Philippine Politics: The hypocrisy, the downfall, and the Marcos vs Aquino saga

By N Mark Castro

bongbong

The only storytelling you need to tell is the truth.

And there’s no sugar-coating or spinning something that we’ve all lived through. Even to this day. Which is why Oscar Tan’s piece on Alienating the Youth from EDSA and Conrad de Quiros’ reaction piece, saying that Oscar’s piece lacked perspective.

The problem is we’ve spent years glorifying a failed past instead of confronting the ugly truth about Philippine politics since EDSA I.

We kicked the Marcoses out and swore never again to tyranny, political dynasties, graft and corruption, nepotism, cronyism, and despotic tendencies to extend their stay.

We said the Marcoses were the evil people the likes of which the world has never seen. We all agreed he was horrible and so took out our constitutional process to create People Power. We were right. God Almighty Himself has assured us seats on His Right Side.

marcos-269x224

We installed Cory and had festivities and patted ourselves on the back how righteous we were.

And why not? We just showed the world — for the very first time — the mystery of People Power. There was no Constitutional provision for her to assume the presidency but, screw the Constitution, we’ll make something up later.

We were the toast of the town. We could’ve even defaulted our fraudulent loans!

cory

Instead what we saw was how all Marcos-related projects and street names were changed. Manila International Airport became Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Cultural Center of the Philippines, Folk Arts Theatre, Lung Center, Coconut Palace, and on and on were neglected, abandoned because it had the fingers of Marcos.

Then we witnessed for ourselves how incompetent she was in managing the country and, most of all, reining in her cohorts who turned out to be as dirty — if not worse, than the Marcoses, chief of whom was her brother, which began the reign of the Kamaganak Inc. Incidentally, Peping is back under his nephew’s — Benigno Aquino III — presidency.

peping

The Cory Aquino cabinet — once the stalwart of opposition against corruption of the Marcoses — now became accused of corruption and patronage themselves. Heherson Alvarez himself was embroiled in illegal logging, accused by no less than Sen. Orly S Mercado. And, lest we forget, Juan Ponce Enrile will forever be hounded about his participation in the coup attempts against the Cory Aquino presidency.

UR2

What had been evident through her presidency was its gross incompetence and indecisiveness in forming a cohesive team. Most everyone was out on their own, to secure their own place. Worse, when her turnover came, instead of honoring the promise to uphold the results of the primary elections from the very same political party that catapulted her to power, she sided with the losing Fidel Ramos who eventually formed his own political party.

Who could ever forget the infamous line that the late Ramon Mitra said of Fidel Ramos: “Mabuti pa ang sabungero me palabra de honor.”

It was also during that time that Imelda Marcos returned to contest the presidency. She lost but showed millions of supporters across the country. This just several years after EDSA.

The former first lady of the Philippines, Imelda M

The presidency of Fidel Ramos did not go untainted as well. How easily we have forgotten how he got mired in hundreds of billions of pesos of scams, from the P7-billion Centennial Expo scam (investigated by Rene Saguisag who recommended prosecution) to the P40-billion Fort Bonifacio scam, the sale of which was supposed to go to the Armed Forces Modernization Fund but disappeared into thin air.

By then, Erap’s growing popularity was overshadowing Ramos’ achievements. Ramos tried to tinker with the Constitution and he was shot down. He had no choice but to prop up Jose de Venecia, Jr, the worst traditional politician ever.

fidelerap

They wanted to cheat — as all Philippine elections have shown — but they were blasted away by Erap’s popularity.

It was around this time that the Marcoses were in full force. Ilocos Norte was theirs. You couldn’t stop it even if you tried. And there were impostors that did and lost big time.

Erap had been drunk with power by then, aside from his expensive Johnny Walker Blue bottles. The middle class resented it, especially those that could no longer have access to the million-worth contracts they had then. Suddenly, there was a new corrupt sheriff in town.

Among the many graft and corruption that Erap was involved in, the case they filed against him was his participation in the illegal numbers game.

