Never again

BREAKTHROUGH - Elfren S. Cruz - The Philippine Star

It seems that in every presidential election the Philippines has had since 1992, there is always talk of a Marcos restoration. It seems that the Marcos family has never given up their obsession with power and the nightmarish scenario of another Marcos in Malacañang.

It began with the former beauty queen and first lady Imelda running for president in 1992 and losing in the election. Thirty years later, there are again talks of another family member running.

There have, therefore, been several attempts for a Marcos restoration. Each attempt is, of course, expensive; but this is a family that apparently never runs out of the resources for such enterprises.

One would hope that this family would generously place their funds in a foundation and spend their lifetime trying to help their fellow men – like a Rockefeller or a Ford or a Bill Gates. This would be the best way to make their family name become truly admired and respected. Instead, it seems that this is a family who intends to stay in politics for generations to come. Already a new generation (third or fourth?) is planning to run for different positions nationally and in their home province.

President Corazon Aquino has warned the nation about this obsession for restoration under different presidents in the past. Her speeches have remained relevant and should serve as a warning and a rallying call for the Filipino people.

Here are excerpts from Cory’s speech on Aug. 20, 1999 when she felt that there was a move to change the Constitution which was suspected as paving the way for a Marcos restoration.

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

“… 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. We are told, ‘Be not afraid of breaking loose from the past.’ … we are afraid of the past breaking loose in the present with a Marcos restoration. …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 finger 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.

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

“We are told to forgive and forget. Surely, one understands why it is extremely difficult for us to just forgive and forget such deep wrongs done to our country…

“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.”

Twenty-two years after this speech was delivered, the Marcos heirs are on the verge of seeking another return. They have somehow arrived at the conclusion that the Philippines is dreaming of a restoration. They have used the resources at their disposal, they have continued a campaign for revisions in the history of the Philippines. It is fortunate that there are several schools, writers and organizations that have dedicated themselves to keep the real truths of the dictatorship alive and the youth are exposed to the abuses and tortures of martial law.

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

The struggle to stop a Marcos restoration is the same as the struggle to defend democracy. It must never end and its defenders must never allow their vigilance to rest.

The message to a return to Marcos rule and martial law is simple: Never again!

*      *      *

A last September writing date: Sept. 25: Memoir writing for adults, 2-3:30 p.m. with Susan Lara. Contact writethingsph@gmail.com. 0945.2273216

Email: elfrencruz@gmail.com

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