THE ART OF CONDITIONING THE FILIPINOS’ MINDS

Rodrigo Duterte’s entry into the national political arena, and his eventual ascension to the presidency, opened the floodgates to numerous powerful assertions that changed, and are still changing, the way most Filipinos view and accept things. His repeated public pronouncements on various issues have managed to condition our minds to abandon some deeply entrenched values and beliefs to accommodate his largely unconventional and radical ideas and views. The questions thus currently burning a hole in our minds are these: “When his term ends, can the Filipinos’ minds be unconditioned or reconditioned to how they used to be? Or would we even want that to happen?”

The following are Duterte’s claims and proclamations that many of his supporters are gobbling up—greedily, naively, insatiably.

 

The country seriously needs change, and it can only be acquired through Duterte.

An assertion that the Duterte camp successfully used to anchor their campaign platform on was the country’s supposed need for a drastic change.

Then presidential candidate Duterte capitalized on the collective frustration, hopelessness, and pent-up anger of many Filipinos over the previous administrations’ alleged ineptitude and lack of compassion for the most marginalized members of our society. He managed to convince the electorate that the country was suffering because it had been governed, for the longest time, by the wealthy oligarchs and traditional politicians whose only interests were to protect their wealth and other personal agenda. He was able to manipulate us into thinking that he was one of the disadvantaged masses, one of the ordinaryong Pilipino, and that he was our last hope – our Messiah – to that ever-elusive change.

As much as I don’t want to come off as the previous administration’s mouthpiece, much less its apologist, but history would tell us that President Aquino is largely credited for stabilizing our economy when most in the region was stumbling or falling apart. (President Duterte himself admitted that there was no need to fix the country’s economy left by PNoy because it was doing well.) PNoy even enjoyed a 57% satisfaction rating days before he vacated Malacañang – the highest among the ratings of all the post-Martial Law presidents.

Even the die-hard LP supporters have to admit though that, like the other presidents before him, PNoy had his shortcomings and lapses in judgment, some with graver consequences than others. But I would like to believe that the man served his country the best way he knew how. He just needed a few more years to allow the people to fully enjoy the proverbial fruits of his labor, thus, his appeal for continuity.

But, no, we couldn’t give him that.

How could we when we were already conditioned to clamor for change? We were made to believe that waiting did not have to be an option when someone else could very well make our lives better in an instant. Yes, we, the most gullible of the lot, fell for all those promises of quick results – hook, line and sinker. It didn’t matter one iota that most of those promises were ludicrous, outrageous, unrealistic, or ill-thought-out, as proven by the developments and changes that have already taken place under Duterte’s administration.  (Read Change Has Truly Come Sa Bayan Ni Juan.)

 

The country is plunging into narco-statehood.

I am sick and tired of hearing President Duterte’s repeated assertions that the Philippines is on the verge of becoming a narco state. He used that claim during the campaign, and won the presidency primarily because of his bold promise to eradicate drugs, along with corruption and criminality, in just 3-6 months after he assumes office. Now, already on his 12th month and with more than 12,000 drug-related casualties, he continues to feed us with the same statement during his public tirades and rants…as if he also needs to constantly convince himself of its veracity.

But, how serious, really, is the drug problem in the country?

Based on the 2015 nationwide survey on the Nature and Extent of Drug Abuse in the Philippine, as commissioned by the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB), drug use incidence from Jan 1, 2015 – Feb 5, 2016 is at an estimated 1.8 million, or 1.8% of that year’s total population.

I am not, in any way, trying to discount or even downplay this number or its possible social and criminal repercussions, but this figure is hardly tantamount to an epidemic – especially considering the facts that it was significantly lower than the recorded 6.7 million users in the country in 2004 (the year with the highest recorded number of drug users) and the 5.2% global average of drug use in 2014.

So where did the President get his figure of 4 million “drug addicts,” you ask?

According to the same survey, the lifetime drug use prevalence in the country is at around 6.1%. Simply translated, this means that the number of Filipinos who have used illegal drugs at least once in their lives is 4.8 million. President Duterte might have drawn his 4 million figure from this datum. Or it may be, as the President constantly claims, from ex-PDEA Chief Dionisio Santiago’s old estimate of 3 million —which the former raised to 4 million using a highly complex process called logical deduction that only he was privy to. (Note that the PDEA Chief was one of the 17 members of DDB, hence, his sole source of official data and figures should be the DDB itself.)

Either way, the President’s basis for his 4 million figure is clearly erroneous. Intentional or otherwise, President Duterte based the “bloody” all-out war that the government continues to wage against illegal drugs on an incorrect premise.

 

The country will be better off if we ally ourselves with China (and if we keep our distance from our long-time partners like the US and the EU).

The President has also been conditioning us to believe that China is our country’s ally – a benevolent, reliable and generous one. He wants us to conveniently ignore China’s blatant disregard of the UN arbitral tribunal ruling favoring the Philippines on our maritime dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea. Questioning China’s bullying, territorial-grabbing and subjugating efforts would, for him, reduce us to nothing more than a bunch of ingrates. So, the next time China builds another artificial island on the WPS, undertakes an exploration of Benham Rise, threatens our fishermen anew, questions our DND Secretary’s visit to one of the islands in the WPS, or worse, sends drones and surveillance cameras and targets us with their precision weapons and missiles should we decide to drill oil there, we should just try to look the other way and remind ourselves of all of China’s pledges – a ready market for our exported bananas, an influx of Chinese tourists, a dole-out of investments and loans, and an unlimited supply of illegal drugs. (Read this.)

 

The Catholic Church will soon be passé.

