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Opinion

Never again

BREAKTHROUGH - Elfren S. Cruz - The Philippine Star

Will another Marcos return to Malacanang as president? This is not the first time that there have been attempts and talks of a Marcos restoration. On August 20, 1999, former President Corazon Aquino addressed a rally at Ayala Avenue, Makati protesting a Charter change attempt by then President Erap Estrada. There was a public perception that the call for Charter change was really to pave the way for a Marcos restoration.

Here are excerpts of Cory Aquino’s speech addressed to the public and more specifically to President Erap Estrada:

“When Marcos men threatened me during my campaign rally for the Snap Election in Basilan – ‘Cory, isang bala ka lang.’ – I stood my ground and answered, ‘Marcos, isang balota ka lang.’”

Mr. President, do not worry about us being afraid. We have been threatened by experts.

We have faced bullets outside the silver screen and faced down tanks with only rosaries in our hands.

But there are things of which we are afraid. We are afraid of the evils that may tear up the country again.

Mr. President, you say,” Be not afraid of breaking loose from the past.”

Mr. President, we are afraid of the past breaking loose in the present with a Marcos restoration.

Mr. President, it is not just the future, but the present that calls for courage, clarity of vision and concord. It calls for vigilance against the return of a past this nation paid so high a price – in blood, sweat, toil and tears – to escape.”

President Corazon Aquino concluded her speech with the following words:

“We are a peaceful people, but a freedom loving and moral nation as well. Right and wrong are beyond political calculation.

Our children must see that stealing does not cease to be wrong because the loot is successfully hidden. Our children must see that the mastermind is not innocent because his hired guns are afraid to linger him. Our children must see that might does not make right but that, given time and determination, right is irresistible.

We will not surrender the guarantees and good government for which we paid dearly.

We will not allow those who plundered our country to return to power no matter who they think their best friend is. The electoral mandate extends no farther than the candidate himself.

We will not so easily allow the dismantling of what took the democratic resistance many years to recover under martial law, and succeeding years after EDSA to rebuild:

• Our democracy from the grip of tyranny;

• Our country from the pockets of thieves;

• Our economic wealth that was stolen and mortgaged by the people who are back in power today.

President Estrada should not take this rally personally. This is not a fight against him. He has been President only one year. He was only mayor not martial law administrator during the Marcos regime.

This is a fight against a 14-year dictatorship and a dark legacy that refuses to die.

We are told to forgive and forget. Surely, the President understands why it is extremely difficult for us to just forgive and forget such deep wrongs done to our country, since he finds it hard to forgive and forget wrongs done to him.

Let me say it now: there will never, never be a Marcos restoration, not by hook or by crook. This country will always be free and will always be the country of the People Power Revolution.”

Fourteen years and eleven months after this speech was delivered, the heir apparent Bongbong Marcos has been implicated in the PDAF schemes, including allegedly giving P100 million to Napoles NGOs. This is a potential plunder case which can put him in the same detention center as Revilla and Estrada.

An arrest warrant for plunder has also been issued for the primary martial law administrator during the Marcos years. Juan Ponce Enrile was Minister of Defense during the entire martial law period except for its final four days.

But on her own personal journey to her private “Land of Oz,” Imelda Romualdez Marcos continues to have the absurd fantasy that the Philippines and the Filipino people deserve to have another Marcos as President.

Alcala again

It took two common-sense female senators to refocus public attention away from sensationalized media narratives to those issues which affect the everyday lives of the average housewife.

I am referring to Senator Cynthia Villar and Senator Grace Poe, chair and vice-chair of the Senate committee on agriculture. In spite of the fact that the Senate is in recess, the two decided it was worth their time to hold a public hearing on the spiralling price of garlic and the failure of the Department of Agriculture to even give a reasonably credible explanation.

This is in contrast to the recent media narratives about the “widespread demand” for the impeachment of President Aquino after the Supreme Court decision on the partial unconstitutionality of the DAP.

When Senator Trillanes of the majority coalition, the head of the opposition Vice-President Jejomar Binay, P-Noy critic former Senator Joker Arroyo, and constitutionalist Fr. Joaquin Bernas all agree that the President either does not deserve to be impeached or any impeachment move is a futile and useless exercise, it would seem that there should already be a national consensus that it is time to move on to more critical issues.

The so-called “widespread demand” has been mainly centered around the statements of former officials of the previous administrations of Erap Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The public can decide whether these ex-officials are credible and sincere participants in the impeachment issue.

Then there are the red-flag waving “militants” whose ideology has become globally discredited that their continued espousal of a bankrupt ideology has become a politically comic farce. I notice that every time they have a rally of a few dozens or hundreds people, the same faces keep appearing.

It was good that the Senate hearing on garlic prices was televised live. We learned that imported garlic has a landed cost of P17 per kilo and is now retailing at around P300 per kilo. Farmers sell locally grown garlic at P40, and is then sold at around P280.

We learned that there is a Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and a National Garlic Action Team (NGAT) who both admit that prices are being manipulated but feel the Department of Agriculture is completely helpless.

I would like to share my personal reflections on this issue. Both the BPI and NGAT heads are obviously incompetent. But the responsibility for their actions lie with their head, the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture. The solution is not to fire these two people. Neither is the solution to transfer these agencies to Secretary Pangilinan.

Ladies and gentlemen, the solution is to demand the resignation of the person in charge. It is really, really time to let Proceso Alcala go.

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Email: [email protected]

AYALA AVENUE BONGBONG MARCOS BUREAU OF PLANT INDUSTRY DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE MARCOS MR. PRESIDENT PRESIDENT PRESIDENT CORAZON AQUINO PRESIDENT ERAP ESTRADA
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