“The cyclical Libingan ng mga Bayani burial issue is back”

Before the controversy of the possible Libingan ng  mga Bayani burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos goes into full swing as it does periodically, let’s get some facts straight. Who exactly are  vehemently opposed to it? They may not number in the millions but these Marcos bashers, mostly leftists and communist-leaning personalities who were “persecuted” during Martial Law and their relatives are, well, the “usual suspects,” so to speak.  In addition, there are the members of the opposition (to Marcos) during the early 70’s just prior to the declaration of Martial Law whose personal political ambitions were thwarted by the declaration and that includes Ninoy Aquino and family, as well as the Lopez family of the Meralco and Manila Chronicle business empire and the   “Coryistas yellow brigade” sometimes called the “yellow zombies” and other oligarchs of the pre-martial law years plus the more recent ones whose wealth was derived from their closeness to the newly installed dispensation shortly after the Americans whisked Marcos off to Hawaii. Together, this motley crew can manage to create loud enough noise to give it some semblance of a national debate threatening to spill over into a civil war, if we are to believe them. But to the vast majority, the issue is unimportant.

The last elections have shown what the people really feel about the Marcos rule  in general vis a vis the succeeding regimes which, together, make up the last fifty years of our republic’s history. Recent surveys (done just before and during the just concluded elections) have confirmed that among all the past presidents from Marcos to PNoy, the one with the highest “favorability” rating is now Marcos himself followed by Cory, Erap, PNoy, Ramos, and GMA in that order. The difference between now and 1986 when the EDSA1 took place is that, now, there is a good thirty years since the People Power event  to compare with the twenty-one years under Marcos. It seems to have been a no brainer to  favor the Marcos years as the surveys have shown and the elections confirmed.. That explains why the leftists have been screaming to the high heavens and to anyone that will listen, about their fears of the “brainwashing” that has taken traction over the years among the youth which is why, they claim, BongBong Marcos Jr., son of the late president, got elected as Senator in 2010 and as VP in the last elections if his protests prosper and is declared the true winner. Having said that, it is quite revealing how the voting in the National Capital Region confirm the results of those surveys contrary to the pronouncements of the now aging leftists via the propaganda of the yellow controlled media posing as “independent media.” In this metropolis where the People Power “revolution” took place and ignited the eventual ouster of Ferdinand Marcos, the voters sang a different tune in the last elections from the one they sang in February of 1986 when they gathered in support of the renegade military soldiers holed up inside Camp Crame that later merged with supporters of Cory Aquino and the rest is history, as they say. But today is different: they gave BongBong Marcos (BBM) a whopping 45 percent of their votes while the balance had to be shared among his five opponents, all well known politicians with sufficient campaign wherewithal in the last elections, namely: Escudero, Robredo, Cayetano, Trillanes, and Honassan. That amounts to every other vote going to BBM which was even more than the number of votes  each of the presidential candidates could muster including Duterte. But the thick faced “usual suspects” once again ignored the voice of the people and have warned Duterte that the kin, friends and supporters of the “victims” of Martial Law will get pissed off if he allows the burial.

Should Duterte acquiesce to the shrills of this motley crew or should he consider the deeper meaning of the massive support given to BBM here in the NCR. By the way, those votes translate into a landslide victory in all but one of the sixteen cities and single municipality that comprise the greater area of Metro Manila officially known as the NCR. Expectedly, Cayetano came in first in his family’s bailiwick of Taguig where his wife is Mayor so BBM could only manage a “decent second” in that city. Other than that, the unanimous support from all the other cities of Metro Manila was unprecedented. There hasn’t been a clearer and more obvious message spoken by the people of this great metropolis as the one that can be gleaned from the results of the last elections and, indeed, it confirmed what we knew from the surveys. So, Duterte must either heed to the proverb, “vox populi, vox dei,” and be in harmony with the people and God, or receive the wrath of its residents when the time comes that the Makati Business Club will, manipulatively,  attempt to do another illegal “Erap impeachment” so they can install their chosen one  as President, of course, one that “belongs” to them. Ho-hum….

