By Jun Avelino
If the Marcoses will win back the sympathy of the Filipino people, we have no one to blame but the opposition and those anti Duterte forces for paving the way of their return to power. Here are the reasons why.
When one talks of Marcos today, people tend to associate it with the dark days of the country’s history, particularly during Martial law era with all the reported horrific human rights abuses and atrocities under the reign of the late strongman, then President Ferdinand Marcos. Then we remember the EDSA people power revolution which decapitated the dictatorship and started this country’s journey towards democracy. To put it bluntly, we have been made to believe that the time of Marcos was evil and the post EDSA government under Cory Aquino was the dawn of the new Philippines. That’s how the history of this country was shaped.
When Duterte ran for the Presidency last year, his opponents took turns in beating him up during the campaign, picturing him out as the new Marcos, a murderer, misogynist and has the penchant for being a dictator – a Marcos label they are hoping to work against the popularity of Digong. The religious groups joined the prey along with the known Martial Law human rights victims, activists, groups from both ends of the country’s political spectrum. It was just like a free-for-all wrestle mania where Duterte was in the middle of the ring bludgeoned by everyone before the eyes of the fuming audience. And interestingly, President PNoy himself, the son of Tita Cory who is the icon of democracy during EDSA and Benigno Aquino Jr who is the acknowledged martyr in the Philippine politics, stood before the nation, warning its people of the impending return of the dictatorship under Duterte, directly appealing to the Filipinos not to vote for Duterte in the name of democracy which he claimed to be the legacy of his parents which should be preserved. But his plea fell on deaf ears. The people catapulted Digong to the Presidency via a landslide victory.
The September 21 Marcos Martial Law commemoration last year was an opportune time for the activists to again raise awareness on how evil Martial Law is and how dangerous it is for the country to have a President who has strong adulation for the late strongman. They went to the extent of projecting the so called “millennials” as against dictatorship by using them during their rally. But the gory and disgusting messages of the placards displayed which are directed at Duterte, only turned the people’s sympathy in favor of the man.
Then came the Marcos burial in November last year which Duterte allowed with an honest intention of putting a closure to the lingering Marcos issue so that the country can move on, thereby burying the past with the burial decision. The same folks took the opportunity of attacking Digong with the same propaganda backdrop, criticizing him once again for his pro Marcos stance and for which, they campaigned for people to protest against the decision being a mockery to the democratic space we are enjoying as a result of fighting the Marcos dictatorship. But the people rallied behind Duterte’s decision and no less than the Supreme Court itself sided with Duterte which in effect struck down the anti-Marcos’ battle against the burial of the late dictator’s remains at the Libingan ng mga bayani.
The EDSA people power celebration in February this year was supposed to be the mammoth culmination of the opposition’s attack against Duterte for playing the cards of a Marcos. The timing was there and the occasion was more than fitting. They were trying to raise their campaign under the backdrop of the EDSA promise being betrayed by the dictatorial tendencies of Duterte and bluntly called him as the new Marcos. The event was star-studded with PNoy, Roxas, Trillanes, De Lima, LP Senators and stalwarts, CHR officials headed by Gascon who is an LP official himself, and all the old faces of anti-Marcos movement and the double faced POs from the extreme left of political spectrum gracing the occasion. However, the expected explosive rally turned out to be a dud. They mustered less than 5 thousand crowd for a few hours event at the EDSA shrine which was visibly dwarfed 30 times more by the crowd of Duterte supporters who gathered in Quirino grandstand for 3 days aside from the rallies organized in Davao, Cebu and other parts of the country. It was the people’s exclamatory¬-pointed rejection of the opposition’s attempt to pin Duterte down for being a Marcos clone.
When Duterte put the entire Mindanao under Martial Law, it was met with massive support from the people of Mindanao, its institutions and at the national level as well. We see some small pockets of resistance from the same folks but only in Metro Manila who staged a rally with placards containing anti US imperialism slogans. Such moronic idiots from Manila exhibiting their shabu-damaged minds in public to the astonishment of the Mindanao folks… That was indeed entertaining. And they continue with their ludicrous display of arrogance and stupidity by trying to shoot down Mindanao Martial law. For these folks, the Maute terrorists are the “epitome of courage and resilience and that what is going on in Marawi is not invasion or rebellion as defined by the constitution” (by Sen. Riza Hontiveros). And Congressman Lagman who argued for the opposition in the Supreme court opined that what happened in Marawi is a consequence of the law enforcers attempt to arrest the dreaded terror leader, Isnilon Hapilon. In effect, he is blaming our soldiers and police force for pre-empting what could have been a much worst scenario for Mindanao. These lawmakers are obviously a disgrace to the institution they represent for being brainless stooges lurking in the halls of congress. I can only imagine what’s the level of intelligence of those who still believe them, with all due respect!. How would these people feel if Mindanao folks will organize a rally and use placards demanding Duterte to put Metro Manila under Martial Law for being the breeding ground of terrorists, especially congress and churches? Will they not feel offended? Respect folks. That’s what you lacked. But we don’t go that far because we are not stupid.
