Marcos 2.0
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - December 11, 2019 - 12:00am

In the play “Jesus Christ Superstar” there’s a song that starts with the line “What’s the buzz? Tell me what’s the happening?” The buzz of course was the “controversial” or popular being that was Jesus. The play was quite a big hit in spite of the fact that it came out in the 1970’s, a very chaotic time in the Philippines when Ferdinand Marcos was in power and he and his minions were busy consolidating power through Martial Law. Marcos back then had his hands full with plots on how to stay in power, fighting with the communists led by JoMa Sison, the Muslim freedom fighters,being constantly exposed by then Senator Ninoy Aquino for “Oplan Sagittarius” and the “Jabbidah Massacre” where trainees intended for the takeover of Sabah, Malaysia were eventually shot dead except for one survivor who exposed the plot, and last but not the least: the Oligarchs led by the fathers of today’s oligarchs.

Ironically, there seems to be some truth to the saying: the more things change – the more they remain the same. Nearly 50 years after Marcos and his minions started plotting the imposition of Martial Law, there is a sense of Deja Vu. Almost every gathering I find myself at, the buzz and the people are talking about the modern day version of Marcos or “Marcos 2.0” in the person of President Rodrigo Duterte who is still fighting with communist insurgents, Abu Sayyaf terrorists and muslim rebels, is engaged in a bitter fight with the female version of Ninoy Aquino in the person of Vice President Leni Robredo, and most recently has publicly expressed his unveiled contempt and intent to mangle today’s “oligarchs” particularly the Ayalas, MVP and the Lopez group. Interestingly, all this is happening at approximately the same time it was for Marcos: two and a half years before the term of President Duterte ends. That is what the buzz is.

People and political analysts are having sleepless nights trying to figure out what President Duterte and his minions are really up to. The parallels are uncanny, almost a carbon copy of history. It does not help either that President Duterte has openly said that he idolizes or admires Marcos version 1 not to mention the often repeated warning that “Those who do not learn from history are bound to repeat it”. If it’s any consolation, some analysts suspect that the attack on media and business oligarchs is simply the beginning of “hostile takeover” efforts and not necessarily a prelude to Martial Law 2.0. When President Duterte mentioned “Villar” in the same space where he attacked the water concessionaires, a number of analysts concluded that if and when the agreements are rescinded or rewritten, we will all know if it was about fair play or wiping the slate clean so new players or partners such as Villar’s water distribution company can make a bid for the concessions. If that happens, the next question is will the public get a better deal or will Duterte backers simply be exchanging thrones with those economically displaced for reason of “economic sabotage”?

As far as ABS CBN, Rappler and Philippine Daily Inquirer are concerned, industry veterans have informed me that certain personalities have already made moves to buy lesser media outlets specifically minor broadsheets and are waiting for the Big Boys to quit the game or sell out. But knowing the character behind the pioneers or owners of the three aforementioned media entities, it will be a cold day in hell before they sell any part of their crown jewels to any Duterte minion. But what about the thousands of employees currently employed by those media companies? According to industry veterans, Channel 2 will probably sell out, co-prod or do a joint venture with the competition rather than the prosecution. One expert said that there will always be takers for content and talent so the entertainment programs can easily migrate to the competition “on loan” or be traded just like basketball players. That would be an unpleasant arrangement but one that allows everyone to save face. The worse thing the Duterte administration would want is if “Kardo” Ang Probinsyano leads a battle for the hearts and minds on the issue. Since NEWS is not really a pot of gold, some executives might actually be happy to be relieved of the burden while looking like martyrs and heroes. The same would probably go for PDI which already tried once to work with a white knight. Rappler on the other hand can easily move address, outside the Philippines and transform their corporate identity from RAPPLER to HECKLER and be the perpetual pain in the butt of the Duterte administration from abroad using social media and the internet.

Clearly everyone has a plan and a motive, pro or anti as you may be. Some simply want more business, more wealth or more power. Already there are some people aspiring for higher office in 2022. 3 Senators and a Congressman are seriously considering the Presidency or Vice Presidency. God forbid that the similarities between Marcos version 1 and version 2 are part of a wicked plan to stay in power, then we have clearly not learned our lesson and we will once again have to fight against corruption, greed and political abuse. I personally take comfort and assurance that while men may plot and propose things to high heavens or the devil in the deep blue sea, it is God who ultimately decides and disposes. In that light let’s all start praying for the nation because in the end it was all our prayers that resulted in the removal of Marcos version 1 and a bloodless revolution.

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Email: utalk2ctalk@gmail.com

JESUS CHRIST
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