And why Bongbong Marcos is now a senator
UPDATE: I wrote this five years ago in 2011. And it’s still as relevant today. Isn’t that DEPRESSING?
By Raissa Robles
By having the dictator Ferdinand Marcos buried at Libingan ng mga Bayani, the Marcos clan will be able to erase his sordid and wicked past and have him declared a hero.
Then Senator Bongbong Marcos will run for President five years from now and package himself as – of course – THE SON OF A HERO!
The Marcoses’ ultimate objective is to get back all the local assets seized from the family as ill-gotten loot as well as all the assets abroad that remain frozen.
It’s really all about money.
It’s also the reason why Bongbong Marcos ran for the Senate. To get back all that money.
But his voters didn’t know that. They saw him as a handsome environmentalist – the governor who built windmills in his province.
That’s just what he wanted you to think. He planted windmills in the voters’ minds. And now, do you hear him vigorously advocating windmills?
Why Bongbong Marcos won as senator
After he won a Senate seat, I asked myself why he won.
Slowly I realized certain things.
First, 1/3 of the voters in the Senate elections, which he won, hardly knew Ferdinand Marcos and Imelda Marcos’ evil deeds. They were too young.
Just before the 2010 elections, Pulse Asia shared with me some data they used for their political surveys. Among the data they gave me was the breakdown of voters according to age. Here it is:
Notice that those ages 18 to 24 comprised 15% of all the voters. And those ages 25 to 34 years old comprised 22% of all voters.
Ferdinand Marcos was booted out of the country 24 years before the May 2010 polls. This means, that 15% of all voters last year were not yet born when the Marcos family fled in fright. This also means that another 22% of all the registered voters were one to 10 years old when they left.
Schoolbooks kept silent on the Marcoses
And when this 15% and 22% of potential voters were growing up and going to school, the books they used – which were supposed to impart to them what’s right and wrong – remained stunningly silent on how Marcos tortured over 10,000 Filipinos and stole the nation blind.
You know what torturing 10,000 Filipinos is like? I made a rough calculation. I divided the figure by 14 years of the dictatorship – that means, 714 people are tortured every year. Or roughly 59 a month.
The average Filipino never really grasped the amount of torturing being done because there was no free press. The major newspapers – Daily Express and Times Journal – were run by Imelda’s younger brother Kokoy. The Bulletin was run by Marcos’ crony Hans Menzi.
And when I speak of torturing I do not mean being made to dance suggestively like showbiz host Willie Revillame made Jan-Jan dance, or even being hazed in a fraternity.
Marcos had an elaborate torture machine that rivaled what the Japanese Kempeitai did to captured Filipino guerrillas in World War II. Have you really heard the horror tales?
NO, because the military suppressed these.
Imelda Marcos performed a very crucial role during the dictatorship. She was the deodorizer. She spoke of Martial Law in glowing terms by constantly referring to the edifices she caused to be built. I covered her for Business Day newspaper.
It was what a reporter would call a hardship beat because non-press release stories were hard to come by. And I had to skate delicately to make sure I did not get her so mad that she would have me picked up.
Sure, the Marcos conjugal dictatorship built hospitals, roads and the longest bridge in the country. But they extracted huge COMMISSIONS AND MARK-UPS from these projects.
Remember, that was what happened to the Bataaan Nuclear Power Plant. The attendant corruption made the integrity of the physical structure highly questionable. And you and I shouldered the payments and the loans for it to the tune of US$155,000 a day. The entire loan was only recently repaid.
Without the rampant graft and corruption, the Marcos couple could have built much, much more. Because of this, I’m not impressed with those who hero-worship them on that basis.
Presidents after Cory went soft on the Marcoses
Only President Corazon Aquino was really hell-bent on running after the Marcoses. All subsequent presidents sought a political and even financial accomodation with that family.
The last one, especially more so.
We don’t know yet how the incumbent President Benigno Aquino III will behave toward the Marcoses. But if his deputy spokeswoman Abigail Valte is any indication, it will be just business as usual.
Before I go on to discuss why Marcos’ wicked ways are now nearly forgotten, let me just point out an interesting bit of fact.
Bongbong Marcos won with 13 million votes when the number of registered voters was 51 million. Using Pulse Asia’s assumptions, we see that 37% of that 51 million (or those who were not yet born or were at least 10 years old when the Marcoses fled) is equivalent to roughly 18 million voters.
These figures would seem to indicate that even among the youth, Marcos did not get all the votes. It would be interesting to break down his votes according to age. But unfortunately, I don’t have those figures.
We also have to factor in the fact that he would have obtained most of the Ilocano votes – that would be from Regions 1 and 2 – which had nearly 5 million registered voters last year.
Bongbong Marcos got roughly 1/3 of all the votes cast last year.
Why public opinion is now for Marcos
Those who know a lot and those who came face to face with the evilness of that dictatorship will probably say people have forgotten.
I would explain what happened this way.
The Marcos cases of torture and plunder were mostly fought and won overseas at a time whene there was no Twitter and Facebook to broadcast the proceedings and the twist and turns of the court battles.
Amid this information gap, Imelda Marcos swayed public opinion by saying again and again that she and her husband have never been convicted. She even obtained a certification from the Philippine judiciary to this effect.
She is right insofar as Philippine courts are concerned. Wait, let me correct myself. I remember now that the family lost the mother civil court suit in Manila – which Switzerland used as the basis for sending over their Swiss bank loot to Manila.
The family lost terribly in Switzerland after a costly and lengthy court battle. They lost bitterly, thanks to the late Presidential Commission on Good Government chief Haydee Yorac.
But again, because this happened in the Alps, it hardly made an impression on Filipinos. It hasn’t been recorded in many schoolbooks.
In addition, in the last quarter of a century, Imelda Marcos has frequently slapped libel suits on those who called or wrote that Ferdinand Marcos is a plunderer and a thief. That has had a chilling effect on school book authors.
Marcos gambit – a hero’s burial
The family’s latest gambit is to bury Ferdinand Marcos at Libingan ng mga Bayani – the Heroes’ Cemetery. That could also bury the long-pending court suits accusing Ferdinand and Imelda with financial shenanigans.
The reason why these court suits have hardly moved is that the Marcoses have intentionally delayed them by changing lawyers again and again. Also, as I said earlier, the Philippine presidents who came after Cory used the court cases as a leverage for a financial compromise settlement.
Maybe, the present government could institute weekly hearings to have Imelda Marcos’ dollar-salting cases resolved. She thought she had already thrown them out of court but the Supreme Court reversed this and said she has to be tried for dollar-salting.
Where are the Marcoses getting all that money
All these would make you wonder where the Marcos family is getting all their money for litigation, high fashion and expensive properties. Plus the money to field Bongbong Marcos for the Senate, Imee Marcos for Ilocos governor and Imelda Marcos for Congress last year.
Money is eternally flowing from somewhere and maybe a little judicious digging could uncover the rich source.
Burying Marcos would cost taxpayers much money
Personally, I think it’s not feasible to bury Ferdinand Marcos at Libingan ng mga Bayani – but for a totally different reason. It would continuously cost us, taxpayers, a lot of money.
The government would have to place a 24-hour guard on his grave to ensure no one will dig up the (wax?) body or spit at it.
Hmmm. This could be grounds for filing a taxpayer suit against such a nincompoop proposal.
By the way, does anyone know if we have a law that allows people NOT to bury their dead but to keep them displayed above ground? Are the Marcoses violating any law on public health and sanitation?