‘Plunderers’ unite for ‘A-Dik’– more of same bad gov’t

GOTCHA - Jarius Bondoc - The Philippine Star

"Plunderers support A-Dik (Anak ng Diktador)!” netizens instantly judged the news. Families and parties of three Philippine presidents have coalesced for Bongbong Marcos. They are associated with plunder. BBM is the junior of deposed plundering dictator Ferdinand Marcos. He has to live down the accusation of cocaine addiction by frenemy Rodrigo Duterte.

One party is Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats, taken from founders by ex-president and congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. She was once indicted and detained in hospital for P366-million plunder of sweepstakes funds. Linked as well to $200-million kickback in the $329-million NBN-ZTE scam.

Former Lakas-CMD head is Senator Bong Revilla, indicted, jailed but exonerated of pork barrel plunder and 16 counts of graft. He defies the court order to return P125 million. Present head is BBM’s cousin Rep. Martin Romualdez. His father Kokoy Romualdez, deceased, had been indicted 24 times for graft and tax evasion, which prescribed when the Supreme Court counted his fugitive years in America. His alleged loot remains unrecovered.

Another is Partido ng Masa of ex-president Joseph Estrada. “Erap” was convicted of P130-million tobacco tax plunder and P4-billion “jueteng” bribery, then pardoned by Arroyo. Son ex-senator Jinggoy Estrada was indicted twice for plunder: First with his father in 2001, then for P184-million pork barrel in 2014. Absolved of both, Jinggoy swung the party for BBM.

BBM is the standard-bearer of Partido Federal Pilipinas. In 2001 he was convicted for tax evasion in 1982-1985 while Ilocos vice-governor then governor. It’s unclear if he has paid the deficiencies, surcharges and P2,000 fine for each of the first three years and P30,000 for 1985. Turning adult three years after his father imposed murderous martial law in 1972, BBM benefited from his parents’ plunder. On their instruction he moved secret Swiss bank deposits while in post-ouster exile in Hawaii, 1986-1989. His mother Imelda Romualdez Marcos, once congresswoman and governor, was convicted in 2018 of seven counts of graft for the multibillion-dollar stash and other illegal wealth. Appealing the sentence, she has yet to serve 42 years in prison. BBM’s son, sister and other kin also hold public office.

Completing the alliance is Hugpong ng Pagbabago, led by presidential daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio before becoming Lakas-CMD chairwoman. Sara recently said of Election 2022: “Walang isang kandidato diyan na hindi nagsisinungaling, kaya hindi dapat nagiging issue ang honesty ngayon.”

They all swap public positions with offspring, spouses and siblings – in breach of the Constitution’s ban on political dynasties.

Sara’s father, President Duterte, has love-hate for the Marcoses. He once recounted that his late mother was an anti-Dictator Marcos activist and he would never defile her memory. Yet five months into his term, he buried Marcos with full honors at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. He also admitted that the Marcoses were first to support his 2016 presidential bid, and that he had preferred BBM as VP then.

Now Duterte derides BBM for making Sara mere VP running mate despite leading all the surveys. Aside from “addict sa cocaine,” he calls BBM a “weak leader” and “nonperformer.”

BBM avoids direct clash. Online trolls do the retaliating, that it’s Duterte who thrice has admitted “getting high” and being “on cloud nine” by purposely overdosing on the opioid painkiller Fentanyl.

With Bong Go’s withdrawal, Duterte is left with no presidential bet. Murmurs are that he would now reconsider BBM or Isko Moreno, whom he has denigrated as “callboy.” Anointment by Duterte would be a “kiss of death” since it would mean continuance – “more of the same incompetent, corrupt, brutal government.” Sara is being portrayed as “a different Duterte.”

Moreno says he’d “welcome” Duterte’s endorsement. He seems oblivious to falling popularity ratings due to tirades against Leni Robredo.

Like BBM, none of the coalesced dynasts has spoken against Communist China’s sea aggression. China’s recent water-cannoning of a wooden Filipino boat resupplying Marines at Ayungin Shoal has incited public outrage. Lawmakers have denounced Beijing’s insistence that Manila remove the soldiers and the beached ship-outpost BRP Sierra Madre. Even Duterte is feigning anger with the bullying – although disbelieved because of his five-and-a-half years of fawning to Beijing.

BBM, Sara and allies are marked as Manchurian Candidates. In 2016 the MC was Duterte, proved by his “verbal pact” with President Xi Jinping for Chinese to fish in Philippine exclusive waters, and bashing of Manila’s arbitral victory as “trash paper.”

In an October survey, eight in ten Filipinos want the next president to resist China. It’s becoming clear to voters that the issue in Election 2022 is “Filipinos versus the plundering, dynastic Manchurian Candidates.”

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Catch Sapol radio show, Saturdays, 8 to 10 a.m., DWIZ (882-AM).

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