THE PRESIDENT’S BUCKET LIST

President Duterte, in his many speeches, has often intimated that he may not live to see the end of his six-year term. And considering the two incidences wherein he allegedly passed out (in Peru during the APEC summit, and in Malacanang during a recent huddle with three of his most trusted men), we now have more compelling reason to believe that the president might know something that we don’t —a reason that could explain why he seems to be constantly working under a tight deadline.

In any case, I decided to help our dear president by making his bucket list for him. And considering that I have already written a significant number of articles about this tough-talking leader, doing this list from his perspective turned out to be a piece of cake!

So, c’mon. Together, let us check out and keep track of Digong’s list of things he wants to do before he kicks the proverbial bucket. 😉


1. To make good on my promises by appointing my campaign supporters to various government posts

Mark Villar as the DPWH Secretary? Check.
RJ Jacinto as the Presidential Adviser on Economic Affairs and Information Technology? Check.
Kat De Castro as DOT Undersecretary? Check.
Arnell Ignacio as Pagcor’s Assistant VP for Community Relation and Services Department? Check.
Jimmy Bondoc as Pagcor’s Assistant VP for Entertainment? Check.
Aiza Seguerra as the Chairman of the National Youth Commission? Check.
Liza Diño as the Chairperson of the Film Development Council? Check.
Her father, Martin Dino, as the SBMA Chairman? Check.
Freddie Aguilar as the Chairman of the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts? Check.
Cesar Montano as the COO of Tourism Promotions? Check.

Blogger Lorraine Badoy as a DSWD Assistant Secretary? Check.

Blogger Mocha Uson as the PCOO Assistant Secretary? Check.

RJ Nieto of The Thinking Pinoy blog as a DFA consultant? Check.

(Martin Diño was bumped off his position by SBMA Administrator Wilma Eisma. He is set to be appointed DILG Undersecretary, though. Bondoc and Aguilar’s assumption of office, on the other hand, did not push through since both positions are not coterminous with the President’s tenure.)

I have also appointed at least half a dozen of my campaign donors and their relatives to the Cabinet and other positions, and have granted Robin Padilla absolute pardon.


2. To release former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo from her four years of hospital arrest

As early as during the campaign, I already said that I found the evidence against that poor, innocent woman weak. Thank goodness, 11 of the SC Justices thought the same way I did.

After the release of Jinggoy, I also want to have Bong Revilla out of jail. It’s a promise I made to the Caviteños during the campaign.

3. To allow Ferdinand Marcos’ burial in the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani

I don’t care if doing so would piss off a considerable portion of the population, or if it would open anew the festering wounds of the past, or if it would not agree with how the various courts (both local and international), the Constitution and the history itself regard the late dictator. What’s of utmost importance is that I get to keep my promise to the family of my idol, especially to Madam Imee, one of my biggest campaign contributors.

0906_phils-e1473197213662
Photo credit: theintercept.com


4. To wage a bloody all-out war against illegal drugs

The number of drug addicts in the country is quite staggering and scary. I have to slaughter all these idiots. The more than 13,000 casualties so far since I assumed office constitute a mere drop in the bucket. Come on, people, Hitler killed 6 million Jews during the Holocaust! And don’t dare threaten me with a law suit. As the President of the Philippines, I have a presidential immunity. I’m also considering planning to pass a law before I step down to absolve me of all acts that may be construed as crimes. Or I could simply pardon myself for mass murder.


5. To sever our ties with the imperialist nations, particularly with the US that once 
denied my visa application

And what could be the swiftest and most effective way of doing that than cursing them all including their emissaries. Obama, you son of a whore! You, stupid and inutile United Nations, you son of a b***h! To the international press, p*******a ninyo! To the European Union, f**k you! Find me a Singaporean flag and I’ll burn it, son of a b***h! To the Australian government, stay out. This is politics! To US Ambassador Philip Goldberg, you gay son of a b***h!


6. To be besties with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin

There are now three of us against the world —China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way. For those of you claiming that China is a bully, you are sadly mistaken. In fact, China magnanimously offered to build rehab centers in the country to address our problem with drug addiction. Never mind that most of the biggest drug lords operating on our shores are Chinese.


7. To make Leila De Lima suffer the way she made me suffer with her relentless probe on the Davao Death Squad during the years I was Mayor of Davao

I will expose her colorful love life for everyone’s scrutiny and I will draw a drug matrix to uncover her role in the drug trade in Bilibid. The heck with proof and evidence. I just need to smear her reputation and besmirch her spotless public service record. Oh, okay, maybe I can use a handful of the convicted criminals in Bilibid, a self-confessed drug lord, and a scorned ex-lover to fabricate some stories to further implicate her. This is going to be one spectacular show in Congress that the gullible Filipinos will fall for.


8. To establish my own religion

What if there’s no God? Would you still want to be part of the most hypocritical institution, the Catholic Church? I have a new religion now, the Iglesia Ni Duterte. Come, join me. Who knows, maybe my God will also have a two-way conversation with you like He did with me when He made me promise never to curse again.

pia-duterte
Photo credit: thesummitexpress.com


9. To meet, face-to-face, the most beautiful woman in the universe

This happened when our very own Pia Wurtzbach, the reigning Miss Universe, paid me a visit in Malacañang. Aside from chatting about our recent wins in our respective fields and about our beloved Mindanao, we also took some selfies. Cool!


10. To desensitize the Filipinos to violence and aggression

With 5,617 drug-related deaths in 5 months, the death toll now averages at 37 a day. And people prefer to go out into the streets to protest the burial of a former president rather than mourn the death of these drug addicts and drug pushers. I must be doing something right. Presently, I’m also working on desensitizing them to my incurable swearing and potty mouth (I do not have to clean up my mouth. I am a president, not a diplomat!), to the lack of decency and integrity among most of my officials and supporters, and to the blatant disregard of the law. I cannot accomplish the countless promises I made during the campaign if I will be a stickler for the rules.


