And as a consequence, a dark shadow of doubt has been lurking on Duterte’s governance to effect countless radical changes against poverty and corruption,the two landmark legacies of Marcos military regime
Street democracy has been reborn and the tentacles of the oppressed regime has been getting stronger after the Philippine Supreme Court’s decision to bury the remains of one of the infamous dictators Ferdinand Marcos in the”Libingan ng mga Bayani”. The protests claim that the late dictator is not a hero, and therefore, he has no place in the sacred ground intended for the purpose of perpetuating legacies of the Filipinos who died for our freedom.
The virtual images of the bloodied martial regime have been resurrected by countless demonstrations, in the Philippines and abroad respectively, to defy the highest court decision, making the former President Ferdinand Marcos a hero, an entitlement to his role as one of the presidents of the Republic of the Philippines, not a dictator or a plunderer who inflicted immeasurable damage on the democratic values.
Let us turn back the pages of our history when then, President Ferdinand Marcos exposed his ambition to rule the country in the early 60’s. Being no chance to run as president under the Liberal Party, and avoiding a collateral damage against the re-electionist Diosdado Macapagal, thus siding out the ambition of Ferdinand Marcos. Turncoatism was one of the evil doings of our politicians, Marcos turned to the Nationalista Party as the standard bearer for presidency leading to a vicious internal war among probable candidates for presidency within the party. Marcos won by the landslide, putting Macapagal, the lost Liberal Party presidential candidate into the bins of history.
At first the clamor for a quick-fixed change became feverish and rays of hope flooded the urban and rural landscape, amidst the treat of the national security imposed by the Communist Party of the Philippines, lurking to disrupt the newly elected president in 1965.
Economic recovery was steadfastly planned and the cultural reconstructions flourished under the aegis of the First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos; and by accident, the First couple was the darling not only by the Hollywood purveyors of luxury and glamour, but also amongst the international leaders who claimed Marcos would be the change-agent to fight poverty and to secure peace and order in the country.
Then followed by the continuous war between the two leading political parties, making the governance of Marcos threatened by some powerful political enemies within the political system side by side the threat of the Communist Party from the country sides.
Came the political icon, Senator Benigno Aquino Jr, who according to some historians, allegedly connected with the Communist Party, had shown ambition to rule the country. A former journalist who covered the Vietnam War for the Manila Times, Benigno had become a vocal opponent of the Marcos regime. Security of the country was at risk, his economic plan faced many stumbling blocks to make the country as one of the emerging countries in Southeast Asia.
Counter-actions between the two political parties plus the virtual ambition of Aquino to outshine Marcos had been embedded into the political psyches of the politicians.
Chaos in governance weakens the system and to protect the national interest, Martial Law was declared under the Proclamation 1081 suspending the civil rights and imposes military authority in the country. And this the very seed of the rise of Dictator Marcos, and along the vein of secrecy, his power and greed, together with the First Lady and the cohorts and cronies, ruled the country.
Voices against Martial laws were heard and read. Jose Burgos, Jr. his “We Forum” and “Malaya Newspaper” castigated Marcos and his cohorts at the height of the conjugal dictatorship of Marcos and the First Lady. Many iconic journalists were arrested and from the excerpt of Armando Doronilla’s column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, September 22, 2004, he wrote: “Martial law was an epochal event, a turning point in the history of the country, it marked the dismantling of a political system, a democratic polity*1, albeit a seriously flawed one” And part of the excerpt from his column summarizes the appalling aspects of the martial law years,”…the atrocities of the regime’s human rights violation, the disappearances of targets of repression, the economic plunder perpetuated by the dictatorship, the economic disaster steaming from economic policies determined by crony capitalism, and the unprecedented scale of corruptions…”
Again…”economic plunder perpetuated by the dictatorship, the economic disaster steaming from economic policies determined by crony capitalism and the unprecedented scale of corruptions…”
Marcos was forced to leave the country by the People Power and with them, unprecedented amount of money was taken from the government coffers,He died in Hawaii.
President after president ruled the country, and for some humane reasons, the mortal remain of Marcos was returned to the Philippines.
Then some members of the Marcos family became active in politics, hoping someday, the remains of Marcos would be laid to rest in the “Libingan ng mga Bayani”.
With the Supreme Court decision, divisiveness took over, and the current governance of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte lurks the shadow of doubt for siding to the Marcos family’s request. Some of the Duterte’s followers were victims of Martial Laws, accusing Duterte has a secret agenda by siding his intent that Marcos is the former president of the Philippines, and who is entitled to be buried among other heroes. Duterte was straightforward about his connection with the Marcos: his late father was one of the honchos during the Marcos presidency; and as he admitted, the Marcoses helped to finance his quest for presidency.
In spite of the divisiveness in his camp, Duterte has continued his energy to uplift poverty, eradicate corruptions, both are cancers in the society perpetuated by the Marcos regime. For Duterte, progress will be hampered if the past has become the rallying point in his governance.
The Anti-Marcos burial has strongly said: “Bury the body, but not the truth!
More demonstrations against the burial are planned in the various city centres in the Philippines and in some foreign cities like New York, voicing out the evils of the Marcos regime, For now, the Philippines and for Duterte’s governance, our quest is QOU VADIS*2?
(*1-Polity is a form or a process of a civil government or a constitution; *2 Quo Vadis, a latin word which means “Where are you going?”)