The Philippines is home to the largest Catholic population in Asia, holding the record for being the third largest Catholic country in the world. Under the present administration though, the Church has been the subject of constant attacks, tirades, and condemnation from no less than the President himself. When clergymen and church figures criticize Duterte’s bloody war on drugs, the President readily retaliates by lambasting the church and its leaders, claiming that the Church has no moral ascendancy and is a hypocritical institution that will soon be irrelevant and passé. Once, he even urged Catholics to stop listening to the priests and, instead, join the Iglesia ni Duterte – a religion he would establish that, he claimed, would not be as restrictive as the Catholic Church. In his Iglesia, he added, men can have as many as five wives.

 

The media is the epitome of bias and corruption.

When the President’s controversial and, oftentimes, contradicting statements and pronouncements stir discord, draw flak, or are picked up by the international press, the local media usually bear the brunt of Malacañang’s censure and wrath. The Chief Executive and his henchmen allege the journalists of unfair reporting and of deliberately misinterpreting, misunderstanding, misquoting, twisting, or sensationalizing Duterte’s words. Critics claim that this knee-jerk reaction and behavior could be considered an attempt to discredit or undermine the media. In the face of the most recent expletive-laden attacks and allegations of the President against the media, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility proclaimed that that form of harassment and intimidation “has brought the highest office to a historic low.” It could be recalled that Communications Secretary Andanar, a media practitioner himself, once accused the Senate media of receiving $1,000 each for covering the press conference of self-confessed DDS member, retired SPO3 Arthur Lascañas. Mocha Uson, an ardent supporter of Duterte and, now, a presidential appointee, makes a habit of calling the media outfits that are critical of the president, “presstitutes.” She also makes a habitual call to her millions of online supporters to boycott the country’s traditional, mainstream media. Additionally, when Duterte won the online poll for the Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World, his supporters rejoiced. Malacañang said that it was indicative of the fact that Duterte is “so admired” by Filipinos and international leaders because of his national agenda. However, when his approach against drugs was heavily criticized by a former Colombian President, who was tasked by Time Magazine to pen the write-up on Duterte (while Duterte’s archnemesis, Sen. Leila De Lima, received a glowing write-up from a former US Ambassador), Malacañang was quick to point out that the said magazine has not been fair by choosing to focus on the negative, unsubstantiated news about the President, while failing to mention the reason behind De Lima’s incarceration.

 

Spreading fake news is fine, even for government agencies and entities.

Both the Philippine News Agency and Mocha Uson, as the newly appointed Assistant Secretary for Social Media, are under the competent stewardship of Andanar’s PCOO. Uson has been the source of numerous fake news that Duterte supporters gleefully spread. Apparently, her new government position does not deter her from continuing with her old ways as she recently shared a wrong photo of the Philippine Army on Facebook. PCOO, on its part, was responsible for an animated video promoting Martial Law, while PNA has had its fair share of blunders like its report that 95 nations, in their UN Human Rights Council meeting, were convinced that there are no extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

 

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The opposition is constantly working to destabilize the government.

Under this administration, opposition is not regarded as a necessary partner in legitimizing our democratic right to dissent, or even in hearing out the voices coming from the proverbial other side of the fence. Instead of directly addressing the issues hurled at them, Duterte and his minions of apologists and defenders are known to malign, intimidate, mock, verbally abuse, humiliate, threaten, persecute and, in Sen. De Lima’s case, jail anyone who holds contrary views and adversarial positions. The United Nations, the European Union, leaders of other nations, human rights advocates, the faith-based groups, and the international and local media – they are all nothing but an unruly bunch working closely with the “dilawan” in hounding and attacking the government, with the sole intent of overthrowing it. Early this year, all the remaining opposition senators were stripped of leadership posts and committee chairmanships while, in the House of Representatives, the solons who voted against the death penalty bill were ousted from their key posts. If this tyrannical condition persists, all the political dissenters under this administration will eventually find themselves cowering in the corner, voiceless and powerless, behind bars or, worse, rotting away six feet under.

 

Slut shaming, catcalling, disrespecting or objectifying women is acceptable.

President Duterte’s sexist, chauvinistic and, to an extent, misogynistic reputation remains intact months after he assumed presidency. More than 16 million voters chose to ignore the offensive “jokes” Duterte constantly delivered during his campaign sorties – jokes about his multiple girlfriends (of which one of them he claims is for his “short-time” use only), their housemaid that he used to molest in her sleep, the Australian missionary raped and brutally killed by a gang of inmates that he thought was a waste because the missionary was so beautiful that he should have been first among those who lined up to rape her, and of Duterte actually giving a couple of his female supporters a liplock. During a press conference shortly after his inauguration, he catcalled a female reporter. (Catcalling, for him, is a compliment if we are to believe his apologist in Malacañang.) During the anniversary of Supertyphoon Yolanda and in front of hundreds of the typhoon’s survivors, he admitted to ogling at VP Leni’s knees during their cabinet meetings.  He also used the rumor of a sex tape to slut-shame Senator De Lima on national TV. In his apparent effort to defend House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez against the issue of womanizing, Duterte said that it simply couldn’t be helped; “There are so many women and so short a time in this world.” Just recently, he made another rape joke in front of our troops fighting in Marawi City. His supporters, meanwhile, believe that Duterte’s behavior towards women is a non-issue. After all, they voted for a president, neither for a priest nor a saint.

 

Government resources can be used freely to pay for personal debts of gratitude.

