April 2, 2023

Last Sept. 11 was the birthday of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, declared a holiday in his home province of Ilocos Norte.
Next Tuesday, Sept. 22, will mark the 48th anniversary of Martial Law, and as expected, all his critics, mostly pretenders, will come out of the woodwork to denounce it as a day never to be forgotten as a day of infamy.
“Never again” is the battle cry.

Many of today’s politicians still suffer from the notion that to be a vocal critic of Marcos is being heroic and incarceration during the Martial Law years was a badge of honor, which of course it is, except that it is no longer relevant.
More than half the population, the young mostly, couldn’t care less about Marcos and Martial Law.

Marcos wasn’t born evil, as his enemies would like us all to believe. I do not think that the numbers triple six were at the back of his head when he was born.
In fact, in his early years as a politician, he did pretty well as a three-term congressman and later on as a senator and Senate President. He was a Bar topnotcher and a respected debater and orator.
The only blemish on his record at the time was the assassination of a certain Nalundasan, for which he was tried and convicted, but was later acquitted by the High Court on appeal.
To his provincemates, however, the killing of Nalundasan was an act of rightful vengeance.
Either notion is both wrongful. Denouncing Marcos yearend and year-out only serves to make you throw up – nakakasuka na, and shooting your father’s political opponent while brushing his teeth is murder, plain and simple.

But let’s take a closer look at the political scenario. Were it not for the party list system, there wouldn’t be as many critics against Marcos as there are currently.
After EDSA, exactly how many of the children of Marcoses’ staunchest foes have been elected to a national position. Some yes, but not the kind you want in office.
For example, Law Dean Chel Diokno, whose heart is as pure as that of his old man, couldn’t get himself elected senator, and Diokno is suppose to be a magic name.

In contrast, two of Marcos’ kids have been elected to the senate, and his namesake is probably the duly-elected vice president.
The story is that someone sporting a yellow shirt said; “Dinaya ng tatay mo ang nanay ko, pero panalo pa rin ang nanay ko. Ikaw, nadaya ka nga, at hanggang protesta ka na lang.”

Critics say that Marcos, aside from his many other sins, was nothing but a common thief. So he was, but was he into shoes or jewelry? Were his suits Armani and his barongs Pitoy Moreno?
Marcos enjoyed power and its perks, but the money he allegedly stole?
An Ilocano patriarch, and like most fathers of the North, he thought the world of his kids, and he made sure that his children and his children’s children will not starve even if hell freezes over.

Really, without the Marcos money, winning a political seat in Ilocos Norte could not have been possible, but hey, Imee Marcos was elected senator in 2018, with all the Estradas falling by the wayside.
Even Erap went down in defeat to Isko Moreno. Nor their baptized names, imagine that. Talo si “Asiong” kaya that’s time to move on.

But we wonder, is Rodrigo Duterte a Marcos in the making? He seems to be treading Marcos’ balancing act – one hand doing good, the other mapping out plans, sinister or otherwise.
I mean, Marcos could have been a great president, if only he had set his mind to being one, but deeply bothered about the future of his loved ones, he faltered.
But why is Duterte not yet declaring martial law? Well, for one, he needs some kind of justification, and for another, things are going well so far – a cooperative House and Senate, a military that snaps to salute each time he tilts his head.

In truth, the pandemic is good for his plans. Once it escalates, he will need to rule with an iron hand, the undisciplined people that we are.
He also needs to get rid of the corruption, lulling his close subordinates that he has their backs, and then take them all out in one fell swoop. The effect would be dramatic, regaining our faith and confidence in him.
Pero cool lang muna ang ating exalted leader.
Timing is the name of the game, ‘ika nga nila.’
His worst nightmare – and ours too – is that a woman will replace or succeed him – not his daughter.

Ah, but Duterte has Marcos as his study, so he will try to avoid his mistakes.
Now when Marcos jailed Diokno, Tanada, Pimentel, et al, people were scared, shocked that such illustrious names were imprisoned.
Duterte knows exactly at which time he will jail his critics and the applause will be deafening.
He will find a way to link them to all the crooks and tulisans.
‘Yan ang sikreto – lahat or all the big names involved in crime – smuggling, kidnapping, etc.
Maybe even throw in a few crooked generals – ‘yung mga kilala – maraming mansions, farms, mistresses, magagarang sasakyan, at malalaking negosyo.
Tapos na ang kanilang maliligayang mañanita.
But let’s see.

Obits and trivia
Physical distancing means stay away from me for about a meter or more, lest we infect each other.
While social distancing implies keeping out of range because you have bad breath, and stink like a skunk.

Our condolences to the family of Baby Gayena-Herrera, executive secretary to Doy Laurel when he was vice president, and later on as co-chair of the National Centennial Commission.
Baby was an exceptionally efficient girl Friday and even Mrs. Celia Laurel said that Doy couldn’t do without Baby to take care of the paperwork and other important matters.
What I remember about Baby was that she had a daughter who was a basketball standout, the star of the Assumption varsity team.
Baby was nearly six feet tall, and towered over Doy and I. She was also a dear friend whose life was taken away by the Covid-19.
Godspeed “Ma’am” Baby!