The exit polls done by SWS show Marcos had won the race for VP and in fairness to SWS, they have not been mistaken with their exit polls since they started it in 1998. They have called the winners of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential races of 1998 2004, and 2010 correctly — 100 percent batting average. As for the “brainwashing” of those that were not yet around during Martial Law, yes, it is true BBM came out on top with the younger set 18 – 35 years old but, and here’s the rub, that’s not where he did best. He scored best, in percentage of votes, among the 40 to 60 year old age category followed by the “60 years old and above.” Yes, sir! He did best among the age brackets that were very much born and around during his father’s time to experience Martial Law. So, what are these Marcos bashers talking about when they claim the younger set have been brainwashed into believing that the Marcos rule era was not like they say it was and that it behooves the older people to educate their children about what it was really like. Well, they probably already did and that has been the result: the highest percentage of votes for BBM coming from the people that were already twenty years old and above during the twenty-one year rule of his late father. Again, we witness the pants of the “usual suspects,” this motley crew, catching on fire — more of a conflagration — but that does not seem to bother them more than becoming a totally irrelevant  entity which is their biggest fear and a real likelihood.

Curiously, the most vociferous of the leftist groups and the paid media hacks of the oligarchs that returned to the country after the Americans whisked Marcos away to Hawaii, have not mentioned, ever, at all, and in all of their blabber and protestations, the continuance of human rights violations, post Marcos, that occurred in the last 30 years. As a result, some observers and families of the victims of human rights — not during Marcos’ time — in the last 30 years have not minced their words and have called them hypocrites and inveterate liars to their faces. They accused the motley crew of intellectual dishonesty and have exposed their self serving agendas and selective justice. We’ll spare them and not add to what’s already been said. We rest our case with the reprint of this report: “The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, at the time the country’s leading human rights group, recorded more than 1.2 million victims of dislocations due to military operations, 135 cases of massacres, 1,064 victims of summary executions, 816 disappearances, and 20,523 victims of illegal arrest and detention, during the six years of Cory’s regime.”  In March 1987, in her commencement speech at the Philippine Military Academy, Cory Aquino unsheathed the sword of war and declared that “the answer to the terrorism of the Left and the Right is not social and economic reform but police and military action.” Far from being a saintly “prayer,” that became her administration’s policy, different  from the earlier one of engagement with the Left when, immediately after she took power, she released dozens of political prisoners, among them the top leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed band of fighters, the National People’s Army.

Based on these figures, human rights abuses were, in fact, worse during those six years under Cory than the nine years under President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her feared “butcher,” General Palparan. In addition, Benigno Aquino III, for his part, as President of the Philippines these last six years, has been taken to task repeatedly  by international human rights watchdogs for his failure to address the human rights problem in the country. They simply called his record on human rights “a dismal failure.” Hello…motley crew…are you there?

Finally, in 2011, both houses of Congress passed a resolution to allow Marcos to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.  Close to 200 members of the House of Representatives signed the resolution whose author, Congressman Sonny Escudero,  said: “the fact that Marcos was a former president and soldier cannot be denied and based on these two things alone, he deserves to be buried at the Libingan.” The military itself has repeatedly stated that he is qualified based on the rules governing the cemetery for heroes. PNoy, as President, nixed it.

Our take: we agree with Joma Sison that the Libingan ng mga Bayani has not lived up to its name and not all buried there are true heroes. The issue of the Marcos burial has been useful in that it has brought out the hypocrisies, double talk, divisiveness, insincerity, and biases of our leaders within the entire Left to Right of the political spectrum, and the lack of “love of country” that is sorely missing in the hearts of our people in general. These days, there has been no lack of repetition in calling our OFW’s our “real heroes” and if there was any truthfulness and sincerity in, and respect for, those who we call “hero,” then we should be allowing all OFW’s to be likewise buried there. But, of course, our political leaders are merely condescending and patronizing them when in their speeches, with matching facial expressions of admiration and seriousness, they call the OFW’s our “real heroes.”

So, the Marcos family and their supporters should think twice about burying the late President at the LNB, vulnerable to desecration by unsavory characters. History will judge him similarly irrespective of where he is buried.

Find a nice hill in Ilocos Norte with an overlooking view that is serene and restful, erect a monument humble but fitting in size, a small library of memorabilia, plenty of parking space for the tourists it will attract, and let him, even in death, continue to help the Filipinos by being an official tourist destination (with government funds for upkeep)contributing to the Tourism industry of Ilocos Norte and the Philippines in general. Thank the current President (but no thanks) for allowing the burial at the LNB; give him a solemn burial on that hill at an appropriate date (Araw ng Kagitingan) with full military honors, and let him rest there, forever, in his beloved home province of Ilocos Norte.


