Undying hatred of the “Marcos past,” unreasoning fear of a “Marcos-friendly future,” and total rejection of any suggestion from any source that Filipinos had begun to rethink the real value of Martial Law and Ferdinand Marcos’ real standing among Philippine Presidents are among the saddest afflictions of President B. S. Aquino 3rd.
These were aggressively on display on the 30th anniversary of the February 25, 1986 EDSA ‘revolt,’ when Aquino relaunched his late parents’ lifelong campaign against the late President Marcos. Completely anathema to Aquino was The New York Times’ observation that Filipinos had become nostalgic about the “golden age” of Marcos, when the Philippines and their President were highly respected everywhere. Aquino frothed in the mouth upon reading this.
Since the late ‘60s, the discrediting and destruction of Marcos had been the main object of the late former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr.’s politics. As senator, his uninterrupted polemics was against Marcos. He authored only one law—the Study Now, Pay Later law, which the late former Senator Raul Roco, during his own campaign, claimed to have drafted as Ninoy’s chief of staff—but he delivered endless anti-Marcos speeches.
In one such speech he blew the cover behind Marcos’ national security project for Sabah, the Philippine territory, which had been incorporated into Malaysia against our formal protest. This ironically made Ninoy a “hero” and Marcos a “knave” especially to the Malaysians, the British and so many naive and unthinking Filipinos, who had no appreciation of the paramount national interest involved. To this day we suffer the consequences of that highly irresponsible and “treasonous” act.
Aquino went beyond mere speeches.
In 1969, he brokered the meeting between Amado Guerrero (aka Jose Maria Sison), leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and Bernabe Buscayno, aka Commander Dante of the New People’s Army (NPA), which forged the ties that launched the Communist rebellion against the government.
When the Communists came knocking at the gates of Malacañang, Marcos decided to fight back by declaring Martial Law in 1972. The oligarchy, which counted on the Aquinos, condemned Marcos for proclaiming martial law, but not the Communists who had threatened to overthrow the government and provoked a constitutional response from Marcos. This continues to this day.
Plaza Miranda bombing
In 1971, Aquino accused Marcos of having ordered the bombing of the Liberal Party political rally at Plaza Miranda, where all the top party leaders were on stage except for himself, the party secretary-general, who was mysteriously out of reach during the attack. He surfaced later, dressed in a military uniform, apparently ready to oust Marcos and take over, if any of the LP leaders had been killed. The toll was high, but none among his top colleagues were killed.
Years later, the Communists confessed to the crime, but former Senate President Jovito Salonga, one of the most seriously injured bombing victims, said,
“Ninoy had something to do with it.”
But Aquino never apologized, nor was condemned for it. As Marcos’ most important martial law prisoner, he was sentenced to death by a military tribunal, but allowed to leave for the US for a heart surgery. He returned three years later only to be gunned down at the international airport that now bears his name.
Marcos, through his Defense Secretary, Juan Ponce Enrile, had tried to dissuade him from coming home, citing a reported security threat, which the government was apparently still trying to ascertain. This went unheeded, and he returned. The rest is history. Marcos was blamed instantly for the murder, and members of the aviation security command were accused and convicted of the crime.
But the grieving widow, who became revolutionary president after ousting Marcos, never bothered to find out the real brains behind it. Neither did her son PNoy, who became President in 2010. Mother and son simply encouraged the public to believe, without any basis, that Marcos was responsible.
Cory spent her six and a half years in office trying to wipe out anything and everything that bore Marcos’ mark.
She discarded the government’s full-scale industrialization program;
scrapped the Department of Energy, the all-but completed Bataan Nuclear Power Plant and the entire national energy program;
exempted her own family-held Hacienda Luisita from land reform; left all of Imelda Marcos’ cultural projects to the elements;
expunged “Isang Bansa, Isang Diwa” from the national consciousness;
handpicked 50 individuals to write a new Constitution because she could not trust the Filipinos to elect those who should do it;
barred the Marcoses from returning to the country to answer charges against them, but instead asked the US to prosecute them for some of these crimes;
spent over a trillion pesos in six and a half years to build a few flyovers in Metro Manila, as against the P600 billion or so Marcos had spent to build all the infrastructure in the country in 20 years;
barred Marcos from being buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani where even dogs and scoundrels lie.
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