The serious realization which the opposition and anti Duterte forces should face right now is the fact that equating Duterte to Marcos never works and hence, should be stopped. Otherwise, they are threading a wrong and very dangerous path which can prejudice and will be fatal to their anti-Marcos crusade. Duterte is his own name. He is his own brand and a very strong one.
When Kiko Pangilinan planned to run for Senator, he first married Sharon Cuneta who was extremely popular at that time. Of course, Sharon believed, Kiko married her for her body, as she recently claimed on her interviews. As a result of that marriage, Kiko won the Senate race. Obviously, it was because of the followers of Sharon who voted for him due to his association with the mega star. His weak name got a boost when he associated himself with one of the strongest names in the movie industry with millions of followers. And because of that, Kiko remained a Senator until these days. Am not sure if Sen. Riza Hontiveros is a much stronger brand for Kiko than Sharon. We will know that come next elections. In the same manner, Duterte won by landslide and the last survey showed more than 80 percent of the people are in support of his administration. And with the recent martial law declaration where he gained massive support from the people, chances are, his ratings are expected to go up. This begs the question. Is it a sound and correct strategy for the opposition to use the Marcos scare tactic to get a piece of Digong? Will it dissuade people’s support for Duterte if they continue tagging him as a Marcos clone? Or will it trigger a reverse impact?
I fully believe, this opposition’s strategy has boomeranged and it has far reaching implications to their crusade of stopping the return of the Marcoses to power. By constantly calling out Duterte for his Marcos tendencies and with Duterte consistently showing respect and expressing his great adulation for the late strongman, will surely have influence over his followers – a paradigm shift over how the “Dutertards” view the present generation of the Marcos family in this modern day politics. What is alarming that should worry the opposition more is the increasing level of acceptance of the Marcoses among the millennials as can be observed in the resurgence of discussion on the Marcos martial law in the social media, particularly the untold ones. BBM’s performance in the last VP elections is the affirmation of how well the Filipinos treat the Marcoses today.
There are of course Dutertards who remained anti-Marcos. But if asked to choose between joining the opposition to fight Marcos and being with Duterte defending the present Marcos family rights to be back in power, they are more inclined to be on the latter. The obvious reason is the fact that the opposition and anti-Marcos forces have lost the moral ascendancy to lead their own crusade. We are now in the age of digital technology and all information we need are available on line. True, there are horrific stories about martial law but there are also information about the good side of the Marcos rule which are deliberately hidden to keep the people’s hatred for the Marcoses. But these information are now being used to rebut all the lies and fabrications contained in our martial law history. One classic example is the role played by Fidel Ramos and Johnny Enrile during the martial law days. Both were the administrator and implementor of the Marcos Martial Law. The tens of thousands deaths, disappearances, rape, torture and all the inhumane and barbaric acts committed against the Filipinos were at the behest of both Enrile and Ramos, the latter being the head of the much dreaded Philippine Constabulary. Of course, they charged all these crimes to their principal in Malacanang who is now finally 6 feet below the ground. And dead men tell no tales. They have the convenient excuse of just following orders from Marcos then. But isn’t it as a soldier with training at the West Point, you are trained to obey only legal orders? Killing by the thousands, ordering disappearances, torture and rape are certainly illegal and inhumane. But why order those crimes just to please your principal knowing how atrocious and demonic they are? Why allow such evil acts to be committed within your nose and ears for almost 10 years of Martial law if you are at least, a sane soldier?.. Sanamagan!
Just because of the role these butchers played during the EDSA revolution, all their crimes were forgiven. You elected one as President of the country and the other as Senate President and you now work alongside with them. And worst of all, you are now marching with Ramos, your Marcos Martial Law rapist/torturer/murderer in attacking Duterte of his martial law declaration for fear of human rights violations. Millennials are certainly going crazy of how you obviously betrayed your own crusade. For sleeping with the enemy, how can you expect them to believe on the nobility of your cause? Now you can’t blame us for not reading your book on “Martial Law, Never Again”! It has become a repository of lies, fabrications and scandalous presentation of the martial law history especially with such author as Raissa Robles who is now the “epitome of courage and resilience” to lie to her teeth just so her patrons can go back to power and once again you and your minions can dance with the oligarchs. NEVER AGAIN!
The Marcoses are very silent. They have not done anything to rebut all anti-Marcos sentiments hurled against Duterte. They are just standing on the sidelines watching how the Marcos name evolved, once again, as a strong brand by associating it with the President – courtesy of the opposition. And as they continue with this vicious campaign, the more people rebut their accusations and in the process, defending the Marcoses.
I wonder how the opposition hatched their political strategy and direction, and I respect the genius behind it. But as an observer, the tide is going in favor of the Marcoses and it’s only a matter of time, with BBM’s protest currently gaining momentum, Filipinos will be prepared to have a Marcos as Vice President for this country. And not surprisingly, post Duterte era, we shall have a Marcos candidate for the presidency with strong chance of winning. Can you imagine this scenario? And clearly, it’s the opposition which serves as the forerunner of the Marcos return to power – not Duterte or his supporters.
The opposition and anti Duterte forces therefore should revisit their own political strategy and direction and refrain from using the Marcos and Martial law scare tactics to pin Duterte down. It’s suicidal to say the least. Without them knowing it, they have already brought themselves to the lion’s den. - JA