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Let’s get on with it…

IT IS SELDOM WE SEE A REPRESENTATIVE FROM CONGRESS manifesting utmost dedication and perseverance in advancing an advocacy as we see in Representative Rodolfo Albano III in the  shepherding of his Bill — the “Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act.” Not a minute later than the first day of the 17th Congress, Representative Albano re-filed his Bill accompanied by members of the Philippine Cannabis Compassion Society (PCCS), medical patients, parents of children with cancer and epilepsy, and advocates and volunteers in support of said bill. This Congressional Bill, authored by Albano, seeks to legalize the use of marijuana as a cure for several ailments such as Epilepsy, Cervical Dystonia, Anorexia, Multiple Sclerosis and other serious debilitating diseases  including the easing of pain in cancer.  Cannabis or Marijuana is presently legal for medical use in many countries around the world and in  more than half of the 50 States, and counting,  across the USA including Washington DC. Veteran Congressman Albano hopes to have the bill passed into law by this current Congress, while President Duterte has expressed support for the bill; the Catholic Church and other religious organizations  have likewise voiced their endorsement of the bill. We see no reason for it not to be passed notwithstanding a few more stubborn and ignorant legislators and their ilk whom we hope would be less hysterical, and  more enlightened on the scientific findings of the plant’s healing properties, as well as have more compassion for the thousands suffering from one or the other aforementioned diseases.

The continued procrastination and obstructionism by some members of Congress in passing this bill is unconscionable and downright cruel. It makes the sufferings of those in need of this cure doubly painful not to have supervised access to the plant when most of the world’s scientists have already acknowledged and confirmed its medicinal value.  It would help if we all be pro-active in support of the Congressman from Isabela in assuring that the 17th Congress do not waste anymore precious time in alleviating unnecessary suffering by legalizing the medical use of this plant, a plant, for crying out loud, that Filipino indigenous groups used hundreds of years ago to cure their ailments. In addition, we hope Congressman Rodito Albano’s Bill is passed into law soonest so we, as a nation, can also prove to ourselves and show the world that we are a progressive, sensible, compassionate, and caring people. And most importantly, so it can, indeed, begin to help the sick among us — relative, friend, countrymen — and relieve them of their suffering ASAP and not a minute later.

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Bongbong Marcos’ Victories


The “usual suspects” — mostly leftists/communists, opposition political parties to Marcos before and during Martial Law, and those that somehow were able to make a career out of “Marcos bashing” — are probably congratulating themselves  publicly,  since Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was not the one proclaimed as winner in the Vice Presidential race. They are patting each others back for having been “correct” all along that the nation still views the late President Marcos as the “devil incarnate.” They are, however, quick to lament the “fact” that the younger generation have been brainwashed into viewing his legacy positively. Those beliefs are no where near the truth. According to surveys done as recent as two months  ago by credible outfits many years in the business, the person who has done the “best job overall” as President from the time of FM to PNoy’s presidency is Marcos himself and by a wide margin, followed by Cory, Erap, NoyNoy, Ramos, and GMA in that order. Contrary to what some peeps believe, he gets his highest ratings not from the youngest age-group among registered voters (brainwashed daw) but from the age group of 40 to 60 years old followed by the age group of 60 years and above. It is from those age brackets, the ones that experienced Martial Law, the ones that were “alive and kicking” during the Marcos Administration, where he scores highest. But the late President Marcos also does better than all his successors with the younger age groups. His “favorability” rating, tracking it over the years, has gone from a low of 40 percent in 1989 to a high of 61 percent in 2015 – a consistent upward trajectory. Again, he gets his highest scores from the generation that experienced Martial Law. These figures were culled from surveys done only two months ago (April, 2016) with 1600 respondents interviewed. As can be seen, they do not conform to the repeated pronouncements made by the yellow controlled media telling us that those who were old enough to have experienced life under Marcos rule say it was a “living hell” and that it is their duty to inform the younger ones of the “truth.” But the surveys do not say that at all and quite the contrary. That’s not to say it was heaven on earth; the point is the surveys say that the majority of those that were old enough to have experienced it believe it was better than what followed. There was a period at the start of Cory’s term where the nation was swept away by a humongous expectation of great things to come fueled by propaganda over broadcast and print media almost totally controlled by the oligarchs aligned with Cory.  But the ten hour daily brownouts that came soon after EDSA 1, the escalating poverty, deterioration of public services, continued and more widespread corruption, a lack of job-generating infrastructure projects, and divisive politics  made the yellow propaganda sound more hallow as the years flew by and the incessant self praises their leaders are wont to make had no semblance to the reality on the ground.