11. To help our law enforcers regain their lost glory and confidence

I will take good care of them by promising to double their salaries, monitoring the condition of their camps, providing all that they need in fighting the enemies of the state, and protecting them from any legal trouble. Should they commit “lapses” in the performance of their duties especially during the execution of Oplan Tokhang and Oplan Double Barrel, they would not have to worry about ending up behind bars. I will grant them pardon. Did you see what I did with Supt. Marvin Marcos, the CIDG Region 8 Chief who was relieved by Bato due to his alleged involvement in illegal drug trade? I ordered his reinstatement that same day that he was sacked from his post. And when he and his team were implicated a few days after in the killing of Mayor Rolando Espinosa, who they said shot at them while they were serving Espinosa a search warrant in his jail cell before the crack of dawn, I readily believed their story. Not even the NBI findings can sway me.


12. To reinstate death penalty

That is the only way to ensure that criminals pay for their sins in case God does not really exist. I don’t care what the “bleeding hearts” and human rights groups have to say but, when that bill is passed, death penalty can easily be meted out to anyone convicted of possession of dangerous drugs, among other crimes.


13. To lower the age of criminal liability from 15 years old to 9

Organized crimes and adult offenders are purposely capitalizing on these children below 15 to commit crimes such as drug trafficking because the criminals know that the children cannot be held criminally liable for their actions. So, parents, look after your kids. When your 9-year-old babies violate the law, they can no longer get off the hook that easily.


14. To put up a revolutionary government as a precursor to my long-time dream of federalism

Don’t listen to the crap peddled by the paranoid. It is not true that a “revolutionary government would be much more totalitarian because it is extra-constitutional”; that I “would have absolute power”; that I “can abolish key institutions like Congress, like the courts”; and that I “can introduce a new political system, legal system, social system, economic system.” That’s just all crap —a product of their wild imagination. Nothing more.

img_7409
VP Leni, hired through phone call, fired through text message? Photo credit: adobochroniclesdotcom


15. To annoy and humiliate Leni until she, on her own accord, decides to leave my cabinet

Before the international and national media, I will tease her about her relationship status, the short skirt she once wore during a cabinet meeting, and her nice knees and legs (that I and Carlos Dominguez ogle at). I will slash the budget of HUDCC by half, I will not act on her appointment recommendations, and I will not sign any EO she will endorse for my approval. As a coup de grâce, I will have Jun text her to let her know of my instruction for her to desist from attending all cabinet meetings henceforth. And being the epitome of decency, I’m sure that she will be extremely insulted by the rudeness and will resign right away. These yellowtards are pathetically predictable. They’re nothing like my beloved Dutertards.


16. To watch Pacquiao beat Mayweather –to a pulp. And to see the People’s champ as my successor in case Bongbong doesn’t make it.

Alan Peter Cayetano? He’s nothing more to me than a lowly lapdog and a reliable errand boy.


17. To declare Martial Law if the threat of illegal drugs further escalates

I have already tested the waters when I once warned Sereno of not interfering in my campaign against drugs, lest I would be forced to declare Martial Law. I also issued a warning that I may suspend the writ of habeas corpus if lawlessness persists. Unfortunately, people showed massive resistance in both occasions. But, hey, I managed to declare a national state of lawlessness following the deadly blast in Davao. I was also able to successfully place the country under Terror Alert level 3 following the foiled bomb attack near the US Embassy. There’s still hope, I think. It’s just a matter of impeccable timing.


18. To suspend Nur Misuari’s trial and have the arrest warrant against him lifted

He is the MNLF Chairman and I need him in the peace talks. Let us temporarily set aside the fact that over 200 people were killed and thousands more were displaced during their 20-day attacks on Zamboanga City in 2013. I also released Communist leaders for the peace negotiations between the government and the CPP-NPA-NDF.

source
Photo credit to the owner


19. To help the Marcoses make their way back into Malacañang

The reason why I was hesitant to offer Leni a cabinet position right after I assumed office was because of Bongbong. He is my friend, and I did not want to hurt his feelings. Also, I am deeply indebted to the Marcoses. First, my father used to be a cabinet member of the late Ferdinand Marcos. Second, thanks to the Marcoses, I got an overwhelming support from the Ilocanos during the last elections, while I failed miserably in Bicol. Third, Gov. Imee was one of my campaign donors when I ran for office. And, fourth, I have always idolized Pres. Marcos. He was the brightest president our country has ever had. If the choice was solely mine, I would have Bongbong for my VP. In fact, that’s how I introduced him to the Filipino community in China –as my second in command. It’s a good thing, though, that Bongbong has his electoral protest. There’s a chance that he will still be my VP. As Bongbong confidently puts it, “I will eventually take my seat that is being kept warm for me.”


20. To be hailed as the best president in the solar system

I want to make my supporters proud, so when the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) conferred upon me what could possibly be the biggest honor any man could ever receive, I was ecstatic. Finally, a legit agency has acknowledged my burning desire to change this country —even if it costs me my life.

CHECK YOUR FACTS! (PRO-MARCOS ARGUMENTS AND CLAIMS QUASHED)

 

In his book, The Life of Reason, philosopher and novelist George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Germans are not proud of what happened during the Holocaust and, to ensure that their people will be constantly reminded of its horrors and atrocities, and that no one will dare toy with the idea of following in Adolf Hitler’s footsteps, museums and memorials are erected all around Germany.

In the Philippines, no such museum or memorial is built to remind us of the dark days of Martial Law.

No serious efforts to educate the youth about what really transpired during Martial Law are launched.

No major actors have been put behind bars for their abusive and oppressive roles in the execution of Martial Law.