When the President won, he promised to hire only the “best and the brightest.” The Filipino people deserve only the best, he quipped – “walang palakasan o anumang utang na loob.” Naturally, his supporters gloated. Today, we, the taxpayers, are paying the likes of RJ Jacinto, Arnell Ignacio, Kat De Castro, Aiza Seguerra, Liza Dino, Cesar Montano, and Mocha Uson – not because of their admirable academic backgrounds, competencies, personal attributes, or experience in public service, but because these celebrities happened to support Duterte during his campaign. Duterte himself admitted that those appointments are his way of paying his debt of gratitude to his loyal supporters. His foreign trips are also highly criticized due to countless tag-alongs and free riders (Ex-President Ramos called Duterte’s Russia trip a junket.). With no less than the president openly advocating and practicing patronage in government, worse cases of corruption will inevitably be more prevalent under this administration.

 

Killing/Waging war is the panacea for our country’s many ills.

When the most powerful man in the land promises to kill every drug dealer and user, and promotes killing as the most effective and fastest approach to winning his war on drugs, and when his officials believe that drug addicts are not humans and are thus not entitled to the most basic of human rights, we better be prepared for the inevitable deadly outcomes. Laws and due processes are blatantly disregarded. Human rights are abused and trampled on. The death toll continues to rise at an alarming rate. Bills such as the Death Penalty and the Lowering of the Minimum Age of Criminal Liability are feared to be used for the government’s bloody campaign against drugs. Critics of the war on drugs are cursed, threatened, or persecuted. Law enforcers are emboldened to take the law into their own hands. The root causes of the problems are not duly addressed. Even the issue of China’s illegal and baseless claim on the WPS was reduced by Duterte to an unsavory pick between two choices only: the relinquishment of our sovereign rights and jurisdiction over the disputed waters OR an all-out war against China. Filing a diplomatic protest before an UNCLOS arbitral tribunal is not an option for this administration.

 

Duterte can get away with almost anything because he is a popular President.

Filipinos are known to be a forgiving race, but where the present Commander-in-Chief is concerned, many of us could go as far as being unquestioning and complicit. He curses virtually everyone as much as he wants during presscons and public speeches, and we hardly bat an eyelash. He threatens to kill somebody, and we shrug our shoulders. He slut shames a woman, and we laugh uproariously. He gives the WPS to China on a silver platter, because it is, after all, “theirs historically”, and we feign indifference. He puts people’s reputation and lives in jeopardy by publicly disclosing unverified lists and making unsupported claims, and we rejoice unabashedly. He travels with his friends and supporters using our hard-earned taxes, and we endure with calm acceptance. He rubs elbows with big-time plunderers and oligarchs, and we react with fierce protectiveness. All of these make me wonder: How low a level should the President stoop to before we finally wake from this deep apathy?

 

It’s just a matter of time before the entire Philippines is placed under Martial Law.

In the wake of Ferdinand Marcos’ dreadful years of dictatorship, Filipinos have avoided the possibility of another Martial Law like the plague. A mere mention of it could cause some of us to shiver with fear. But due to Duterte’s constant and seemingly casual reference to it – as a response to CJ Sereno’s alleged interference with his job, to the “sheer magnitude of the drug problem in the country,” to lawless violence after the Davao blast, to a need to “preserve his country,” to the crisis in Mindanao –, many of us have gradually grown desensitized to the idea. Now that he has already declared ML over the entire Mindanao, we should brace ourselves to Duterte’s imminent declaration of expanding it to cover the whole country and, possibly, beyond the constitutionally mandated 60-day period. Especially after announcing that he would ignore the Supreme Court and Congress if they try to meddle with his decision.

 

The erosion of our moral values is no cause for alarm or even concern.

Throwing our all-out support behind a particular leader could actually be commendable, but doing so at the expense of some values, beliefs and principles that are deeply embedded in our culture and psyche is alarming. Go to a link to a Rappler or ABS-CBN’s article about Sen. De Lima or VP Robredo and it would be impossible not to notice how Filipinos today could be indifferent or complacent on one hand, and ruthless, harsh and violent on the other. Bigotry is now at its peak. Comments and remarks laced with malice and virulence are flying around. Vindictiveness has become the name of the game. Integrity, benevolence, diplomacy, and basic respect for others have flown out the window when Duterte and his minions occupied the Malacañang Palace almost a year ago.

 

With six years’ worth of mental conditioning under the present administration, can the Filipinos’ minds be unconditioned or reconditioned to how they used to be when his term eventually ends? Would we even want that to happen?

AN OPEN LETTER TO MY TATAY DIGONG

Dear Tatay  Digong,

Marami po akong naririnig na negative things na sinasabi nila laban sa iyo at, bilang isa sa iyong 103-milyong mga anak, nasasaktan ako. Sino po ba namang anak ang gugustuhing matawag ang kanyang ama na psychopath, sociopath, demagogue, misogynist, pathological liar, murderer at plunderer? Wala po siguro. Subalit, ngayon, halos buong mundo ang tumutuligsa sa iyo dahil sa inyong mga kilos at pananalita. At, sadly, pati ang pagtingin nila sa ating bansa at sa mga Pilipino ay apektado.

Dati po, kilala ang Pilipinas bilang “Asia’s bastion of Christianity.” When foreigners would describe us, lagi nilang sinasabi na ang mga Pinoy ay mabait, masayahin, matulungin, madasalin at magiliw sa mga panauhin. Ngayon, may reputasyon na tayo bilang bastos, bayolente at kriminal.

Tatay, tanggap ko po na sanay kayo sa “gutter language.” Hindi nyo po inilihim sa amin ‘yan kahit na noong panahon ng kampanya. Pero nangako po kayo sa amin na, once elected at bilang respeto sa iyong posisyon bilang Ama ng Bansa, you will become dignified. Ang sabi mo pa nga, “cussing will be a thing of the past.” So, ano po ang nangyari? Mula sa Pope, sa mga Presidente at Ambassadors ng iba’t-ibang nasyon, hanggang sa mga journalists, human rights advocates, mga kalaban sa politika at kaparian — lahat sila ay nakatikim ng iyong infamous na pagmumura. Hanggang ngayon, sa mga public appearances nyo, hindi pwedeng hindi ka magmura.