                                                                        .  bb4       campaign

The logical explanation to the resurgence in popularity of the Marcos name is the fact that, now, three decades after he was ousted, a comparison can be made between the 21 year rule of Marcos and the thirty years post Marcos period and the survey results favours Marcos, hands down. Also, the internet has provided information not in the control of the “yellow oligarchy.” For starters, the unemployment rate during Marcos’ time was among the lowest in the region — 4.4 percent from 1971-75 and 4.6 percent from 1976 to 1980 — and has remained the lowest when compared to all the years that came after.  The late President also scored highest in “controlling prices” “transportation,”  “infrastructure” and “crime prevention.”  As for “freedom of the press,” though it was  restored as soon as Marcos was ousted in 1986, the Philippines has since become the “most dangerous country not at war to live in for a journalist” and has remained among the top five in that category, according to CNN. This was never the case at anytime during the Marcos years when the local press was said to have been muzzled by government. True, it was “restrained” but no different from how it was “suppressed” in Indonesia, Singapore, and other ASEAN countries during that era. But local media, though genuinely free today, is being described as corrupt and libelous and, primarily, at the service of the ruling oligarchy. That’s not very comforting as far as “free press” goes.

And looking at the bigger picture, our so called “democratic form of government” is, in reality, a system of the same old “patronage politics”  that helps perpetuate the status quo, that is: ten percent of the population in control of 90 percent of the country’s wealth and the political leaders are looked upon as the dispensers of what the state should be providing its citizens. Business and politics remain deeply intertwined and, worse, politics has become a business for some politicians not unlike a family owned business.  Political dynasties abound. Relatedly, the economic growth experienced in the last five years was to the exclusion of the great majority, hence, a non-inclusive  growth that did nothing to alleviate poverty and improve the lives of most Filipinos.

With that as a backdrop, it should then be of no surprise that Bongbong Marcos got  over 14 million votes, more than all the Presidential candidates except Duterte and more than all the VP aspirants. Robredo’s lead of 200,000 votes is being protested and contested. BBM got zero votes in 63 municipalities and three cities in 15 provinces nationwide —  a statistical impossibility    including in Leyte and Samar, a Romualdez bailiwick. It is reprehensible to say the least that Comelec has been foot dragging in allowing an audit of the Comelec Main Server where a script was added during the early hours of transmittal, an unlawful act.

(A couple of weeks before the elections, President Aquino publicly stated that he would make sure BBM will not win in the coming elections. The head of Comelec is an Aquino appointee and worked for Mar’s previous campaign for Senator.) 

images (3) campaign

So even if BBM was not the candidate proclaimed as winner by the Comelec, he already had won a pair of “victories” even before the voting started. Firstly, the enthusiastic large crowds that greeted him wherever he travelled during the campaign period were there to see and listen to him in spite of the absence of a presidential running-mate and senatorial bets and against all the might of an incumbent sitting in Malacanang obsessed with stopping him from winning, by hook or by crook and there are evidences and whistle blowers pointing at electoral fraud. He was the “main course” in his sorties and rallies across the country and the crowd that were there were there solely for him.  And secondly, the willingness of Miriam to be his running-mate was not just a tacit endorsement of his candidacy, a recognition of his capability, and a judgement on his character seen fit to be Vice President of the Philippines; it was a personal conviction, Miriam being Miriam,  and not just a politically convenient accommodation which was the case with all the other presidential and VP teams. It is an honor for anyone  to run alongside Miriam, and he should take that as a compliment to be treasured and be proud of, Miriam being an  internationally respected jurist, a widely acknowledged constitutional expert, an erstwhile RTC judge, as well as a distinguished and much admired legislator.

Looking back over the decades, it was the people of the National Capital Region (NCR) that formed the large crowd along EDSA during the military assisted revolt that ousted BBM’s father  from office 30 years ago.  Had the 30 years that followed seen  fulfillment in the promises made during EDSA 1, or even just sincerity from its leaders, BBM would have been trounced here in Metro Manila. But the betrayal amidst the continuing yellow propaganda could no longer be denied; nor could the glaring absence of progress still be blamed on Marcos 30 years after the Americans flew him to Hawaii. The people of this metropolis where the People Power event took place in front of the eyes of the world 30 years ago,  made their feelings be known in a voice that could not have been louder and clearer: they gave Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.  a whopping 45 percent of their votes, the highest number of votes received among all five Vice Presidential candidates and even more than all of the Presidential candidates for that mattThe Aquino's led the move to oust ERAP and install GMA.er. He won in 16 of the 17 cities and one municipality and by a landslide. 

Of course, the “usual suspects” will continue to theorize and make pronouncements that are far divorced from reality while the yellow brigade will attempt to crank up their failing propaganda machinery. But the numbers don’t lie. BBM is and will continue to be a political force to reckon with and on his side, it will be politically wise for him to nurture the support that has been shown him. If President elect Duterte offers him a role in his administration a year from now, he could accept it if politically advantageous to him or personally fulfilling or both. And if that role proves to be in harmony with his future plans, he can stay with it for the entire Duterte term while his sister, Governor Imee, runs for  Senator in the mid-term elections.