To aggravate the situation is the Filipinos’ propensity to easily forgive and forget. And those who are either “enlightened” or who have first-hand experience of the tyrannical rule of the dictator sit in complete, comfortable and prolonged silence, complacent with the assumption that Filipinos must have already learned their valuable lessons from the past and thus would, at all costs, avoid it from ever happening again.

How naïve could we be, right?

Three decades after the country succeeded in overthrowing the dictatorship, we watched in utter shock and horror as Bongbong Marcos, the scion of the late strongman and kleptocrat Ferdinand Marcos Sr., was almost elected as Vice President –a position that is a heartbeat away from the seat his father held with an iron fist for more than twenty years. Through clever deception, half-truths and outright lies, the Marcos family, their die-hard loyalists and shameless cronies managed to delude more than 14 million Filipinos into thinking that Martial Law, as we knew it, never existed.

But, of course, we know better.

We know that Martial Law is not merely a figment of someone’s wild and delusional imagination. It is not some legend or an old wives’ tale. Martial Law is real. And it is up to us to join hands and counter the revisionist accounts being peddled and spread in social media.

In a humble effort to answer this urgent call, I hereby listed some statements and frequently-asked questions that aim to discredit the truth, and answered them to the best of my ability.

from-malacanang-tumbler-small

Shouldn’t the Marcos rule, which was characterized by a great economy, a myriad of infrastructure projects, and peace and order, be considered the golden era of the Philippine history?

No, the Marcos years should not be considered the golden age of our history!

From 1962 to 1986 (the period before Marcos became president up to the year he was ousted from Malacanang), the country’s total external debt grew from $360 million to $28.3 billion –debts we will pay until year 2025. Peso-dollar exchange rate also surged from P3.50 to a dollar in 1966 to P20.53 to a dollar in 1986. Poverty rate when he first took office in 1965 was 41%. It was 58.9% in 1985, a year before he was ousted. Moreover, our gross domestic product (the total amount of products and services produced in the country) dropped from 3.4% in 1966 to 1.4% in 1986. We fared poorly compared to our Southeast Asian neighbors. From the second richest nation in Asia, we became “The Sick Man of Asia”.

To justify the country’s skyrocketing external debt, the regime embarked on an infrastructure spending spree. All those infrastructure projects, though, were over-priced to accommodate the Marcoses and their cronies’ kickbacks. They also blatantly and wantonly plundered the public coffers and ransacked and sequestered huge local companies until they had almost drained the country and its people of all their resources. PCGG pegged at US$10 billion the total amount of the ill-gotten wealth amassed by the Marcos family during their 21-year reign of terror. Of that amount, only US$4 billion had been confiscated and returned to the treasury. The remaining US$6 billion is yet to be recovered.

Industrialization was neglected under Marcos. Although the Marcos era is remembered by many as an age of industrialization, it was characterized by “crony capitalism” where Marcos’ closest allies were awarded industries and ambitious industrial projects, many of which ended up being inefficient or bankrupt. International Monetary Fund’s Philip Gerson said, “Only Marcos cronies got rich during his rule. The rich got richer, while the poor got poorer.”

Also, the martial law years resulted in poor work conditions as testified by the sharp rise in underemployment which, at one point, afflicted a third of the employed. This dissatisfaction in the labor force (especially among skilled workers) later gave rise to the widespread growth of the OFW phenomenon after 1986. (Read this.)

Prior to his declaration of Martial Law, Marcos suspended the writ of habeas corpus (The writ serves as a safeguard against warrantless arrests and illegal detentions). Freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly were suppressed. Political leaders, student activists, journalists, church personalities, and virtually anybody who dared challenge the people in power or were simply deemed enemies of the state were arrested, tortured, raped or killed. Friends and relatives of the 882 desaparecidos or victims of enforced disappearances gave up hope of ever seeing their loved ones again.

Why is Marcos portrayed as a villain? He is the country’s greatest president ever!

No, he is not! He was a despot, a tyrant, a demagogue, a dictator, a mass murderer, a torturer and a plunderer.

Under Martial Law, 70,000 were incarcerated, 35,000 were tortured, and 3,257 were killed. Historian and writer Alfred McCoy wrote, “the Marcos government appears, by any standard, exceptional for both the quantity and quality of its violence.”

According to the Transparency International Global Corruption Report 2004, Marcos is the world’s second most corrupt leader of all time.

Marcos only declared Martial Law to enforce law and order.

Limited by the 1935 Constitution to only two terms, Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972 and made a new Constitution to legitimize his extended rule. He ruled as the Philippine president for 21 years. His claim that he felt the need to declare ML because the country was threatened by the Communist and the Moro rebels was without basis. From only a handful in 1969, the number of NPA rebels reached 25,000 during his regime because of the human rights abuses and the worsening socio-economic condition during that time.

The Marcoses were rich even before FM became president.

Marcos was not born rich. His father was a lawyer-politician in the province allegedly killed by the Philippine troops for being a Japanese collaborator (Makapili or Filipino traitor) during the war. Regarding the Marcoses’ claim that he made his fortune from the gold taken from the Japanese, former Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Gov. Gabriel Singson had this to say. “It was impossible for the Marcoses to have had 4,000 tons of gold as Imelda once claimed in a newspaper. The BSP only had 650 tons of gold reserves during the Marcos years.

Marcos has been dead for 17 years now. Can’t we just forgive him?

It is easy to ask someone to forgive, especially if you have not been a victim of the same offenses committed against that person. It is easy to tell someone to move on if you have not experienced the same physical pains, emotional trauma and psychological anguish that that person had been forced to endure. It is easy to advise someone to forget if you have not been arrested, abducted, detained, tortured, raped or stigmatized, or if you have not lost a loved one to a heinous crime.

More so, it is difficult to heal without justice.