Following the constitutional process, they tried to impeach Erap; however, they failed to understand that an impeachment process isn’t about morality or legality. It’s about politics, pure and simple. And Erap beat them to it. Let us not forget, Erap was winning in the impeachment.

That was unacceptable.

And so the country had an epiphany, why not another People Power?

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They rallied around Cory, Fidel, the Church, and all the usual suspects and succeeded in installing Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

There went the ballgame.

Cory FVR Arroyo Sin 2001

Despite her hobbit-size stature, Gloria held on to power for the next 9 years, something which we swore we would never allow. She had her fingers dipped on just about every big-ticket contracts in the country, making Erap’s illegal numbers game look like an amateur theft. They tried to impeach her several times, too, but she knew how to parlay patronage.

Convinced now of the big mistake they’ve made, Cory, Fidel, and the Church tried to rally against her.

They failed.

Gloria bitch-slapped them into political irrelevancy.

Philippine former presidents Corazon Aqu

It was also during this time that the Marcoses cemented their political feet. Imee was in Congress, Imelda was in Congress, Bongbong was governor. Then Bongbong moved up to the Senate and Imee took over as governor while Imelda continued on in Congress.

Bongbong’s senatorial run was interesting to note. This was the second time that a Marcos entered a national race after EDSA. The people could’ve spoken and rejected him; instead, he won and has served in the 15th and 16th Congress, placing 7th — his dead dad’s favorite number.

Make no mistake. The Marcoses were back … as if they never left.

Alaric Yanos - Gov.Imee2012-011-20120911-IMGP4176

And then there are the Binays: The father is the Vice President, the daughter is a Senator, another daughter is a Congresswoman, while the son is a mayor.

This was the same Jejomar Binay who was appointed by Cory Aquino as Office in Charge (OIC) in Makati City. The same Jejomar Binay who once peddled his legal services to represent the abused victims of the Marcoses. He belonged to the same opposition group against the Marcoses that fought hard to dismantle political dynasties, nepotism, etc. And here he is, becoming the very same monster he once fought.

3Dynastiescollage

Don’t forget the Estradas, Revillas, Cayetanos, Angaras, Abads, and even the Aquinos … aside from the other political dynasties.

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But the oligarchic nation doesn’t seem to mind. Actually, the history of Philippine elections have revealed nothing but the continuing saga of one political dynasty against the next; one political family vendetta against the next.

It’s such a soap opera … and if there’s one thing Filipinos love, it’s exactly just that.

So would it be a surprise that even our neighbors would weigh in on our politics that have impeded our growth?

lee

So the real question is: has anything truly changed in Philippine politics?

All these talk of economic progress, have the poor actually felt them?

Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) are supposed to trickle down to the poor, but if there’s one thing our politicians have shown is that they hate any financial leakages that don’t go directly to their bank accounts.

And at the rate the accused senators are preparing their great legal defense against a distracted government, it won’t be surprising that they are absolved.

And with a Supreme Court currently under attack, who will decide?

The people?

We’ve all seen what the people of the Republic of the Philippines have elected and done.

They’re as dumb as it gets.presentation1

Because if there’s one political fight that the Philippines never really got tired of, that has captured the imagination of Philippine electorate and has been handed down from generation to generation is the Marcos vs Aquino romance.

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So if you are to ask me about the horrible possibility of a Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. presidency, my only say is:

So what?

Bitch-slap the fucking Philippine political hypocrisy and put it once and for all to rest.

Reset the buttons and stage the Marcos vs Aquino fight because, ultimately, that’s the bottomline of storytelling in Philippine politics.

bongkris

About Asmartrock

N. Mark Castro is the chief political communications strategist for PT AsiaLeads, a political and communications policy-making body based in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is also the Executive Director at the Southeast Asia Consulting Group, an investment advisory company assisting clients roll out their presence for the ASEAN Economic Integration in partnership with government. The views posted here are his own and do not in any way reflect the views of the companies he represents.

Posted on July 23, 2014, in General, Politics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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