Come 2022, he can run again for higher office but this time go for the presidency… but that’s a rather long way from now so we shall yield to Sir Winston Churchill’s  observation: “The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.” Amen.

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BongBong Marcos for Real

Because of the black propaganda flying around that stinks of “gutter politics,” we are compelled to say what we know about Bongbong Marcos from our own personal  experience from being his friend and having spent a lot of time with him over the last forty years.

bb4     During the years when his father ruled the country, with an iron fist some would say, he was, arguably, the most privileged stripling, lad, and later on young adult in the Philippines who could have behaved or rather, misbehaved, in a way many sons of politicians did prior to Martial Law and got away with it. It was not uncommon to hear stories about the son of this Congressman, or that Senator, Mayor, or cabinet member, get into shootouts that end up with deaths because they felt they were above the law and could break them and get away with it, unpunished, by using their parent’s political clout. And they did! But in all the years that his father was President, BBM was never involved in such incidents even if  he  had the backing of “superior fire power” (Presidential Security Guards), literally,  and political muscle over anyone.  The only time he would use his gun was in a firing range where he would practice or compete in “combat shooting” and actually win some of the trophies in fair and open competition, if we may add.  We’ve heard some weird stories portraying him to be a pugnacious brat “spoiling for a fight” character that are complete fabrications, and farthest from the truth. Even as a teenager where a mix of testosterone, peer pressure, and “Filipino-machismo culture” can easily degenerate into  a belligerent stance and flaunting of power, he never succumbed to behaving similarly as often happened and still happens with “spoiled” sons of powerful families in this country.


               dsc_1082                  bb2As for this “dictatorship” balderdash, BBM by nature was and is the antithesis of a dictator — tolerant of beliefs that do not jive with his, and respectful of opinions that contradict his own. But he also expects to be given the same kind of respect when having an opposing view and can and will stick to it firmly, until convinced otherwise. It is no surprise that London and New York are among his favorite large size cities outside the Philippines — the two most “tolerant” social environments in the world where the widest range of diverse people live side by side. So, those that raise the bugaboo of a dictatorship alluding to him are  mentally dishonest at best. They take cheap shots at him that stem from their own personal agendas that have nothing to do with his personal inclinations or political beliefs. They send their professional hecklers to his rallies to try to prevent him from speaking freely and unhampered and they even go the extent of cutting the electric power to stop him from being heard by the people until the crowd themselves drive them away. So, who is the dictator?


                     campaign          campaign

BBM’s run for the Vice Presidency, unlike most others, is not anchored on a consuming passion, much less, an obsession for power —  “been there and done that,” so to speak. He’s had enough of “power” to last him two lifetimes. In more intimate and candid conversations with him, one immediately sees that he views the job he seeks as one that carries tremendous responsibilities but exciting challenges and opportunities for him to “make a difference”  and provide leadership  in the task of nation building. And  he definitely is prepared for it because “sigurista” sya eh. Hindi nya papasukan yan kung hindi sya handa mag silbi ng higit pa sa maayos at may kakayahan. Ganyan ang ugali nya — always looking for better ways of doing things. He will bring to the Executive Branch of Government a “strive for excellence” culture.

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There is no secret to his surge in the surveys and the large and enthusiastic crowds and the warm receptions that greet him in all the places he has visited to ask people to support his candidacy. From the onset, he announced that he would conduct his campaign in a manner that is dignified and deserving of the voters, and would refrain from indulging in “gutter campaign.” He has kept his word and the people have taken notice, unlike other politicians that say one thing but do another. His consistency, sincerity, and doable platform of government are the reasons why he continues to gain support nationwide specially among the youth in spite of a concerted effort to thwart his candidacy by small but powerful groups that continue to “live in the past,” a past marred by three decades of unbridled corruption, continuous blaming, media brainwashing, and hate campaigns that foster divisiveness that have taken this country nowhere.