Tinitingala ka namin, Tatay, at itinuturing na aming role model. Sana po, mas maganda ang mga naririnig naming salita mula sa ‘yo. Isa pa po, cursing the other heads of state will foster animosity between their countries and ours. Bilang isang third-world country pa naman, alam nyo po na hindi natin kayang mag-survive without the help of our allies. Hinay-hinay lang po, Tatay.

Sabi din po nila, wala kayong “Palabra de Honor.” Mahilig daw po kayong magbitiw ng mga pangakong alam nyo namang imposible nyong matupad.

Nangako kayo that you will “solve our traffic woes in 100 days.” Tatay, walong buwan na po kayo sa Malacanang pero ang traffic sa EDSA, lumala pa. Pangako nyo rin that you will fight “patronage politics” pero pinayagan nyo ang paglilibing kay Macoy sa Libingan Ng Mga Bayani, ang pagpapalaya kay GMA, ang pagpapatakas kay Peter Lim, ang pangangamkam ng China sa pinag-aagawang bahagi ng West Philippine Sea, at ang pagtatalaga ng mga showbiz personalities sa gobyerno. Totoo po na lahat sila ay nakatulong sa iyong kampanya pero, sana po, huwag ma-compromise ang kapakanan ng bansa sa pagnanais nyong makabayad ng utang na loob sa kanila. Country above all else po dapat, hindi ba?

Galit po kayo sa corruption, at hinahangaan ko po kayo dahil diyan. Pinagbantaan nyo pa nga dati ang mga corrupt officials na ihahagis nyo sila mula sa helicopter in mid-air, di po ba? E bakit nasa gabinete nyo pa po si Justice Sec. Aguirre? Very obvious naman during the senate investigation na plano nyang mag-extort ng pera mula kina Jack Lam. Pumutok lang ang issue kaya naghugas-kamay na lang siya. Si Sen. Pacquiao, malaki po ang atraso nya sa BIR. At si Sen. Cayetano, saang kamay ng Diyos po kaya niya nakuha ang malaking pera that he donated for your campaign?

Itong si Sen. Trillanes po, he claims na may hawak siyang mga documents proving na nagkaroon ng around P2.2 billion in deposit transactions sa bank accounts nyo. Para po mapahiya at tuluyan nang manahimik si Trillanes, bakit hindi na lang po kayo pumirma at mag-issue sa mga banko nyo ng waiver ng bank secrecy? That would effectively put to rest all these corruption allegations against you, Tatay.

Just the other day, during the celebration of International Women’s Day, you vowed to uphold gender equality. Mapaninindigan nyo po ba talaga ‘yan, Tatay, o isa na naman ‘yan sa marami mong rhetorical statements? Alam naman nating lahat na lagi nyong ipinagmamalaki ang pagiging matinik nyo sa chicks, na kesyo kaya nyong pagsabay-sabayin ang ilang babae sa buhay nyo. Hindi po ba’t isa nga ‘yan sa mga dahilan kung bakit nag-file ng annulment of marriage ang dati nyong asawa?

During the campaign, napulaan kayo dahil sa insensitive nyong comment about the Australian missionary na ginang-rape at pinatay ng mga preso. Kumalat din ang mga pictures nyo na nagpapaupo kayo sa hita at nanghahalik ng mga female supporters nyo. Nang naging Pangulo naman kayo, isa sa mga unang naging kontrobersya laban sa inyo ay ang pagpito nyo sa isang female reporter during a press conference. Hayan tuloy, sa Hollywood tv show na “Madam Secretary,” pinalabas nilang bastos ang Presidente ng Pilipinas. Kahiya-hiya po tayo sa buong mundo. Pero hindi po natin sila masisisi. Depictment lang po iyun ng kung ano ang mga naisusulat at napapanood tungkol sa inyo.

You also seem intimidated by strong women, especially women who have the balls to stand up to you. Nariyan sina Sen. De Lima (na hindi kayo tinantanan for your alleged human rights violations mula noong kayo pa ang Mayor ng Davao), SC Chief Justice Sereno (na kinwestyun ang paglalabas mo sa publiko ng mga pangalan ng mga “narco-judges”), Ombudsman Carpio-Morales (na pinaghinalaan mong siyang nagbigay ng go-signal na isiwalat ang iyong di-umano’y multibillion-peso bank accounts noong panahon ng kampanya), VP Robredo (na walang-tigil sa pagpuna sa mga patayan under your War on Drugs) at UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard (na gustong imbistigahan ang spate of unlawful killings na nangyayari under your administration). Dahil parang hindi nyo alam how to deal with strong women like them, you resort to insult and threat. Tila, you want to humiliate them. You want to break them. You want to silence them. You want to control them.

FILIPPINE_-_0510_-_Presidente
Photo credit: mironline.ca

Tatay, sa palagay nyo po ba, kung buhay pa ngayon ang inyong ina ay ikatutuwa niya ang mga ginagawa nyo sa mga kabaro nya? O ang pagpayag nyong mailibing sa LNMB ang diktador na si Marcos? Malamang po, hindi. Alam naman po natin na matapang niyang nilabanan ang lahat ng uri ng pang-aabuso noong panahon ng Martial Law, di ba?