What we need before we, as a nation, can really forgive and heal from the horrors and nightmares of Martial Law is a full accounting of the perpetrators’ sins (stolen money, corruption of our social institutions, economic sabotage, and human rights violations). Then, we demand from them (or their families) acceptance or acknowledgment of the injustices perpetrated during Martial Law. We also demand remorse and restitution and, finally, retribution. Those are the basic prerequisites for forgiveness.

It is only then that we can accord the Marcoses and their cronies the benefit of human forgiveness, and only then can that forgiveness lead to national healing, reconciliation and peace. And, yes, closure.

marcos

Why should we even care about this issue? (Apathetic:) We were living a comfortable and peaceful life during Martial Law! (Millennial:) It happened years before we were born!

To the apathetic:

I can’t actually find the words that won’t betray the extreme disgust and revulsion I feel towards your kind. The world is much worse and much more dangerous because of people like you. You should just be grateful that you and your family were spared, that someone else took up the cudgels on your behalf, that people sacrificed their lives so that others like you could continue living in your little world of apathy and indifference. There’s a special place in hell reserved only for you.

To the millennials:

You are now enjoying all these liberties and rights (to watch your favorite tv show, to express your opinions on social media, to stay out until the wee hours of the morning, to criticize any official of the government, to meet with your friends, to join rallies and demonstrations, and many others) because people dared to fight the Marcos dictatorship. The least you could do is to make sure that you acquaint yourself with the country’s history –not the revised version but the accurate one, the one penned with the blood of the countless Martial Law victims. And if it’s not too much to ask, share those facts and verifiable truth with your friends.

Since the ouster of Marcos in 1986, our country has not progressed much. Weren’t the presidents that came after him equally guilty of betraying the people’s trust?

If you think that our life today is comparable with that during Martial Law, you must be reading only the revisionists’ accounts of history. I suggest that you expand your horizons. Or, better yet, scroll back up and read again.

All the other leaders –before, during or after Martial Law– have their own shortcomings and lapses in judgement. Whatever the post-Marcos presidents did is theirs to answer to the people. They would have their time, with history as the ultimate judge of their respective leaderships. Right now, though, the issue at hand is that of Marcos.

Why all this noise? Isn’t LNMB just a place for dead people?

The LNMB is no ordinary cemetery. It was established as a fitting resting place for deceased

  • Medal of Valor awardees
  • Presidents of commander-in-chief, AFP
  • Secretaries of national defense
  • AFP chiefs of staff
  • Generals/flag officers of the AFP
  • Active and retired military personnel of the AFP (including active draftees and trainees who died in line of duty, and active reservists and CAFGU Active Auxiliary who died in combat-related activities)
  • Former members of the AFP who laterally entered or joined the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police
  • Veterans of Philippine Revolution of 1890, World War I, World War II, and recognized guerrillas
  • Government dignitaries, statesmen, national artist and other deceased persons whose interment and re-interment has been approved by the commander-in-chief, Congress or the secretary of national defense
  • Former presidents, secretaries of defense, dignitaries, statesmen, national artists, widows of former presidents, secretaries of national defense and chief of staff (Read this.)

LNMB, as its name implies, symbolizes heroism. It is in our best interest to recognize and value symbols and what they stand for. Otherwise, the flag would just be a piece of fancy cloth, the Noli and El Fili just storybooks, and the monuments and statues just overpriced slabs of rocks.

Ferdinand Marcos’ family should not be held accountable for the late president’s transgressions.

Yes, they should be. And they owe the Filipino people an apology over the Martial Law atrocities. Big time!

 According to the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanang (CARMMA), Imelda Marcos was the biggest Marcos crony, whose free rides in the Philippine Airlines made its debt balloon to $13.8 billion in 1986. She was also the head of the Metro Manila Commission (precursor of the Metro Manila Development Authority) which, by the end of 1985, had accumulated debts of P1.99 billion (which included $100 million in foreign loans) in its 10 years of existence.

Bongbong, meanwhile, continues to whitewash the Marcos dictatorship’s crony capitalism, of which he had been a part. In 1985, when he was 26 years old, his father appointed him chairman of the board of the Philippine Communications Satellite Corporation (Philcomsat), receiving a monthly salary of anywhere between $9,700 to $97,000. (This, despite that fact that he rarely went to the Philcomsat office.) In 1986, government auditors discovered that Philcomsat was one of the many corporations and organizations used to siphon ill-gotten wealth out of the country.

When the Marocses fled to Hawaii, US Customs inspectors found around 300 crates filled with jewelry, gold, as well as 1,500 documents described by then US Lawmaker Stephen Solarz as “an encyclopedia of corruption.” The documents included a Marcos memo to the PNB that ordered transfer of P20 million to him, a list of expenses for Imelda’s overseas trips, a memo showing deposits and interests in overseas banks amounting to $30 million, around $11.2 million in commissions from Westinghouse (the designer and builder of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant), a listing of precious gems, deposit certificates and bearer bonds worth $4 million, as well as stock transfer deeds, bank documents, financial information about hotels,  and payments made directly to the former dictator and his wife for “Disaster Relief Projects.” Marcos was indicted in the US in 1988 for racketeering. He was accused of stealing more than $100 million to buy buildings in New York. He died later, before any verdict was handed out. (Watch this.)

Bongbong once said that, “The sins of the parents, if there are any, are not for the children to inherit.” That may be correct. It is not correct, however, to shamelessly live off the fruits of the legendary Marcos plunder while arrogantly peddling the lie that his father’s unbelievable wealth is legitimate. He also committed a grave injustice to the Martial Law victims when he said, “Pera-pera lang ang habol ng mga ‘yan”, referring to the 9,539 human rights victims in the Hawaii class suit who won the case against the Marcos estate. (Read this.)