As for the ludicrous demand that he apologize for the declaration of Martial Law half a century ago when he was in his mid-teens, this comes as plain stupidity to most people. But what puzzles and angers the voters is why there is no similar outrage against violations of human rights committed after Marcos these last  30 years. There also has been no condemnation of the present administration’s human rights record as Noynoy Aquino’s six year term comes to an end; the International watchdog group, Human Rights Watch, has simply called President Aquino’s record “a failure.” They added that “there has been no real progress on justice for serious abuses committed under the Aquino administration.” Pray, tell, what happened to the anger and outrage the anti-Marcos leftist groups are good at mimicking when speaking of human rights violations but only  during Martial Law? They are selective in who to condemn which, besides being hypocritical, is terribly unfortunate for, and cruel to, the victims of atrocities such as the Mendiola massacre, Hacienda Luisita massacre, the Ampatuan bloodbath, all human rights victims in the last 30 years, and just very recently, the farmers that were killed in the Kidapawan demonstration just the other day when police open fired at them. Even the fact of our country becoming, according to CNN, “the most dangerous place not at war to live in for a journalist” has NOT caused alarm among these  pseudo freedom fighters, known affiliates of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed group, the National People’s Army. Since groups like CARMMA, SELDA, etc. have not made a dent on his current popularity, they have, just recently, charged him with plunder involving Napoles but that, too, is an old issue that’s already been resolved when Napoles herself said under oath that they had no dealings whatsoever and has never even met BBM and signatures in documents involved were said to have been forged. It is expected that “gutter campaigning” of the worst kind will intensify in the coming weeks and fabricated stories will abound as they already have. We can expect the “usual suspects,” ABS-CBN, the Philippines Daily Inquirer, Rappler and other media outlets “campaigning” for their own “manok” to go all out and vilify him specially because he is now occupying the number one position in all the surveys.

BBM or “Bonget” as he is fondly called by his friends, has had an extra-ordinary life, with its ups and downs to be sure, but has proven himself capable of handling the peak and the nadir both with equal equanimity, and the victories and the defeats with composure. Growing up as the “son of the President” during his entire teenage life until his late twenties, we did not witness any abuse of power when he could have done so and gotten away with it. We were also with him at his lowest during his days in exile and saw how he coped with it remakably well in spite of the abrupt — overnight, literally —  and drastic change in lifestyle and social standing from no less than son of Head of State for more than two decades to political and social pariah and virtual prisoner in a foreign land as well as  persona non grata in his own country; he even managed to retain his sense of humor whereas others with much less of a drastic and sudden change in “fortune and circumstance” would suffer “psychological and emotional breakdowns.”  And because “it didn’t kill him, it could only have  made him stronger,” as the adage goes; and, indeed, it has made him stronger. We have seen how his patriotism has become even firmer from what was already deep-seated when we first met him forty years ago. We have also witnessed  how he has been a good son, husband, and father, too. He is, without a doubt, the best choice for the office and we are certain he will make a good Vice President at the very least, probably better. We wish him success in his latest journey, as a friend, and more importantly, for the good of the country.


April 5, 2016 · 7:49 pm

The “Whatevahh” Revolution

This week marks the anniversary of EDSA 1 or the People Power Revolution, or the People Power Backed Military Rebellion. What title to give it depends on how one views it.  A “revolution” seems to be farfetched because no revolution occurred. A purely military rebellion is not apt either because one cannot ignore the people that congregated along EDSA that helped bring about the ouster of President Marcos. And the American hand has, over the years, become clearer making that a 3rd element in this historical event. An incisive description of what took place was best summarized by historian/journalist Chitang Nakpil:”EDSA as a revolutionary reform failed because, from its inception, it was tainted by foreign interests, and even its native elements were blighted by self serving motives.”

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In a future era of more evolved human beings hundreds of years from now, this could even be relegated to an anecdote in our history which would be a sub-story in the history of man. Without meaning to put a damper on what is already a lame celebration of EDSA 1, this week’s related activities will definitely be politically motivated which is to be expected with elections just around the corner. But the problem is there will be several mini celebrations of various groups and persons  bitterly fighting and campaigning against each other, all claiming to be the legitimate “owner” of “EDSA 1” with whatever value there is left in it as a brand. That these personalities, who once marched together in locked arms against Marcos, are now bitterly fighting each other tooth and nail, only confirms that self-interest had always been their motive. These were hidden in lofty ideas and slogans shouted over megaphones when they joined together against one man hoping to partake of the spoils should they finally succeed.

bb4                The Aquino's led the move to oust ERAP and install GMA.

It has been thirty years since the uprising which is more than enough time to have made significant gains as China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia and Singapore did but, alas, we seem to have gotten stuck and even regressed in some areas of nation building. The most obvious is the failure to alleviate poverty and worse, the rise in the number of people experiencing hunger. In education, compared to the time of Marcos, a smaller percentage of our population are presently enrolled in our primary and secondary schools and the ratio of teacher to students has worsened. We have witnessed wanton degradation of our land, forests, mountains, water and air over three decades and our cities have become urban jungles of the worst kind with its accompanying criminality. Our international airport has been named the worst in the world, MRT-LRT are decrepit, and traffic in Metro Manila has become a monstrosity.The drug menace is now a scourge with the narco state, already in place. The shabu trade has reached 1 Billion Pesos a day and continues to flourish. Though our economic growth rate is doing splendidly, sadly, it is only felt by a few, far from being inclusive. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority’s 2014 Annual Poverty Indicators Survey, poverty incidence among Filipinos rose to 25.8% from 24.6% in 2013. But since 2006, poverty has almost remained constant.  Finally, corruption has escalated, our people remain divided, the country has become the “most dangerous place to live in for a journalist,” and the International Human Rights Watchdog has just given President Aquino a failing grade. What then is there to celebrate? Unless you belong to the few that have become richer or the oligarchy that is back in power, there is little to celebrate and plenty to lament.