Siguro po, dahil sa pagtingala din sa inyo bilang kanilang ehemplo kaya may mga supporters kayo na nangharass online dati sa mga kabataang babae na nakilahok sa protest rally against the controversial Marcos burial. Tatay, ganyan kalaki ang inyong kapangyarihan at impluwensya sa amin. Kaya kung gusto nyong maging magalang kami, sana po, maging mabuting modelo ka sa amin.

During your speeches, lagi nyo rin pong sinasabi na alam nyo ang ginagawa nyo dahil kayo ay dating abogado. Pero sa bibig nyo na rin po nanggaling that, when you were a city prosecutor in Davao, you used to plant evidence to help the authorities when going after criminals. Tatay, hindi po ako abogado pero sigurado po ako na ang ganoong gawain ay labag sa batas. Alam ko rin po na may batas tayo laban sa bribery. So bakit hindi nyo po kinasuhan ang Mighty Corp na, ayon kay Mr. Salvador Panelo, ay sinubukan kayo dating suhulan? Katulad ng claim ni DA Sec. Manny Piñol na binigyan siya ng isang malaking agricultural company ng Rolex watch worth P450k, ng claim ni Justice Sec. Aguirre na sinuhulan diumano ni dating Sen. Jamby Madrigal at Binan Rep. Alonte ng P100 million ang mga convicted druglords to recant their testimonies against Sen. De Lima, at ng claim ni Sec. Andanar na binayaran daw ng $1,000 ang mga reporters who covered the presscon of self-confessed DDS leader Lascañas. Totoo po ba ang mga claims at allegations na ‘yun, o produkto lang lahat ng fake news?

Tatay, you are aware how sensitive the Filipinos are sa usapin ng Martial Law. Marami pa pong sugat ang hindi naghihilom mula sa madilim at mapanupil na mga taon ng pamumuno nina Marcos. Kaya, sana po, huwag mong gagamiting banta ang pagdi-declare mo ng Martial Law under any circumstance. Ginagawa mo kaming parang mga bata na tinatakot mo when we step out of line. Hindi po nakakatuwa ang ganun, Tatay.

Naniniwala po ako na matapang ka pero bahag daw po ang buntot mo kapag China na ang kaharap mo. During the campaign, ang sabi mo, magji-jet ski ka papuntang Spratly, itatanim mo ang bandila natin doon at hahamunin mo ang mga Intsik sa suntukan o barilan. Bakit po ganun? Ngayon na kinakamkam nila ang malaking bahagi ng West Philippine Sea, biglang wala kayong magagawa dahil superpower sila? Tatay, teritoryo at kasarinlan po natin ang pinag-uusapan at ipinaglalabanan dito; ang lupain na iiwanan natin sa ating mga anak at sa kanilang mga anak. Huwag nyo naman pong isuko nang ganung kadali lamang ito lalo pa nga’t based on the ruling na ipinalabas noong isang taon ng Arbitral Tribunal ng United Nations, naipanalo po natin ang ating arbitration case against China. Tayo po ang may exclusive sovereign rights sa West Philippine Sea!

Nang nagsalita kayo sa harap ng ating mga kababayan na nasa Myanmar, sinabi po ninyo that you are against same-sex marriage dahil ayon po sa inyo, aside from our Civil Code, Katoliko tayo. Kung saan po kamo tayo ipinwesto ng Diyos, dapat doon lang tayo. Seryoso ka ba sa statement mong ‘yun, Tatay, o nagbibiro ka lang? Dati po kasi, namumula ako sa ginagawa mong pagmumura at pambabatikos sa Simbahang Katolika. Tapos, ngayon, ang paniniwala ng Katolika ang gagamitin mong sandata laban sa apela ng mga members ng LGBT community? Isa pa po, ito ang linya nyo during the campaign, “Same sex marriage is good. Everyone deserves to be happy.” Ano po ang nangyari? Sinabi nyo lang ba yun dati to secure their votes? That is not so good, Tatay.

During that same speech, sinabi nyo rin po na safe na sa Pilipinas. Sa punto pong iyon, I’m sure na nagjo-joke lang kayo.

Let me remind you, Tatay, that under your War on Drugs, mahigit 7,000 na ang namamatay ayon sa official report ng PNP. May mga “suspected” drug offenders, may mga cases of mistaken identity, at may mga bystanders – either during legitimate police operations o by rogue police officers o vigilantes na masyadong siniseryoso ang call nyo to “slaughter them all.” Just today, I heard the news about a Chemical Engineering magna cum laude graduate from UP Los Banos na bigla na lang nawalang parang bula. Nag-aabang siya ng sasakyan at 4 am dahil first day of work nya sa kumpanyang inaplayan niya. Meron rin pong isang 20-year-old na lalaki ang dinukot ng mga naka-bonnet na assailants at isinakay sa isang van na walang plaka. Ang lalaking yun ay papunta lang sa drug store para bumili ng gamot dahil may sakit ang kanyang baby. Safe ba kanyo?

Alam nyo po, everytime na lumalabas ng bahay ang mga anak ko, kinakabahan at natatakot ako. Pero, bilang ina, ang kaya ko lang pong gawin ay ang pabaunan sila ng mga habilin: (1) Huwag makikipagtinginan sa mga pulis; (2) Lalayo sa mga naka-motorsiklo, lalo na kapag riding in tandem o nakasuot ng bonnet; (3) Kapag naka-witness sila ng krimen, tumakbo palayo; at (4) Kapag namamaga ang mata nila dahil sa magdamagang pagre-review, magsuot ng colored glasses. Mabuti na po ang nag-iingat, ‘di po ba? Baka mapagbintangan silang drug addict, bigla na lang itumba at takpan ng placard na nagsasabing, “Addict ako, huwag tularan.” Hindi ko po kakayanin kapag nangyari sa isa sa mga anak ko ang ganun.

