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.
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.
As 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?
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.
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.