 And if President Marcos has been looking good to a large number of Filipinos as of late, it is not because the Marcos loyalists have worked their propaganda on the people; they could not have because they have not had, and still do not have, the power to disseminate propaganda much less, succeed in attempts at  historical revisionism. It is the “history” written by his opponents that have permeated the broadcast networks and newspaper dailies owned or controlled by the oligarchs of the yellow brigade.  The simple reason why the former strongman has been gaining more acceptance and admirers over the years is not only due to more awareness of the best of  Marcos’ government programs and infrastructure still utilized today, but because what came after him proved to be worse, as difficult as it may be for some to admit that. Thirty years is a long long time and blaming Marcos for today’s problems only further enrages the people. And if there are still some souls that believe the Filipinos have not seen


through the EDSA “masquerade” and  its  failure to deliver on promises of a better future for the majority of the people, and the “revolution” that was supposed to usher in deep reforms in government, they will soon change their minds when they witness Senator Bongbong Marcos raise his right hand to be sworn in as the next Vice President of the Philippines.

  images (2)asasas

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“Elections in the Time of Facebook”

In the 2004 presidential elections contested by GMA and FPJ, there were approximately 4.5M Filipinos with access to the internet while Friendster was the primary social network. In the 2010 elections for President that saw PNoy win the Presidency, Friendster was no longer the top social network and was in fact on its way to extinction; Facebook had dislodged it from “numero uno” position and established itself as the social network darling of all 22 million on-line Filipinos; and a fivefold jump in internet users from the last national elections of 2004 was realized. By then,  Facebook, amazingly, had users  in excess of more than half a billion people worldwide with close to a billion and a half subscribed users by the start of 2016.


By the time the 2016 elections would be underway, the number of social network accounts in the Philippines would have more than doubled the 2010 figures bringing it to approximately 45.7M Filipinos, the same number  accessing the internet with a hundred percent penetration on Facebook, hence, the Philippine’s distinction of being called “the Facebook capital of the world.” The coming elections, indeed, could very well be decided on Facebook and Twitter knowing also that all news and entertainment programs and political talk shows broadcast on TV are themselves reporting the goings-on in Facebook and Twitter.  TV programs interact with netizens in “real time” giving internet posts a “double exposure” when broadcast as news on TV, or through the TV programs’ respective interactive features.


Country Presidents and Prime Ministers, heads of organized religions including Pope Francis and the Dalai Lama, billionaires and celebrities such as Bill Gates and Richard Branson, all use one or another of the social networks to communicate with their constituents, fans, followers and supporters on matters of import as well as their personal feelings on certain issues. During one of the numerous sporadic flare-ups between Palestinians and Israelis, Twitter was used to warn Israeli citizens which district the next missile fired from Palestinian territory would most likely land on — this, in “real time” giving the people in a targeted area time to take cover. The “Arab Spring” in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt, terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists, embarrassing and glorious moments of international celebrities, as well as multi-million dollar fund raisers, have utilized the various social network portals for optimum effectivity.


On the hardware side of the digital social network phenomenon is the trend towards the use of mobile gadgets in accessing the internet. These gadgets — tablets, notebooks, smart phones, etc. — mobile and smaller than the “endangered specie” desktop computers, are more affordable and have helped grow faster the number of people with access to the internet. These gadgets have also increased the over-all average frequency in internet use with apps like traffic advisories, road map directions, restaurant locations, reservations, video games, VoIP telephony, and other information exchanges that help in our daily activities. Next coming is “the internet of things” but we’ll avoid digressing.


The situation in the Philippines is no different from the rest of the world albeit behind some countries in penetration but, also, ahead of others. The coming elections in May 2016 will be a “first” for the country to be held with  half of the population  having access to the internet in spite of our very slow internet speed connection which is another story.  As we have witnessed the power of the internet as manifested in other areas of the globe, we may see here in the Philippines — no less than the “Facebook capital of the world” — the results of the May 2016 national elections influenced to a large degree  by the digital social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Be that as it may, we expect the internet to  play a major role in the coming elections. The “numbers” are definitely present for it to have a strong impact on the outcome. And in close races, the politician  with the better use of the internet could end up the winner because of it. Politicians that don’t give it its’ due importance could be in for the biggest surprise of their political lives.


