from becoming the President. The plot against Binay continues, even after it has begun to produce the most embarrassing results. But it has, interestingly enough, also spun a subplot against Mar Roxas, the very candidate who is supposed to benefit from the original plot.
If Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and his “Samar Group” had their way, Aquino would have dumped Roxas by now for his poor survey ratings. He would have openly supported Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares, the constitutionally ineligible foundling, whom he is trying to help before the Supreme Court where her disqualification by the Commission on Elections is under review. Upon my petition and those of three other petitioners, the Comelec has disqualified her and cancelled her Certificate of Candidacy for misrepresenting herself as a natural-born citizen and a resident of the country for the last 10 years.
Still, Aquino has not shown the same aversion to and fear of Binay as he has vis-a-vis Marcos. Why is this? Is it because he knows that even with the PCOS (precinct count optical scan) machine—now renamed VCM (voting counting machine)—under his control, he may not be able to stop the surge in favor of Marcos, without courting serious trouble? As the only Ilocano candidate for Vice President, Bongbong has rekindled the spirit of the “Solid North,” which has already produced three Presidents—Elpidio Quirino, Ramon Magsaysay and Marcos, and which has traditionally contributed the cream of its youth to our armed forces.
What millennials say
Among the millennials, the crank propaganda effort to recreate “the horrors” of Martial Law appears to have failed. A friend who was detained during martial law tells me of his conversation with his young daughter, who is an unabashed Bongbong supporter. “Did you know I was a Martial Law victim?” he asked his daughter. “You told me so,” she said. “Why then are you supporting Bongbong, whose father was the author of Martial Law?” he said. “Well, I know nothing about his pop. But we’re talking of Bongbong, and he is cool.”
And that, he said, was the end of their conversation.
Is any millennial saying, Aquino is cool?
Of the five senators running for VP, Bongbong alone has not been tarred for receiving P50 million or more from Malacañang to convict and remove Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona during his Senate impeachment trial. Next only to Senate President Franklin Drilon, who received P100 million, Francis Escudero received the biggest chunk of P98 million, while Alan Peter Cayetano, Antonio Trillanes 4th, and Greg Honasan received not more than P50 million each. This was an unspeakable crime, which should have immediately disqualified them from public office. Aquino knows this could not be said of Marcos.
The long view
But one more thing needs to be said, Although Bongbong may not have in him Aquino’s vindictive streak, and as Vice President, he may take no active interest in jailing Aquino for his crimes, his own presidency could just be a matter of time, and when his time comes, he could have the nation’s political history purged of all the bogus and revisionist claims that have made heroes out of opportunists, traitors, villains and scoundrels during the two Aquino regimes. The Aquinos, whose treason began with PNoy’s grandfather’s collaboration with the Japanese during the last Pacific war, would finally be exposed for what they are, and brought down from their outrageous pedestal.
Permanently, we trust.
Leni in trouble
Aquino’s fear has apparently become palpable within his own circle. Thus, some close supporters of Congresswoman Leni Robredo, the Liberal Party vice presidential candidate, have accused him of preparing to dump her because of her poor survey ratings, in favor of Escudero, who has higher ratings. Robredo and Escudero, together with Honasan, are not only Bicolanos but also natives of the same town, Bulan, Sorsogon. By marrying the late former Naga City mayor and former DILG Secretary Jesse Robredo, whose death in a private plane crash remains a mystery, Leni became a resident of Camarines Sur, the biggest of the Bicol provinces, where she is said to enjoy strong “hometown” support. By contrast, Escudero is said to have made so many political enemies in his native Sorsogon. No wonder, despite his supposedly high rating, I have yet to hear someone say she’ll vote for him.
And Roxas, too
Malacañang has formally denied the accusation, just as it has denied that Aquino was positioning the constitutionally ineligible Mrs. Llamanzares to replace Roxas, should his numbers fail to improve. But Malacañang was reportedly behind the move to make Solicitor General Florin Hilbay argue before the Court as ‘Tribune of the People,’ that foundlings of no known parentage are natural-born citizens, even without any basis in the Constitution. And Malacañang was reportedly behind the recent move of the Commission on Human Rights to submit an intervention in the Llamanzares case, even without leave of Court after the parties had submitted the case for resolution.
As lead petitioner against Mrs. Llamanzares, I have asked the Court, through legal counsel Manuelito Luna, to require the CHR to show cause why it should not be cited for contempt for its illegal and highly unethical intervention. We shall see how the Court treats our motion.
A medical issue
Amid all this, Aquino has managed to remain reasonably restrained with respect to anyone that threatens to cancel his (declared or secret) presidential candidate. It is the vice presidential contest where he tends to exaggerate his reaction. At the mere mention of Marcos’ name, he seems to froth in the mouth, ready to climb walls. This could present some custodial problems after he steps down. Should he take former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s place in her present detention, or does he need a “home” or an “institution” where he will have the privilege of thinking that he is the only sane person in the whole wide world? This appears to be a medical issue; the doctors should be looking into it.