Two Macapagals, two Marcoses, two Aquinos, one Erap, and one Duterte

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Josephus Jimenez - The Freeman

As we contemplate on the events in February of 1986 that changed the course of Philippine history, we recall with some tinge of nostalgia that this country could have risen higher in economic progress, social development, and political stability, if not for some family dynasties which seem to claim primacy over the rest of the Filipinos by the mere power of their names.

The first Macapagal president was a highly-competent, truly honest, and well-intentioned man. Diosdado Pangan Macapagal, the poor boy from Lubao, Pampanga, was the son of a peasant family in the periphery of the Central Plains of Luzon. But he was gifted with a sharp mind, a pure heart, and a work ethic of hard work, perseverance, and commitment to duty. He was supported by a philanthropist from his province who saw in him a bright future. He topped the Bar exams, became a congressman, vice president and, as the Liberal Party official candidate in 1961, defeated the incumbent, then president Carlos Polistico Garcia, a Nacionalista from Talibon, Bohol. We cannot, for the life of us, say the same glowing admiration of president DM about his daughter GMA, who is best remembered for the “Hello, Garci” imbroglio.

The first Marcos president was a brilliant man, a powerful orator, and an expert parliamentarian. He was an outstanding congressman and a great senator and Senate president. He was given a standing ovation by the joint session of the US Congress when he impressed the 100 American senators and 435 congressmen as well as the American vice president who presided over the US Senate. Ferdinand Marcos Sr. delivered his speech extemporaneously and he regaled the US solons by his mastery of history and geography. The father of the current president also spoke before the United Nations General Assembly and the whole assembly stood in awe at the power of his oratory and his mastery of geopolitics,

FM Sr.'s first term from 1965 to 1969 was a golden era of infrastructure development and social services. But due to the dirt and dishonesty of the 1969 presidential polls and his malevolent efforts to stay in power when he declared martial law in 1972, he obliterated all the good things that he accomplished. Thousands were arrested and jailed without charges, including this writer. Many died and a large number disappeared and have not been accounted for until today. The return of the Marcoses after their overthrow in 1986 is the best evidence that Filipinos never learn from history. I refuse to comment on PBBM in the interest of my own peace of mind but many of us know the real score.

The first Aquino president was pure, unblemished, and was in good faith, but lacked preparation to lead a nation too broken and much devastated. Her son had the competence but did not have her heart, her spirit, and her soul. Both mother and son were manipulated by the powers around them and they did not have the ability to steer away from vested interests. That is why the son was succeeded by a provinciano who had strong bias against Imperial Manila and governed the nation as if he was still a city mayor. He made a lot of promises and his anger against the establishment resonated with many who had always been marginalized. But PRRD was not astute enough to fulfill all his grandiose promises. He only succeeded when the Three Musketeers became senators, Bato, Bong, and Robinhood.

Erap was the one who made people laugh even if they knew that they were being taken for a ride. His popularity saw the senatorial stints of his wife Dr, Loi, his lookalike son, Jinggoy, and the other one, the good one, JV. Maybe these were his only accomplishments. But people love him, the masses adore him.

That speaks a lot about what kind of people we are. Our character is reflected by the kind of leaders we put in power. We put the most controversial characters in the Palace and then blame God for our poverty, the corruption in government, the crimes and insecurity of the state and all woes, when we are the ones guilty of anointing questionable people to lead our nation.

vuukle comment


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with