A Bitter Pill to Swallow



The recent decision by the Philippine Supreme Court to dismiss for lack of merit the election protest filed by former senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos against Vice President Leni Robredo was a big blow to the son and namesake of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.


Had the Supreme Court sided with Bongbong, he would have been a heartbeat closer to becoming the next president of the Philippines – an open secret that his mother, Imelda Marcos, does not deny.


After a politically imposed exile in Hawaii as a result of the 1986 People’s Revolution, the Marcoses have been back to redeem themselves and build on what they describe as the “golden years” of the Marcos dictatorship. All this is designed to revive the political dynasty of the Marcoses.


Prior to the Supreme Court’s monumental decision, destiny appeared to be in Bongbong’s favor. President Rodrigo ‘Digong’ Duterte promised to resign if Bongbong won the electoral protest and became vice president. It’s like giving Bongbong the presidency on a silver platter.


But in politics destiny is never shaped by one person. There’s always a higher force at play and in Bongbong’s case, it’s the Supreme Court.


With Digong’s promise of resignation, Bongbong probably believed that the hand of destiny is on his side. It is as if Digong, who appears to be in poor health, is aligning the planets and the stars to make Bongbong’s presidential ambition become a reality.


Even Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque intimated in the past that Digong would make true of his promise to resign if Bongbong wins the vice presidency because he is “better qualified to succeed him.” The obvious implication is Leni Robredo is not.


But destiny can also be cruel. Bongbong lost his case against Robredo and Digong’s ignominious plan was stricken by the gods.


The Supreme Court’s decision must have been a bitter pill to swallow for both Digong and Bongbong


What happened just confirms the truism that nothing good comes out of a self-serving deal.


But Bongbong is not about to take his defeat sitting down. Like the ambitious Julius Caesar who wanted to be the sole monarch of the Roman World, Bongbong sees himself as the logical bet who can give the presidency back to the Marcoses.


It didn’t take long after the verdict on Bongbong’s electoral protest was handed down for the camp of Bongbong to confirm his plan to run in the 2022 national elections.


Bongbong’s plan to run for a national position, whether as a president or vice president, will most definitely revive the debate on martial law and will most likely bring to the fore the atrocities committed by his father. It will also bring to light the kind of politician Bongbong is that the Filipinos ought to know.


Last year, Bongbong sought to revise textbooks and change what he claimed to be lies about his late father, citing as basis court decisions that dismissed ill-gotten wealth cases against him.


The problem with Bongbong is he continues to suffer from “selective memory,” where he deliberately remembers what he wants to remember and forgets what he wants to forget. That’s when reckless imprudence becomes the norm, resulting in more forgetfulness.


It appears that he has forgotten that the Swiss Federal Supreme Court affirmed that the Marcoses hid $356 million in Swiss banks through dubious foundations during their two-decade rule.


It also appears that he has deliberately forgotten that the Sandiganbayan (special court that tries offenses by government employees) found his mom, Imelda Marcos, guilty of 7 counts of violating an anti-corruption law when she illegally funneled about $200 million to Swiss foundations as Metropolitan Manila governor and where her children were named as beneficiaries.


Also, according to source documents provided by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), the Marcos family stole US$5-10 billion from the government coffers.


Has Bongbong also forgotten the documented human rights violations during the martial law years numbering around 100,000, including torturing, salvaging, and forced disappearances?


I see Bongbong’s recent attempt to revise textbooks as a way of changing history by erasing the horrific martial law years from the consciousness of the Filipinos. This could very well be a part of his strategy as he prepares to run for a national position in less than two years.


By refusing to accept the truth, Bongbong wants to ensure that a sizeable segment of Filipinos will believe him and vote for him.


Bongbong’s continuous denial of his father’s transgressions is what makes me view him as a threat to democracy precisely because of his attempts to sanitize the truth.


It does not make any sense to vote for someone who believes his own lies.