Recently, Imee Marcos said that she cannot make a categorical admission of guilt over what happened during Martial Law because she was still “too young” then. I think, we should help Ms. Marcos refresh her failing memory by reminding her of Archimedes Trajano’s unfortunate fate. Trajano, a 21-year-old Mapua student in 1977 questioned Imee, during an open forum, on the latter’s appointment as the national chairman of the Kabataang Barangay. He was seized and dragged out of the venue by the presidential daughter’s bodyguards and, hours later, “his body was found severely tortured and beaten to death.” (Read this.)

As a former president and soldier, doesn’t Marcos deserve to be buried at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani?

No, and I have four arguments to support my unequivocal answer.

First, according to no less than the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), Marcos is unfit for a hero’s burial, stating that his records as a soldier during World War II “is fraught with myths, factual inconsistencies, and lies”. Based on the NHCP study, Marcos “lied about receiving US medals (Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and Order of the Purple Heart). His guerilla unit, the Ang Mga Maharlika, his leadership of it, and his claimed rank promotion from Major to Lt. Col. were never officially recognized by the US officials. Most importantly, some of Marcos’ actions as a soldier were officially called into question by the upper echelons of the US military.” These include:

  • his command over the Allas Intelligence Unit (described as “usurpation”)
  • his commissioning of officers (without authority)
  • his abandonment of USAFIP-NL presumably to build an airfield for Gen. Roxas
  • his collection of money for the airfield (described as “illegal”)
  • his listing of his name on the roster of different units (called a “malicious criminal act”)

NHCP added that, “A doubtful record does not serve as sound, unassailable basis of historical recognition of any sort, let alone of the burial in a site intended, as its name suggests, for heroes.” (Read this.)

Secondly, according to the rules of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFPR G 161-375 dated 11 Sept. 2000)), Marcos, as a former president, is entitled to a cemetery plot at the LNMB. Stated on that same regulation, however, are two important conditions under which qualified personnel can be disqualified to be interred in the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani. These are:

  • Personnel who were dishonorably separated/reverted/discharged from the service
  • Personnel who were convicted by final judgement of an offense involving moral turpitude (Read this.)

Marcos cannot be disqualified on the basis of the second condition because he was never convicted by final judgment of any offense involving moral turpitude (Bouvier’s Law Dictionary defines moral turpitude as anything “which is done contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals”). Although we can cite countless offenses involving moral turpitude committed by Marcos, he died before he could be charged, tried and convicted.

But the first condition is an altogether different matter.

There is only one way for any president to be dishonorably separated, reverted or discharged, and that is by revolution of the people who, as the sovereign authority, had temporarily vested its governmental powers in that official. The EDSA or People Power Revolution of 1986 “dishonorably discharged” Marcos not only for conduct unbecoming of an officer but, most significantly, for the slew of crimes he committed during Martial Law.

Thirdly, Section 1 of the Republic Act No. 289, the statute that provides for the creation of a national pantheon for Presidents of the Philippines, National Heroes and Patriots of the country, states that a pantheon which shall be the burial place of their mortal remains (in this case, the LNMB) shall be constructed “to perpetuate the memory of all the Presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and patriots for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and generations still unborn.

The question to be asked then should be, What is it exactly about Marcos that would be worthy of inspiration and emulation?

Prof. Winnie Monsod has this to say. Is it “his forcing himself on the Filipino people for 13 more years after his last term had expired? His stealing from the people (P170 billion, and still counting)? His being considered the second most corrupt leader in the world? His abuse of powers to incarcerate his opponents? His violations of human rights? His cheating in the 1986 “snap” election—the final straw for the Filipino people?”

Finally, Imelda Marcos was made to sign an agreement with the government when they were allowed to bring to the country the late dictator’s remains in 1992. The four conditions thus expressly stipulated in the agreement were:

  • the body was to be flown directly to Ilocos
  • Marcos would be given honors as a Major, his last rank in military service
  • Marcos’ body was not to be paraded in Metro Manila
  • Marcos was not to be buried at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani, but in Batac, Ilocos Norte, beside his mother (as apparently requested by him)

We all know that the Marcoses, being Marcoses, did not feel the need to comply with those conditions.

The body was not buried but put on a refrigerated display for more than 13 years. Apparently, the family was waiting for a “friendly” president to come along –a president who would grant their wish of immortalizing their patriarch at the Libingan. Well, they finally got it when Duterte won the presidency. On November 18, 2016, in a sneaky attempt to elude the outrage of the Filipino people, the Marcoses snuck in into the LNMB the late dictator’s  body for a secret burial. According to anti-Marcos activists, it was clearly an unscrupulous move to preempt their appeal of the SC’s decision. (The group already filed with the Supreme Court a manifestation that they will be appealing the latter’s decision to allow the burial, and the petitioners were supposed to have 15 days to do it.)

According to Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, “This is a continuing deception and underhandedness of the Marcos family and they are just continuing the abuses and atrocities committed during Martial Law.”

Sen. Risa Hontiveros couldn’t have said it better. “There is no grave, no mausoleum, no decision of any court or order from any president that will keep the truth that Marcos is not a hero.” Also, I wonder what the Marcoses would have felt when, at the end of the military gun salute and when the triangular-folded flag was handed over to them, these words were spoken, “on behalf of a grateful nation…”

20161111-anti-marcos-uplb-cq-1

The Supreme Court has already decided. Shouldn’t that decision put an end to all these protests?

I read this somewhere. “Apartheid was legal, the Holocaust was legal, Slavery was legal, Colonialism was legal.” And now, with the nine SC justices’ affirmative votes, the burial of the late dictator Marcos at the LNMB is also legal. Clearly, legality does not establish morality.

The Supreme Court decision is an utter “disregard to the historic truths and legal principles that persist after Marcos’ death,” Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno said.

