Recently, the Marcos specter started to manifest itself more strongly–the dictator’s family is evidently emboldened by the victory of Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. in the Senate during the last 2010 senatorial race. There is a basis to ring the anti-dictatorship alarm.
Though 2016 is still far away, there is already enough basis to say that Marcos, Jr. is eyeing a presidential bid. In fact, the family is resurrecting the old ties with regional Marcos henchmen, consolidating the Marcos political machinery throughout the country, surreptitiously bringing back a big chunk of their huge stolen hoard, and buying or bullying their way to political influence in various vote-rich regions and key sectors, including the mass media. It is also not an accident that he has discarded his erstwhile silence and gone on offensive on popular issues where the Aquino government is vulnerable.
Marcos would have been just another politician with presidential ambitions if not for the family’s and his own unsavory historical record. The father, dictator Marcos, was responsible for the involuntary disappearance of hundreds of Filipinos, the summary execution of thousands, the torture of tens of thousands, and the incarceration or arrest of hundreds of thousands more. He ruled the most corrupt regime in this land for almost 21 years, 13 years of which was under a fascist dictatorial rule. The 1986 people power put an end to the Marcos dictatorship.
Why then the Marcos resurgence? The answer lies partly in the present demographics. The majority of the present Filipino population (including citizen-voters) were born after 1986. Most of them simply do not have the race memory on the bitter Marcos experience. The other factors are the dearth of educational initiatives to teach the historical lessons from the Marcos martial rule; the Marcos media initiatives to re-tell history, propagate the myth of a Marcos economic paradise, and even invent a Marcos idol image; the resurgent political power of the erstwhile Marcos political allies and supporters among the traditional politicians; and the disunity, errors, or non-action by those who fought the Marcos dictatorship.
What we are facing today is an unremorseful Marcos family bent on vengeance, with a huge, unrecovered stolen warchest in the tens of billions of dollars, and who thinks that the time has arrived for a comeback. What is still lacking, from its perspective, are the political and armed machinery for the comeback as well as the national political stature of the Marcos scion for a presidential bid.
The House resolution for the burying of the Marcos remains in the Libingan ng mga Bayani and the AFP hierarchy’s enthronement of Marcos on a lame excuse of his having a questionable Medal of Valor are tests of the family’s current political clout.
Of course, the Marcos family can rejoin the democratic fold. The guilty among them can sincerely apologize and make amends to the Filipino nation and people, as well as to their victims during the Marcos dictatorial rule. The innocents can recognize the plague that Ferdinand Marcos brought on our land and likewise sincerely apologize and promise never to take the path of the father.
However, there is as yet no remorse in the Marcos family. All democratic forces who fought the Marcos dictatorship are called upon to once again unite and consolidate the democratic ranks. Let us prepare for the coming political battle. Marcos has already thrown the gauntlet; we are constrained to pick it up. No remorse.