Hadn’t the revolution promised so much and given very little? Don’t we have the same unresponsive government? The same patronage system? The widespread corruption in all levels of the government? The continuing plunder of taxpayer money?
By Jing Montealegre
It was a muted EDSA People Power celebration this year, as it has been for several years now. The main actors in that event have passed on, or have been discredited, or have fallen ill, or have shut up and moved on. Many have been co-opted by the deposed dictator’s family. Marcos Junior’s dominance in national polls indicates a drift to pre-EDSA Revolution, the regime of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The Marcos restoration didn’t suddenly happen: it was a decades-long process that started with the return of the Marcoses from exile, their engagement in local and national politics, the return of strongman rule (with the election of Rodrigo Duterte), and with the burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
We cannot discount the fact that remnants of the Marcos loyalists are still among us; but we think Marcos Junior supporters are those “unaffected” or “unchanged” by EDSA – the vast number of Filipinos deprived of the democratic and economic promises of the EDSA Revolution. Their lives have remained stagnant or even worsened, through the Cory, Ramos, Erap, GMA, PNoy and Duterte administrations - and the waiting has taken its toll. They are in the cusp of surrendering to the evil forces of the past - the time before the EDSA Revolution - now dubbed by Bongbong fans as ‘The Golden Era.’
Many ‘Bongbongers’ (BBM Forever!) are blinded by ignorance; they are in fact purveyors of historical untruths in social media.
El Shaddai’s Mike Velarde has endorsed Marcos Junior for president. The post-Marcos forces had their chance to set things straight, he would explain. “No harm in trying out the son of the dictator,” he would say in so many words. Was he being opportunistic?
Marcos Junior’s campaign projects him as the agent of change, a position opposition candidates have failed to capitalize on. So Marcos Junior, no matter how inept, should pull us out of the garbage pit of past administrations, including Duterte’s. It’s a restoration to an old order, before the People Power revolution thirty five years ago.
Hadn’t the revolution promised so much and given very little? Don’t we have the same unresponsive government? The same patronage system? The widespread corruption in all levels of the government? The continuing plunder of taxpayer money? What has changed for the better? A return to the “Golden Age” of the Marcos martial rule is suddenly very attractive. With a bonus to boot (as the Marcos Junior fans are hoping for): the use of the so-called Marcos millions to fund the people’s salvation.
Marcos Junior represents an imagined glorious past. Whether he has the mental capacity or the intention to rule decently, the boy has inherited the speech and mannerism of the old dictator. Messiah-like and with paper windmill in hand, Marcos Junior (in ad after ad) brings the promise of unity and salvation to the nation. He does not contend, he does not debate, and puts himself above the rest, dismissing his opponents’ criticisms as antics unworthy of his attention. In this way Junior’s handlers have outsmarted the opposition.
He now leads them (the opposition) by a mile in poll after poll.
Millennials, Gen Xers, and the young generally are not familiar with the horrors of martial law: the dreaded and Gestapo-like Marcos Metrocom, the tortures and disappearances, the suffocation of the media, the time when the Bagong Lipunan hymn replaced the national anthem, the underdevelopment and massive unemployment, the plunging peso, the unchecked foreign debts, and the many years of plunder of government coffers which saw us becoming the sick man of Asia. Nor do they bother to fact-check the claims of Marcos Junior, now anointed by Bongbongers as the boy-savior who will bring us to the promise land.
Educators in succeeding administrations after EDSA have failed to document and instill in the minds of the young the impunity and deprivations of 14 years of martial rule. The media, too, had been asleep at the wheel while the Marcos revisionists worked on the population. I spoke with a young Marcos Junior supporter, probing her on what the schools or her parents have taught her about the martial law years. Not much, she told me. So she entered the voting population with a blank mind, picked clean of the truth and fed by the Marcos revisionists with their version of the past. Which has led a friend to comment that “history is usually written by the winners except in our case. The EDSA losers wrote ours.”
This generation of voters will have to bear the blame if the surveys prove accurate and Marcos Junior emerges victorious in next week’s polls. The future, however, may not be all too gloomy. Our grandchildren, when it’s their time, may yet get to have a People Power revolution of their own.
And like 35 years ago - but not necessarily in EDSA - it will be waged against the forces of evil.
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