The SC, as well as the international judicial tribunals, in several decisions in the past have acknowledged and documented the plunder and human rights violations committed by Marcos. It was because of this very acknowledgment that our present Constitution was framed in such a way that out rights are tightly safeguarded, democratic practices and principles are ensured, and the possibility of another Martial Law would be subject to the most stringent of requirements. It was also because of this very acknowledgment that the State recognizes its moral and legal obligation to provide reparation to the Martial Law victims through the RA No. 10368 or the Reparation of the Human Rights Victims Law. Finally, it was because of this very acknowledgment that the PCGG was tasked to recover the billions of dollars that comprise the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth.

With its controversial decision, SC had somehow contradicted all their earlier decisions that suggest that Marcos was a plunderer and human rights violator.

Also, the Supreme Court chose to scrutinize the technicalities of the petitioners’ arguments rather than contemplate the latter’s fervent appeal for truth and justice when the SC asserts that the case should have been filed first with the proper RTC and when it maintains that the LNMB is not a national shrine but is merely a military shrine. It also claims that the interment will not, in any way, confer upon Marcos the status of a hero because the purpose of LNMB, despite its name, is “neither to confer to the people buried there the title of hero nor to require that only those interred therein should be treated as a hero.” It also alleges in its decision that the matter of contention has become a political issue.

How could the Supreme Court be that insensitive? Part of their mandate as an independent, impartial, effective and efficient Judiciary is to defend the welfare of the people and to protect their rights.

The Supreme Court further declares that “Marcos should be viewed and judged in his totality as a person. While he was not all good, he was not pure evil either. Certainly, just a human who erred like us.” (I know, I also had difficulty believing that these words were penned by our judicious magistrates.)

But we have to remember that the SC justices are just men and women who could be as fallible and corruptible as any of us. They could also commit grave mistakes. And, definitely, they and their decisions are not beyond reproach.

Pres. Duterte has been elected into office by an overwhelming landslide win. We, the voters, through our votes, authorized him to do what he promised during the campaign he would do should he win.

I swear, this argument did not come from an unsophisticated mind of a troll. This came from no less than Salvador Panelo, the Chief Legal Counsel of Pres. Duterte (yes, he is the same man who lawyered for these personalities: Marcoses on the cases of ill-gotten wealth against them, Andal Ampatuan, Jr. on the Maguindanao massacre case, Bong Revilla, Jr. on his PDAF plunder and graft cases, former Laguna Mayor Antonio Sanchez on the double murder case of two UPLB students, former Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos on the electoral sabotage case, Philip Medel on the murder case of actress Nida Blanca, Deniece Cornejo on her rape case against Vhong Navarro, Dennis Roldan on the kidnapping case of a Chinoy boy, and of course, Pres. Duterte on the case of hidden wealth filed against him by Sen. Trillanes.)

Anyway, to answer his argument, I did not vote for Duterte, and his vocal position on the Marcos burial at the LNMB was one of the reasons why. However, when he won the election, I endeavored to respect the choice of the greater number of voters while making a vow to be vigilant with my duties to question, to guard, to challenge and to seek truth and justice at all times.

It is in keeping with that vow that I am questioning the reason behind the President’s decision to allow that burial.

According to the SC decision, it is because of his desire for national healing and reconciliation (which I wrote above is not feasible without meeting the basic requirements for forgiveness) –- a statement which is not in harmony with his public pronouncements on the subject. His decision is borne out of his desire to fulfill his promise to the Marcoses during campaign and as a payback for his debt of gratitude to Imee Marcos for financially supporting his presidential bid.

He also said that the issue over the burial is a fight between two families. With that single carelessly-thrown statement, he was able to reduce the Filipinos’ struggles for two decades, the fear and horror and nightmare of Martial Law, the lives lost and the billions of dollars plundered from our coffers, into one inconsequential, capricious issue that requires minimum scrutiny and deliberation.

Another one of his reasons is because Marcos “was a soldier. He was there to fight for his country. Even if he is not a hero, he is a Filipino and he is, once upon a time, a president. That’s the law, we cannot go out of the law. I am not dwelling on his exploits.” Let me answer this with a statement from someone who is adept at history. Maria Serena Diokno, the Chairman of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) who resigned following the controversial burial, said “The justice of history, anchored on historical truth, is far greater than that which any court, including the highest court of the land, can render (or in this case, fail to render). As President of our Republic, you have the unique opportunity and obligation to heed the demands of the justice of History, and thereby lead the way to true healing.”

As for me, let me leave the President with this image

15086316_1130486717033908_665903145_n

…and the readers with this message:

Wake up, kabayan! Fight historical revisionism NOW.

Tomorrow may be too late.

 http://www.rappler.com/views/imho/124682-marcos-economy-golden-age-philippines

http://news.abs-cbn.com/focus/v2/09/21/14/life-under-marcos-fact-check

https://www.scribd.com/document/330360599/AFP-Regulation-Allocation-of-Cemetery-Plots-at-the-Libingan-ng-mga-Bayani?secret_password=kyAUvy7WRFJSQznwFOno#fullscreen&from_embed

https://carmmaph.wordpress.com/tag/bong-bong-marcos/

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B9c6mrxI4zoYS2I0UWFENEp6TkU/view

ww.filipiknow.newt/lesser-known-martial-law-photos/

 

 

AN OPEN LETTER FOR MY FELLOW FILIPINOS

My Dearest Kababayan,

I’ve always prided myself for handling stressful situations well. If there are negative people around me, I could easily avoid them. If a social media friend proves to be too annoying or too antagonistic, I could effortlessly block him from my account. If a conversation steers toward a potentially upsetting subject, I could smoothly drag it back to safer ground. If a television channel or a radio station I’m tuned in suddenly becomes too loud for my taste, I could quickly change it or turn the TV or radio off.

Life could be that simple.

