Using the Marcos excuse

POINTILLISMS - Mike Acebedo Lopez (The Freeman) - July 26, 2014 - 12:00am

Never has Noynoy Aquino been in such a bind as the past month (since the eve of my birthday when the Supreme Court ruled on DAP's unconstitutionality), and never has his die-hard supporters been as defensive and as rabid as they are now, going out on a limb for their beleaguered cult leader who, finally, is having a dose of his own self-righteous medicine – a bitter pill his out of this world hubris so rightfully deserves.

In the face of several impeachment complaints filed (not limited to 'culpable violation of the constitution' and 'betrayal of public trust' that came with DAP), and finding himself in an eerily similar situation as former chief  justice Corona, who was successfully impeached mainly because of the very same mechanism that has put him in this tough spot, Aquino's minions have come out in full force, ever so determined to take the public's attention away from Aquino, to shield him from the controversy and any and all accountability.

While many have lost their patience toward the blame-game president, and even pro-Aquino columnists like Boo Chanco and Conrado de Quiros have since become critical, we still see a number of Aquino diehards fighting mighty hard to defend him on Facebook, in comment threads in online news articles, and in other social media.

One common strategy is what I have since called the "Marcos excuse." Suddenly, like it was the anniversary of Martial Law (but of course it isn't yet), they desperately shift focus to Marcos, to the distant past, that the abuse and corruption during that regime should never happen again (#NeverAgain), blah, blah, blah.

Way to go. What about the here and the now? They don't really care much about the gargantuan abuse of discretion and the monumental malversation of our public funds happening under our noses, why care about that when Marcos ruled with impunity more than three decades ago? Why care about the president's usurpation of the powers of the two other co-equal branches of government or his bribery of congress when Marcos declared Martial Law when majority of our young population wasn't yet born?

Of course, the abuses during that regime cannot be disputed and must not be forgotten. I am related to Mrs. Marcos (a paternal grandaunt of mine) and I've candidly told her on more than one occasion that they overstayed (21 years is simply too long in a democracy, that surely, that comes with an element of greed, lust for power, and messianic complex that only you are fit to govern), that her husband failed to control Ver and his military, and that maybe if he limited himself to the two terms he was allowed by the constitution at the time, he might've been remembered as the best president this country has ever had, known for his brilliance and notable infrastructure program unparalleled by any Filipino president save for Gloria Arroyo. Imelda would nod, perhaps deep inside she agreed.

But all that is in the realm of what ifs, all that is moot and academic. The fact is he overstayed and, despite his intelligence (and good faith?), he failed to control the military who rounded up leftist activists, many of whom, most regrettably, became collateral loss in the supposedly ideological warfare of the time.  

But you know what else is moot and academic? Marcos. While we learn from the harsh lessons of Martial Law, while we acknowledge his and his wife's achievements in infrastructure and in the advancement of culture and the arts, while we remember all those who became victims of torture and abuse of the regime, let us also allow ourselves to move on. Do not make Marcos an excuse for the abuses of the present, "that at least it's not like what happened during Martial Law," or some crappy justification for Noynoy doing what he's doing. If you don't like Marcos and his entire family, don't vote for Bongbong if he seeks higher office, teach your kids to do the same. But my golly, let's stick to the issues now.  NOW.  AT PRESENT. Ngayon. Karon. No ad hominems and no time machines, please.

Making Marcos's Martial Law an excuse, a diversionary tactic to shield Aquino is a great disservice to many a victim of that era whose memory you supposedly try to honor. Using their sacrifice is evil and manipulative. A horror story is unfolding before us, and yet some people still desperately focus on the past. No wonder we can never mature as an electorate and as a people, we don't ever like confronting the issues, asking or answering the hard questions, we always choose to escape to where we're comfortable, where it's convenient. Marcos is convenient. And the Noytards would have us think that because Marcos was bad, let's focus on him, never mind that who we have now is shaping up to be even worse.

Double-speak, hypocrisy, bribing congress, like the proverbial wolf in sheep's clothing, no one post-EDSA has corrupted the institutions as much as Cory's only son. Yes, Noynoy corrupts – absolutely.


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