Isa pa po sa mga naririnig ko is that you cannot tolerate criticism. Kaya nga po yata galit na galit kayo sa ipinadalang video message ni VP Leni sa UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs ay dahil isiniwalat nya ang mga totoong kaganapan sa bansa dahil sa inyong War on Drugs. Masyado kamong “atat” sa posisyon si VP. At part lang kamo ang lahat ng ‘yan (pati na rin ang Impeachment Complaint na inihain laban sa inyo) ng destabilization plot against your administration. Tatay, sa tingin ko po, hindi na kailangan ang ibang tao to destabilize your government. Kayo lang po — kasama ang inyong mga kaalyado na sina House Speaker Alvarez, Senate Pres. Pimentel, Justice Sec. Aguirre, PNP Chief Dela Rosa, Solicitor General Calida, Senators Pacquiao, Sotto, Gordon at Cayetano, mga appointees na sina Cesar Montano, Perfecto Yasay at Mocha Uson, at ang mga ka-DDS ko at mga bayarang trolls — ay sapat na to do the job effectively. Self-destructing nga raw po ang administrasyon nyo e.

Finally po, Tatay, nakikiusap ako sa inyo. Stop inciting emotional chaos. Temper your emotions lalo na kapag nasa harap kayo ng publiko. And don’t try to silence the opposition. Dapat nga po, you welcome dissent dahil ‘yun ang katunayan na buhay ang demokrasya sa ilalim ng iyong pamumuno.

‘Tay, I really hope and pray that you will soon start acting like the unifying and dignified President that you promised us you will be. The country deserves nothing less.

Nagmamalasakit,

Ang inyong anak

 

PS: Don’t forget to take your meds, Tatay. Nag-iiba ang timpla nyo kapag nakaka-miss kayo e.

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.

(Bondoc and Aguilar’s assumption of office, however, did not push through since both positions are not coterminous with the President’s tenure.)

Mocha Uson? Hmmm, I would have to think hard where that woman would fit in my administration.
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.

I also want to have Bong Revilla released. 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.

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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 5,617 casualties in a matter of five months 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

HOW TO CRUSH A TWISTED MIND

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I saw this FB post on a friend’s wall the other day. I didn’t know if he wrote this himself or if he just copy-pasted this from his ka-DDS. What I knew for certain was that I couldn’t let this go unanswered. However, what was supposed to be a short comment to rebut his statement became a lengthy article –an article that’s only fit for a blog. Read on! 🙂

My Answers:

True, we apparently see different sides of the picture.

YOU CALL YOURSELVES SILENT MAJORITY, I ONLY SEE A LOUD MINORITY.

You see a loud minority, I see a group of courageous Filipinos who are willing to stand up, to go out into the streets, and to make their voices heard in the face of all these blatant attempts to twist, distort and revise our history. I see a group of fearless Filipinos who are trying to fight for truth and justice despite the fear of being bullied, harassed, threatened, humiliated, bashed, mobbed, badgered or stigmatized by online trolls, rabid Duterte apologists and Marcos loyalists. I see a group of dauntless Filipinos who will go to battle with everything that they’ve got to ensure that they will never again go through the same hell that they experienced under Marcos’ tyrannical rule.

YOU HATE MARTIAL LAW, WELL I LIKE THE MARCOS ERA.

You like the Marcos era, well I detest and loathe it. Marcos was a despot, a tyrant, a dictator. He plundered our coffers to the tune of $10 billion. Under his close watch and on his specific instructions (research about the Gen. Orders he issued), 70,000 were jailed, 35,000 were tortured, 3,257 were killed, and 769 were gone without a trace. He was an autocrat who abolished the Congress, destroyed our institutions, persecuted his critics, trampled over our most basic political and civil rights, clamped down on all media entities, and sequestered countless private companies to enrich his family and his cronies. He was an unrepentant liar who fabricated stories about his medals and his role during the WWII, the source of his massive wealth, his reason for declaring ML, the real socio-economic condition of the country, and his excesses and abuses during his reign of terror. He was an economic saboteur who left us with a jaw-dropping external debt of $28.3 billion (debt that we are all paying until year 2025) and the humiliating title, “The Sick Man of Asia.” He was a power-hungry oppressor who made a new Constitution to legitimize and accommodate his desire to take control over the country, beyond the constitutionally-mandated maximum of two 4-year terms in office.

YOU SEE VICTIMS, I SEE PEACE AND ORDER.

You see peace and order, I read and research and listen about the horrors and atrocities of ML. I know the agonizing stories of Primitivo Mijares, the author of The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand  and Imelda Marcos, (and his son, Boyet, who was tortured and killed in front of his father), of Archimedes Trajano who was severely tortured, mutilated and dumped on a roadside after he questioned Aimee Marcos about the latter’s appointment as the National Chairman of the Kabataang Barangay, of Hilda Narciso who was repeatedly raped by military men while in detention, of Liliosa Hilao who was raped and tortured in front of her 16-year-old sister (Her dead body bore cigarette burns on her lips, injection marks on her arms, bruises and gun barrel marks. Her internal organs were removed and her vagina was sawed off to cover signs of torture and sexual abuse). There are countless more (some remain faceless and nameless up to this day) who suffered water cure, electric shocks to genitals, Russian roulette, strangulation, cigar and flat iron burns, and other brutal torture methods at the hands of Marcos’ torture units.

YOU HAIL NINOY AS A HERO –A MARTYR, WELL HE IS A COMMUNIST SUPPORTER.

