Get real
Philippine Daily Inquirer, 19 November 2016


Like a thief in the night, the burial of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos took us all by surprise.  Even the people in Ilocos Norte, or at least the correspondent I heard on TV, said the first inkling that something may be happening was that a helicopter or helicopters had landed near or at Imee Marcos’ residence early Friday morning.

I am in Subic, and when I heard the news, a wave of helplessness swept over me. I had made a vow that he would be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani only over my dead body; I expected to be standing before the gates of the cemetery blocking the cortege bearing Marcos’ remains until it ran me over or until the cowardly military or police would shoot me or drag me away.  Instead, I was 130 kilometers away, with no chance to get back and take my stand in time.

That’s the way it goes.  The military authorities were told of the affair only at 5 p.m. on Thursday.  And the military spokesperson couldn’t even say when the public could visit the site, because, as he said, he had to hear from the Marcoses first. Even if, according to him, the public is allowed. Can you imagine? The military runs the Libingan, but it takes orders from the Marcoses.

But all this is part of a historical pattern that displays Marcos’ penchant for thievery.  He stole our democracy—after having served as president for eight years; he decided to grab the reins of power for another 13 years. Not content with a total of 21 years, he attempted to steal the presidency from Cory Aquino, until the Filipino people took over, aided by the Armed Forces, and he was forcibly removed from office.

Aside from stealing our democracy, he stole the lives of at least 3,000 people, and the human rights of even more.  The extrajudicial killings we have been experiencing are in part attributable to the Marcosian use of violence to suppress the people and his opponents, which the military and police have mimicked.

He stole our future, as evidenced by the difference in per capita income between the Philippines and its neighbors. The Philippines used to have higher per capita incomes compared to other countries like Indonesia, Thailand, India, China, etc., in 1960.  By 1986, we were behind them.

And, of course, related to this was the fact that he stole from us an estimated $10 billion—about P500 billion at current exchange rates, or roughly P5,000 from each and every one of us.

Yet, the Supreme Court, or nine of the injustices, considered these venial sins, and of course, President Du30 says that there is no law that prohibits the burial of Marcos in the Libingan. They must be blind, deaf and dumb. Or rather, they are playing blind, deaf and dumb, which may be even worse.

The thief-in-the-night allusion may have pushed other issues aside, but it cannot be allowed.  Another picture is too strong, however, to be overcome: that of three powerful men, maybe more, ganging up on one woman. It is not a pretty sight: President Duterte and two of his henchmen, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre and Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, all taking punches at Sen. Leila de Lima.

In my TV show, De Lima spoke for the first time about her private life, which she had jealously guarded, as was her right. No problem.

But the next day, Aguirre crowed that she had practically signed her own death warrant (my words) because her admission of a relationship with Ronnie Dayan was tantamount to admitting that she was in the drug business, because of course Dayan was in the drug business. Huh?

Not to be outdone, Panelo came out and said that she should resign from the Senate because of her immorality, and that she could even be disbarred, or words to that effect. Come again? Using that standard, maybe 50 percent of officials should resign, including his boss.

Of course, we know that these are just repetitions of what their boss says. Even if he has been proven wrong time and again. Picking on her. Three against one, and maybe more. Without a whit of evidence, except for the testimonies of convicts. You should be ashamed of yourselves.