Issue of September 17, 2017
Mt. Province

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The ghost of Marcos continues to haunt us

Of late, the Marcos family is gaining a new found popularity, thanks to the late Ferdinand E. Marcos, who ruled this country with an iron hand for more than 20 years. Add to this is an ever willing President Rodrigo Duterte who minces no words in expressing his admiration for the late strongman. So blinded is his adulation that he considers the dead dictator a hero.

Thus, during the 100th birthday of Ferdinand Marcos, President Duterte declared Sept. 21 a holiday in Ilocos Norte, allowing all loyalists to party and celebrate the life and death of their favorite son.

Earlier, the President defied the howls and the protests of martial law victims by allowing the body of the fallen strongman to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

“Look,” Duterte said, “To the Ilocanos, Ferdinand Marcos is a hero. He deserves to be remembered by his people.” Yes, the people remember Marcos. He who has declared Martial Law, he who has ravaged the coffers of the government into near bankruptcy, he who took the lives and limbs of thousands of Filipinos in the name of democracy, he who has robbed the Filipino people of their liberty, he who said, “Sa ikauunlad ng bayan, disiplina ang kailangan,” surely will not be forgotten.

He got away with it all with nary a conviction to taint the name Marcos. The cases filed against Ferdinand Marcos, his wife, his children and his cronies crumbled one by one until finally, they are back on the prime stage governing and making a strong statement that they will be here to stay.

Whoever said that “there is no forever” must have lost sight of what is happening in this country. Indeed, Marcos remains a potent name and as long as people from the north continue shouting “Marcos pa rin! Marcos pa rin,” the dynasty will apparently last forever. This is easily justifiable by what is happening in our political landscape. There is a Marcos who is a congressman, there is a Marcos who is a governor, there is a Marcos who ran for Vice President, losing only by a whisker and is in the process of rectifying his loss. Heck, probably the only position they do not covet is that of a barangay tanod.

Is the presence of the Marcoses among us a curse or a blessing? It depends on whether you are for or against them. Regardless, it becomes undeniable that the new found strength of their influence is allowing them to muscle the government into submission and is exert undue influence on how the policies of this country must be shaped. Consider their offers to return their alleged ill-gotten wealth. In exchange for immunity, they are willing to turn over several riches that were amassed during the rule of the late strongman. The ironical part of it is that the administration appears to be bent on accepting the offer.

By the sheer incompetence and ineptness of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, which itself is plagued with accusations of graft and corruption, the administration, stripped of cash and sympathetic to the Marcoses, might just consider the offer and go all the way into compromising to recover, even if it means only a pittance, what rightfully belongs to it.

Acceptance is surrender.

For one, the Marcoses never admitted that they never enriched themselves at the expense of the people’s money. If this is true, what is there to return? Why make it an offer if there is no such illegal wealth? There was never any resentment on their part that once upon a time, Marcos gained the notoriety of being named the “biggest thief” by the Guinness Book of World Records. There was never any moment in their lives that they showed remorse to what had befallen this country.

Ah, the ghost of Marcos continues to haunt us. His face remains plastered in our fragile memories. Many Filipinos still cling to the myth that had it not been for him, we would be in a worst predicament that where we are now. He continues to divide our people politically, emotionally and mentally.

We tried to exorcise his legacy by demonizing all that he did. We branded him a dictator, a murderer and, in some instances, a führer. The two Aquino administrations, upon assumption of power, demolished everything there is that is related to Marcos, including his government programs, his constitution and his laws. It tried to rewrite history books to implant on our youth the evils that Martial Law did to our lives. Still, the memory lingers, with the Marcos clan remaining to be formidable a force.

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