Why would I subject myself to hypertension-inducing or wrinkle-causing situations when avoidance is a far more convenient, healthy and favorable choice, right?

During the height of the election campaign, however, I realized that there are certain issues that could only be dealt with by confronting them head-on.

One of such issues is the possible return of a Marcos in Malacanang.

The Marcos camp, using a teeny-weeny portion of their billion dollar plunder during Martial Law, was able to successfully launch an online propaganda of a twisted version of history. Our history.

UP-Diliman-Palma-Hall-Marshall-Law
Photo credit: philstar.com

People like you and me, complacent in the knowledge that Filipinos have already learned valuable lessons from the past, did nothing to counter these efforts. I, on a personal level, even engaged in a word war with a confraternity brod when he sweepingly referred to the Filipino electorate as “bobotante”. After all that we have gone through as a nation, we have grown into smart and intelligent voters, I argued. We didn’t deserve such a disparaging label.

So through our complacency, we inadvertently allowed our history to be twisted by people with equally twisted minds, and through our inaction, we have unwittingly agreed for this perverted act to be accepted by the ignorant, the gullible, the forgiving or the narrow-minded.  

The little less than 14 million votes that Bongbong Marcos garnered in the vice-presidential race is a testament that a great number of Filipino voters are, indeed, “bobotante”.

Kababayan, my heart is shattered into a million pieces right now. I am hurting. I am frustrated. I am disappointed. I am furious.

When are we eventually going to learn?

Yours,

Mom On A Mission (Lorelei B. Aquino)

PS: I want to share this Facebook post with you in the hope that the strong and powerful words used by the writer will rouse you from your comfortable slumber; that you will emerge from the warm web of lies you have cocooned yourself in – informed, wiser, more aware; that, in the future, you will be one of us as a vigilant guard of truth and a staunch protector of our national patrimony.

Emma, I couldn’t have penned this better. You are truly a gem! Thank you.

To all my FB friends and families,

Please indulge me.

During the dark years of our country under Martial Law, people died and sacrificed their lives to regain our freedom. Cronies like Danding Cojuangco, Juan Ponce Enrile, Lucio Tan & many more flourished. Billions were plundered and none of those have been returned despite court rulings finding for the government. Just to be clear again—money lost, lives lost and those cannot be undone.

I, as much as the next man, value my freedom — but even more so because it’s the kind of freedom that claimed lives. I just can’t take any of these for granted.

Those who opposed Marcos then did not hide behind a nasty tweet or a rising FB post with a meme to stand up to the late corrupt dictator. They took to the streets and faced tanks and guns aimed at them without hesitation.

They did not deactivate their social media accounts when they were outed. Instead, they were abducted from their homes or their workplace only to be tortured (or killed) beyond recognition.

So, here’s the deal…if you are one of these.

* If you have voted for BongBong Marcos whom I consider without a doubt, as one of the world’s unrepentant crooks and you are one of the 13 million voters who want a Marcos back in Malacanang and just a heartbeat away from the presidency, I question your judgement.

* If you continue to spread lies about Martial Law where a total of 107,240 were either jailed without due process, tortured, raped, electrocuted, burnt and 3,240 of them were executed but only 75,000 of them came forward when the country passed a repatriation law to compensate victims of Martial Law because the rest are either still missing or already dead without justice, I question your integrity.

* If you’re a Marcos apologist or a history revisionist who try to justify the Marcos atrocities or prodding us to move on for the sake of progress, I believe you are not only intellectually dishonest but also morally confused.

* If you’re one of those people who say, “the victims have moved on, why can’t you?” I would like you to put yourself into the shoes of these people — just 3 regular people — and see if you’ll be okay with Martial Law:

* Liliosa Hilao, the first female and student activist to die in detention during martial rule. Her body, when found, showed signs of torture—her lips bore cigarette burns, her arms had injection marks, and her body was full of bruises. According to her sister, her internal organs were removed to cover up signs of torture and possible sexual abuse.

* Boyet Mijares, who was only 16 years old when he disappeared. His only sin – being the son of the whistleblower and writer Primitivo Mijares.

* Archimedes Trajano, who was 21 when he questioned Imee Marcos on why she was the National Chairman of the Kabataang Barangay during an open forum. A few days later, he was found dead. His body showed signs of torture.

* So, are you still okay with it? Do you still think of Martial Law as that “thingy”?

If you are any of those above, then it means we do not share the same values. We have nothing in common. There is no reason for us to be FB friends or be friends of any kind, in any way, shape or form.

It’s one thing to have differing opinions but it’s another thing if you go out of your way to disinform, revise and promote the legacy of the Marcoses. That I can’t take.

I do not resent you or hate you. I just do not want to be affiliated with you anymore. That’s why I will be purging my FB list shortly. Feel free to be one step ahead and delete/block me now if you fit any of the descriptions above.

It was nice knowing you.

EDSA at 31

As we celebrate today the 31st anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution, let me address these few questions to our beloved  millennials:

  • What would you feel if you can’t watch your favorite TV shows because all the media networks are closed down except for a few that are government-controlled?
  • What would you feel if all your activities on all your social media accounts are being closely monitored and censored by the government, or worse, if you’re not allowed to have any account at all?
  • What would you feel if you can’t stay out beyond 12 midnight because of an imposed curfew?
  • What would you feel if you are put behind bars if you so much as say, write or post something about your candid, but negative, observation about how things are run in the government?
  • What would you feel if you can’t openly meet with your classmates to discuss a school project for fear that your meeting could be charged as an illegal assembly?
  • What would you feel if your friend, after joining a rally, is found tortured beyond recognition?
  • What would you feel if your girlfriend, sister or mother is abducted and raped by a high-ranking official or his son or even his driver, and that perpetrator is walking around scot-free?
  • What if your father is sbrutally killed because he refused to sell his land to any one of the president’s relatives or friends?