You see Ninoy as a communist supporter, yes I see him as a martyr whose assassination ignited the fire of Filipinos’ fury and upheaval against the Marcos’ regime. Any well-read and judicious Filipino knows that the murder, subversion and weapons possession charges hurled at him right after the declaration of ML were all fabricated. Now, if successfully negotiating with Hukbalahap’s Luis Taruc for the latter’s unconditional surrender is being a communist supporter; if consistently and brazenly criticizing Marcos for the latter’s tyrannical rule, corruption and other excesses is being a communist supporter; if exposing the summary execution of the 26 Muslim young men in what was to be known as the Jabidah Massacre is being a communist supporter; if deciding to come home against the advice of the people around him, because he believed that the Filipino is worth dying for, is being a communist supporter; if one’s death triggered a long-awaited transformation in many Filipinos –that they finally found the collective courage to rise against a dictatorship after years of shameful and fearful stupor—is being a communist supporter…. then, yes, I guess Ninoy was indeed a communist supporter.

YOU FLAUNT YOURSELVES IN THE STREETS BECAUSE OF THESE MARTIAL LAW VICTIMS, WELL WHY DON’T YOU DO THE SAME AND BLAME CORY AQUINO FOR THE MENDIOLA MASSACRE?

Yes, we flaunt ourselves in the streets because of these Martial Law victims, and we will continue to do so until the Marcoses’ attempts and efforts to crown the late dictator as a hero are completely thwarted. We also attacked the Cory administration for the Mendiola and the Hacienda Luisita massacres, the Ramos administration for its widespread militarization and its pro-imperialist, pro-bureaucratic and anti-people’s policies and programs, the Estrada administration for its shameless corruption and booty capitalism, the Arroyo administration for the Ampatuan Massacre and the plunder and graft and corruption cases filed against her, The PNoy administration for the Kidapawan Massacre and the Mamasapano Encounter, and now, the Duterte administration for the unabated extrajudicial killings and the president’s idolatry of the late dictator. As Philippine-loving citizens, we will continue to be vigilant and clamorous and fierce watchdogs of this country —regardless of who is at its helm. I hope you do your share, too.

YOU BLAME BONGBONG FOR WHAT MARCOS DID, WHY NOT BLAME BIMBY FOR THE BUNGLES OF HIS GRANDMA AND UNCLE?

We blame Bongbong for many of the crimes committed during Martial Law, but we also hold him accountable for the sins he committed henceforth. He 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). In 1986, after they were ousted, government auditors discovered that Philcomsat was one of the many corporations and organizations used to siphon ill-gotten wealth out of the country. To this day, he continues 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 continues to commit 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. He continues to play dumb and innocent, while we all know that he is hardly that.

YOU SEE EJK TODAY? WELL, ALL I SEE IS IT IS HIGH TIME SOMEBODY DID SOMETHING.

Yes, we see the state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings today. How can’t we? In just a span of five months, the death toll has already risen to close to 5,000! (Figures from the Philippine National Police (PNP) showed that as of Oct. 10, 3,844 people have died since the administration launched its war against drugs on July 1. -PhilStar). It is high time that somebody did something, you said? You are absolutely right. Our growing problem with illegal drugs is a menace that is adversely affecting every fiber of our society, and we all have to act now.  The drug lords, drug pushers, drug coddlers and narco-traffickers must be meted out with the most stringent penalty under the law, as they destroy the lives and future of their victims especially the youth and the most vulnerable. The drug users, on the other hand, should be considered as victims or, at the very least, as seriously ill members of society who need immediate treatment. Unless they commit crimes punishable by law, they should not be jailed. Nor killed. They should be rehabilitated.

DON’T EVER IMPOSE YOUR TWISTED MIND ON US.

The last time I checked, we are still living in a democratic country. And under the democracy we enjoy (which the Martial Law victims paid dearly for), we have the right to express ourselves freely. We have the right to speak —or in our present digital age, to voice our opinions, beliefs and convictions using our preferred social networking site. We also have the right to organize. We are not imposing our views on anyone because we know that we can only do so much, especially in as far as educating the open-minded is concerned. You might also want to write an article about your blind support of Duterte and Marcos and, I assure you, I won’t allege you of imposing YOUR twisted mind on us.

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.

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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.

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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, if 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 it 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

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…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/

WE WERE WARNED. WE JUST NEVER LISTENED.

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Image grabbed from the net

With everything that’s happening in our country today, nalulungkot ako.

Nagagalit ako.

Nanlulumo ako.

Nagtataka ako.

At minsan pa, napapailing ako at nasasabi ko sa aking sarili, “Wala na yata talagang pag-asa ang mga Pilipino. The country is doomed. Panahon na para isuko natin ang laban.

As of the latest count, more than 6,200 people are dead since Pres. Duterte took office six months ago and waged an intense all-out war against drugs. Ang mga balita that we wake up to each morning hinggil sa mga patayan sa nakaraang gabi ay karaniwang ipinagkikibit-balikat na lang natin. We, as a nation, have been desensitized because of over-exposure to such regular occurrences. After all, bakit pa nga ba tayo magugulat sa mga patayang ito? Hindi ba’t binalaan na tayo ni Digong when he was still campaigning na kapag nanalo siya, “it will be bloody, really bloody”?

