It’s no wonder Vice-President Leni Robredo is excluded
By Raïssa Robles
The late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ daughter Imee herself confirmed that she was going to Malacañang Palace tomorrow for the presidential inauguration. Earlier, I had voiced my suspicion that this was the real reason Robredo was left out in the cold. You can read my article here.
Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos also replied – upon questioning from ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol reporter Doris Bigornia during an ambush interview today – that her brother Ferdinand Bongbong Jr. is also a guest and they will both be there to represent their mother Imelda.
It must be a bittersweet trip for the siblings who called the palace home for 21 years. And who really thought that this year would see Bongbong being sworn in as the country’s vice-president.
By cold-shouldering Vice-President Leni Robredo, it is quite clear that President Rodrigo Duterte has not moved on and his call for the healing of the nation’s political rifts rings hollow.
For the first time in the country’s history, the President and the Vice-President will be sworn into office in separate locations underscoring the wide divide in the nation.
The inauguration of the president and the vice-president, which should have been the time for coming together as a nation, is instead the starting bell for more political division.
Personally, I view this and what is about to happen as more lessons for learning democracy. Many Filipinos seem to find democracy a concept difficult to understand and to value. The next few years will show Filipinos how democracy is like air – you can’t see it, but you’ll definitely miss it when you’re deprived of it.
Many Duterte supporters have asked me on Facebook and Twitter, why am I so foreboding? Why don’t I give Duterte a chance to make a difference?
The question presumes that I am a significant voice, which I assure you I am not. I’m just a kibitzer, an usisero.
As a journalist, I always look for the signs the way a fisherman looks at the sky for any coming storm.
This is one reason why, for me, it is very important for the independent media to be able to cover the presidential inauguration – not remotely via a monitor, but up close right in the crowds. So they can see who the guests are and talk to them. The media can be the eyes and ears of the public.
It is quite important for the media to watch closely who have access to the presidential palace. Because these are the people who can whisper into President Duterte’s ear and sway him to sign or shelve contracts, decide policies or appoint certain people to sensitive posts.
This early, we can see that the Marcos star is rising, despite Bongbong’s electoral defeat. By next year, Bongbong will be a cabinet secretary. This leads one to suspect that the Duterte administration was meant to pave the way for Bongbong Marcos’ rise to the top.
It would be quite interesting to see what President Duterte will do with the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) that is to this day pursuing the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses.
Many people have told me to “move on”. Stop obsessing on Marcos.
How can we as a nation move on when there has been no justice? No apologies and no remorse. It was Ferdinand Marcos who caused the death of thousands of our Muslim brothers during and after the Mindanao wars. It was Marcos who decimated the brightest of one entire generation. It was Marcos who bankrupted the nation. It was Marcos who left one out of every two Filipinos impoverished by the time he fled.
We are only now beginning to recover as a nation.
The Marcoses have never said sorry for what their father did. Instead, they have insisted that they have the right to inherit and use all that ill-gotten wealth that their father stole.
So for me, their presence in Malacañang Palace on the president’s inauguration day mocks the sacrifices that Muslims, Christians, communists, and moderates endured during Martial Law. And it’s a green light for future grafters of this country.