“Those who want the present to wage war against the past are bound to lose the future.”
I remember this old adage (was it by Sir Winston Churchill?) while some are raising martial law issues of more than 30 years ago in their bid to stop the election of Sen. Bongbong Marcos as vice president. Some may quote the words of Santayana “Those who can’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” However, there’s a big difference between remembering the past and waging war against it, as some anti-Bongbong Marcos people are doing.
This issue against him doesn’t wash. He’s not going around the country campaigning for the return of martial law should he become vice president. He talks about martial law only because those against him want this to be a campaign issue. These antis would have done the country a greater service if they would only dissect his performance as governor and congressman of Ilocos Norte and as senator. Of course, they wouldn’t do this because voters might even be more convinced to go for him this May!
In the 2010 senatorial campaign, Bongbong spoke of his achievements as governor and as congressman. Not once did he devote a speech extolling the virtues of martial law. Aside from his achievements, he talked about his plans once he became a senator.
This might surprise everybody but there was never a chilly relationship between him and fellow senatorial candidates Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza while stumping all over the land in 2010. The three were in the ticket of presidential candidate Manny Villar and while they were not chummy-chummy, they weren’t antagonistic to one another either. And when Bongbong won in the nationwide election, I was convinced that the Marcos name has ceased to be a national issue.
Of course, this was ignored by a vindictive President who devoted his speech in the 30th commemoration of EDSA 1 haranguing Bongbong and martial law. BS Aquino The Last treated EDSA 1 as if it were mainly an issue between the Aquinos and the Marcoses. Well, my wife Lynn and I were at EDSA 1 (I was there as senior reporter of Veritas Newsmagazine) but we have never tried to dissuade our numerous relatives who had decided to vote for Bongbong. I agree with them that a vote for him is a vote not only for what more he could do but also for national reconciliation.
I have quoted this anecdote a number of times but this is always worth mentioning. After the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln offered his hands of friendship to Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate States of America. This was resented by a mother who lost two of her sons while serving with the Union Army.
“Why should you make friends with our enemies when you ought to destroy them?” the indignant mother wrote Lincoln.
Lincoln replied: “Madame, don’t I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
If we are to dwell on the past, what will stop some anti-Aquino people from demanding that his family return the Katipunan treasure entrusted by Gen. Antonio Luna to a Cojuangco more than a century ago? What will stop them from demanding that BS Aquino apologize for the sins of his grandfather, who collaborated with the Japanese Imperial Army that had tortured and killed thousands of Filipinos in World War 2 or more than 70 years ago?
I won’t view with grave concern a Bongbong victory. This said, neither do I feel uncomfortable with the win by Sen. Chiz Escudero, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, Rep. Leni Robredo or Sen. Gringo Honasan. The vice presidency will be in good hands whoever wins among the four. As regards Sen. Antonio Trillanes, the less said of him, the better.
Indeed, the vice presidency has a rich lode of candidates. This may not be said of the race for presidency. Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago should make a good President but unfortunately, she’s sickly and hasn’t been campaigning effectively.
A friend was so disappointed with the presidential candidates that he’s hoping there’ll be a space in the ballot for “NOTA” – None Of The Above.
And if others persist on picking a candidate? “Choose your poison,” he said.