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The New Politician

The people happiest about Senator Marcos running for a higher national office, the Vice Presidency, are the ones that have made it a career to bash anything “Marcos.” They want him in the limelight so their “bashing” can also be “seen” by many. Again, we are hearing the inane “demand” that Bongbong apologize for the human rights abuses committed during his father’s reign. The self righteous moralists are happy to recite their litany of number of missing persons, number of people jailed (mostly communists or leftist students too naive to know they were being used), number of tortured, of displaced, and every other possible abuse one can think of that will make Marcos look like all he ever did was to think of ways of torturing people. Some are just too happy to be able to say once more, “never again,” to see if it sparks some new meaning in their lives or brightens the halo above their heads long ago faded. But you ask these same people if they have the official or even just a non-official tally of human rights abuses in the last 30 years under the 5 post-Marcos Presidents and they will look at you incredulously as if to say, “who cares about those.”  They also invariably forget to mention that BBM was 14 years old when Martial Law was declared and his opinion today about Martial Law then, is his opinion which he is entitled to like everyone else so he should not apologize for that either. Besides, it is an opinion shared by many.  bb3

The curtailment of press freedom during Martial Law should “never be repeated” they will tell you; but these same people have done nothing to help investigate the killings of media practitioners in this country in the last 30 years, a frequent enough occurrence to earn us the distinction of being “the most dangerous country not at war to live in for a journalist,” according to CNN. (http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/04/asia/philippines-deadly-for-journalists/) But do they care? Marcos was no longer around to blame for those killings. So, what good is bringing up human rights violations or killings of journalists if you can’t blame Marcos for them? The Mendiola Massacre, the Hacienda Luisita carnage, the “Ampatuan bloodbath” and many more atrocities that continue to form part of our history post-Marcos do not get the same passionate howl from “traditional media” mostly owned by the oligarchs that rushed back to the country after 1986 to resume their stronghold on the economy as part of their share of the spoils of EDSA 1 divided up among a few families. The promises made by those that took over the reins of power in 1986 were bogus promises and the corruption that followed was worse than what they had replaced. And what was supposed to be Cory Aquino’s legacy, the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program, became the biggest travesty in our history when a special exemption was granted the vast land holdings of her family of more than 6,000 hectares that to this day has yet to be distributed to the farmer tenants as ordered and made executory by the Supreme Court.


But what a new generation, born after Martial Law, have experienced since 1986 is living in a country that continues to be mired in poverty, ruled by the same dynastic families, bogged down by corruption, and whose political leaders have done nothing to ensure that the economic gains of the country as a whole is felt by the majority of the people. What they continue to witness is the rich becoming richer and the poor getting poorer and growing in number. They also see how the propaganda against the Marcoses remains unrelenting but now rings hallow, to others, outright ridiculous and absurd.

But the internet has become the “game changer” where the flow of information is no longer controlled by a few. What information traditional media have been bombarding the youth with, they see does not jive with the reality on the ground and moreover, they are now able to exchange information among themselves instantaneously through social media. What they say to each other that their parents and grandparents have told them about the past are similar in narrative: that life was in many ways better then, and that the situation now, thirty long years after, has hardly improved and in many respects has, in fact, deteriorated and that the leaders of EDSA 1 betrayed them. So there is this collective realization among the young that those that continue to espouse divisiveness and continue to dwell on the past continually using Marcos as the culprit, the excuse, are themselves, the ones that hinder progress and that the country can only advance if people are willing to unite and work as one nation to push this country forward. They are tired of the “blame game,” divisive politics, finger pointing, and do not care to look for scape goats. The young call it “laro ng mga matatanda,” or simply, the “yellow lie.”



Vice Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is finding his strength among the youth, the millennial generation, where his message of unity and nation building resonates. He asks them to consider him on the basis of his track record as a public servant, and presents himself as the one to lead the way in putting to rest “trapo” and patronage politics. He has announced to all and sundry that he intends to work for the betterment of not just a few but for the betterment of all. His confidence is anchored on his track record (http://www.bongbongmarcos.com/about/) that speaks volumes of his capability to effect changes as he has done in his province of Ilocos Norte as Governor for nine consecutive years. The propaganda against him, overused to be sure, sounds tired and old and has evidently reached its limit and has been exposed for what it is. The people will have the last say when they vote him in as the next Vice President of the Philippines.

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