I was just thirteen years old when the EDSA People Power Revolution took place in 1986. I, along with my parents, were monitoring the events unfolding in EDSA from our little home in Bataan through our transistor radio.

407159_250470691702186_577496974_n
image grabbed from the internet

I sat in rapt attention as June Keithley Castro reported over Radio Veritas and later on, Radyo Bandido, a  blow-by-blow account of the revolution — the official announcement of then Defense Sec. Juan Ponce Enrile and Armed Forces Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel V. Ramos of their withdrawal of support of the Marcos regime; the crucial role that then Army Col. Gregorio Honasan and his allies at the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) played by way of rebellion; Butz Aquino’s decision to bring the August Twenty-One Movement (ATOM) leaders, members and supporters to Camps Aguinaldo and Crame to support the rebel soldiers; and, of course, the late Jaime Cardinal Sin’s historic call to the Filipino people to leave their homes and proceed to EDSA to support Enrile, Ramos and their troops in their fight against the dictator.

I sat in awe as hundreds of thousands of people came pouring in from both near and far to heed the call of the Cardinal until the part of EDSA from Ortigas Avenue to Cubao was filled with a multitude that reached an estimate of three million.

I sat in horror when I heard that Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Fabian Ver sent armored tanks, carriers and heavily-armed soldiers to disperse the burgeoning throng in EDSA.

I sat in tears when, after Brig. Gen. Artemio Tadiar warned the crowd that he would open fire if they don’t disperse, people responded by singing “Bayan Ko,” praying the rosary, and offering the soldiers flowers and food.

I sat in immense relief when not a single shot was fired. The EDSA People Power Revolution — our revolution – was later hailed as the first non-violent, bloodless revolution that the world had ever witnessed.

I sat in excitement as the late Corazon Aquino and Salvador Laurel, in an inauguration at the Club Filipino, were sworn into office by Senior Justice Claudio Teehankee as the duly-elected President and Vice-President, respectively.

I sat in jubilation when the news broke out that, after the crowds stayed to serve as human barricades both in EDSA and Malacanang for four days, the Marcos family and their closest allies finally left the Palace and fled the country. The entire world rejoiced with us. Bob Simon, a CBS anchorman, even said, “We, Americans, like to think that we taught the Filipinos democracy. Well, tonight, they are teaching the world.

I sat in solemn silence when it was all over. Still overwhelmed with a myriad of emotions, I thanked the Almighty for His guidance and protection in allowing the voice of the people to prevail without bloodshed, in ousting the dictator that put us in hell for more than a decade, and in providing hope and a ray of sunshine for a nation that has been shrouded in darkness and misery for far too long.

During that entire time, I was just sitting within the relative safety of our home.

Listening.

Observing.

Learning.

But at that tender age of 13, I already knew what drove those hordes of people to EDSA.

The nightmarish tales of disappearances, tortures, killings, warrantless arrests, detentions and other horrendous acts of human rights violations and abuses against political leaders, student activists, journalists, church personalities, and virtually anybody who would dare challenge the people in power during Martial Law were my father’s favorite topic back then. (My father used to be an activist in Manila before my mother, afraid for his safety, whisked him off to the province.) He told me everything he knew about how the Marcoses and their cronies would blatantly and wantonly plunder the public coffers and ransack and sequester huge local companies until they had almost drained the country and its people of all their resources. He also introduced me to the tyrant’s insatiable greed for power when Marcos pressured the Constitutional Convention to replace the 1935 charter, which would have disqualified him from seeking another four-year presidential term. Marcos also made sure to maintain his tight grip on power when, during the snap elections a few days prior to the EDSA revolution, widespread practices of fraud, vote-buying, intimidation, violence and tampering of election returns were reported.

We, Filipinos, could be long-suffering and forgiving, oftentimes, to a fault. But there would always be that proverbial straw that would break the camel’s back.

In our case, it was the treacherous and ruthless assassination of Ninoy Aquino on August 21, 1983. That event, which triggered a series of civil disobedience campaigns that eventually culminated in the 1986 revolution, proved that a dead Ninoy could be a more formidable opponent to the Marcoses than the fearless, fast-talking, hard-hitting political leader that the former was when he was alive. Ninoy’s death inspired and empowered the masses to go out to the streets and shout, “Sobra na! Tama na! Palitan na!”  It resulted to public outrage that eventually put an end to Marcos’ 21-year oppressive rule. It changed our country’s history.

Today, exactly thirty years after that fateful day when democracy was finally restored, I have to ask myself. And again, you, my dear millennials.

Have we, as a nation, adequately learned our lessons from that dark part of our history?

Or are we like some people who try to bend history itself? To conveniently forget? To forgive the perpetrators without a single person held accountable for the atrocities of Martial Law? To reinstate the same people who had been principal players during the dictatorship?

If you want to hear it, in a nutshell, here goes.

According to the historian and writer Alfred McCoy, “the Marcos government appears, by any standard, exceptional for both the quantity and quality of its violence.”

  • 70,000 were incarcerated; 35,000 were tortured; 882 went missing; and 3,257 were murdered.
  • The country’s foreign debt of US$7 billion in 1965 when Marcos was first elected President ballooned to US$25 billion in 1986, the year he was ousted.
  • PCGG pegged at US$10 billion the total amount of the ill-gotten wealth amassed by the Marcos family during their 21-year reign. Of that amount, only US$4 billion had been confiscated and returned to the treasury. The remaining US$6 billion is yet to be recovered.

Despite all these glaring statistics, though, people, mostly those your age, are still singing a totally different tune. Many of our young voters are fooled into believing that the Martial Law era was the best part of our history, and that a Marcos scion should be catapulted back into power.

Ninoy and Cory Aquino, along with the thousands of Martial Law casualties, must have been rolling over in their graves right now.