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.
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.)
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 matter. 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.