Ilang beses nang naglabas ng narco lists at drug matrix si Presidente Duterte kung saan he names and shames officials and personalities na hinihinalang sangkot sa drug trade. Tama, the operative word here is “hinihinala”. Nalalagay sa alanganin ang reputasyon at buhay ng mga taong ito, pati na rin ang kanilang mga pamilya, based sa listahan na hindi maituturing na fool-proof at posible pa ngang compromised ang integridad. Sa katunayan, the president once issued an apology to some Pangasinan officials who “were wrongly included in the list”. E paano na ung mga napatay na ng mga pulis o vigilante? Sorry na lang ba ‘yun, better luck next time? Hindi na rin ba applicable ang “save the user, jail the pusher” campaign? Sabagay, ang pinapatay nga lang pala ay ang mga mahihirap nating kababayan. But some people would still ask, “Nasaan kasi ang due process? Bakit hindi kasuhan ang mga suspects na ito and allow them their day in court? Bakit kailangan silang i-subject sa ganitong proseso?” But then, again, bakit pa ba tayo kailangang magtanong? Hindi ba’t minsan nang sinabi ng mahal nating president, “There is no due process in my mouth”?

Five months ago, former president GMA was released after a four-year hospital detention due to plunder charges filed against her. She then announced her “most profound thanks” to Pres. Duterte. May ilang napataas ang kilay. Pero, bakit ba? Hindi ba’t, also during the campaign, nangako si Dueterte sa mga Kapampangan electorate that, once elected, he would have GMA released? Tinupad nya lang ang kanyang pangako. May isang salita kasi ang Tatay Digong ko.

A month ago, after the clandestine burial of Ferdinand  Marcos at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani last November 18, si Aimee Marcos naman ang nagpasalamat kay Pres. Duterte. Marami ang nag-react. May mga sumugod pa nga sa EDSA People Power Monument upang ipakita nila ang kanilang disgusto sa pangyayari. Again, bakit ba? Totoo nga na sa panahon ng Martial Law, 70,000 were incarcerated; 35,000 were tortured; 882 went missing; and 3,257 were murdered. Totoo rin na ang foreign debt natin ay lumobo mula sa US$7 billion in 1965 when Marcos was first elected president to US$25 billion in 1986, the year he was ousted. Totoo rin na, ayon sa PCGG, ang total amount ng ill-gotten wealth ng mga Marcoses ay nasa US$10 billion. Sa halagang ito, only US$4 billion had been confiscated and returned to the treasury. The remaining US$6 billion is yet to be recovered. Pero ang pinakaimporatanteng bagay dito ay ang hindi pagkilala ng pamilyang Marcos sa mga kasalanan nila –o maging ng kanilang yumaong patriarch– noong Martial Law. So, paanong magkakaroon ng closure, moving on at pagpapatawaran kung wala naman palang kasalanan in the first place, di ba? Pero, again, hindi na tayo dapat na nabigla sa desisyon ni Digong. Itinuturing nya si Macoy na “best president ever”. Hindi ba’t ipinangako nya rin sa mga Ilocano electorate ang libing na ito once mahalal siya sa puwesto? He is a man of his word nga kasi.

Since Digong was shoved into the limelight in late 2015 when he filed his Certificate of Candidacy, hanggang sa kampanya at, ngayon, bilang pangulo ng bansa, walang nakaligtas sa tinatawag na phenomenal “gutter language” ni Pres. Duterte. Ang Santo Papa, ang mga Obispo at kaparian, ang United Nations, ang mga human rights advocates, si Senador De Lima, si Chief Justice Sereno, ang media, si US Pres. Obama, ang European Union, pati na rin ang Mexico, Australia at Singapore – lahat sila ay naging biktima ng potty mouth ni Digong. He also managed to provoke the ire of the Jews all over the world nang ikinumpara nya ang kanyang giyera laban sa droga sa Holocaust ni Hitler. A few days before that naman, the fierce animosity of what he fondly refers to as the “bleeding hearts” of the Catholic Church was roused anew nang sinabi niya that he “can teach God about justice”. Pero, ayon nga sa kanya, “Do not complain about my mouth. It is not a problem. It cannot bring down the country.” Isa pa, hindi ba’t kandidato pa lang siya, alam na natin ang kalibre ng bibig nya? Magtiis tayo!

Lastly, we have all been witness to this whole brouhaha in the Lower House. Ang ating mga honorable congressmen seem to take perverse pleasure in bringing down one woman. Isang tinik sa tagiliran, isang sakit sa ulo na hindi kayang gamutin ng Biogesic, isang kating nakakairita, isang Dennis the Menace sa buhay-politika ni Pres. Duterte. Iyan si Senador Leila De Lima. Malalim ang ugat ng galit ng ating unifying president sa senadora. Nagsimula ang kanilang tunggalian noong CHR chief pa lamang si De Lima and she made the grave mistake of poking her nose into Duterte’s alleged involvement in the Davao Death Squad. Obviously, Duterte has the memory of an elephant. At ang mga kaalyado nya are just too eager to please their master. Pinag-usapan pa ng ating mga kagalang-galang na konggresista ang posibleng pagpapalabas during the congressional probe ng di-umano’y sex video ni De Lima. I am not a De Lima fanatic. She may or may not be guilty of the allegations against her. Kagaya ng mga Pilipinong may bukas pang pag-iisip sa panahong ito, nais ko ring malaman ang katotohanan sa mga bintang na ‘yan. But that? That’s disgusting and perverse and is, obviously, a cheap shot. Masyadong mababa ito even for our congressmen. Unang-una, si Sec. Aguirre na mismo ang umamin that the said video is not duly authenticated by the NBI. So bakit nila ‘yun gagamitin sa kanilang probe? Para lang talaga ipahiya si De Lima sa publiko, that’s why. If they have enough evidence against the senator, bakit hindi sila magsampa ng mga kaukulang kaso sa korte? Sabagay, bakit pa nga ba? Hindi ba’t ang presidente na mismo ang nagsabing “She’s finished. She will go to jail”?

Hay, Pilipinas.

You were warned.

You just never listened.

 

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.