Marcos, not governance, as the central issue
By Ermin Garcia Jr.
IN my book, the 2022 elections were perhaps the next most stressful and emotional political event in the country, next to the 1986 People Power. The level of partisanship this year hit the roof, and the common factor in both was about the Marcoses.
In 1986, the dramatic end result was the overthrow of President Ferdinand Marcos. Today, it is the election of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as the 17th president.
What was palpable this year was the resolve and effort to continue the 1986 agenda – to stop Marcos. But it failed, big time!
That shocked those that followed the Marcos era in the 70s-80s marked by reports of plunder, dictatorial polices and violence. They were naturally enraged by the 360 degrees turnaround in the nation’s direction. Worse, BBM turned out to be the first majority president in the country’s political history.
“How could this happen?” came the chorus. Indeed, how and why?
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ANTI-MARCOS NARRATIVE. What went wrong initially was the failure of the anti-Marcos elements to calibrate their decades-old narrative – the Marcoses are evil and corrupt – to align with the unchallenged liberal thoughts of today’s generation and to acknowledge the pervasive economic impact of past political leadership.
The first hint of resistance towards the old narrative already became evident in 2016 with the election of a brash, foul-mouthed City Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte, not a current or former senator, vice president or cabinet secretary. But this was ignored.
The narrative stayed while ignoring the fact that voters who were born after 1986 found it difficult to relate the horrid stories of the Marcos ghost to a charming, soft-spoken man who “selflessly” offers to unite a fragmented nation, to raise the living standards of those battling poverty daily whose conditions turned from bad to worse because of the pandemic.
Then the anti-Marcos forces validated the victim card of BBM, that he was cheated of the vice presidency, when VP Leni declared that her running for the presidency was solely motivated by the agenda to stop BBM anew. Aren’t we, Pinoys, known for being suckers for the underdog?
And while the anti-Marcos forces sat back, confident of another setback for BBM after the Supreme Court decided it their favor, the driven BBM toured provinces, cities, with his sob story of being deprived and cheated without fanfare while effectively staying clear out of the anti-Marcos biggies’ radar.
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CLUELESS. What went wrong, again?
The anti-Marcos forces also thought nothing of the time the Aquino yellow brand was rejected pointedly with the election of Duterte. Even the junking of the Ocho Derecho team in 2019 didn’t raise a major alarm. Instead, the anti-Marcos forces misread it merely as a brand issue: Aquino’s yellow recalls the failed administration of the Aquinos’ rule. And voila, VP Leni’s Pink battalion of “reformers” was born.
They decided on the color change but the template of the yellow card was retained. They were still clueless.
So the narrative was still about them, the elite and the educated as the protectors, the staunch support of the bishops and the visuals of “pray-overs” to signify God’s support for His chosen people, publicity of support from Fil-Ams, etc. The regular vilification of President-Mayor Duterte, did little to endear them to the millions being bombarded with snippets of how evil the Marcoses were.
The simmering exchange of bashing on social media between “pink” and “red” loyalists about the Marcoses further fanned the victim card. It was a downhill battle since but the Pinks stayed with its template.
Moving forward, the worst that the anti-Marcos forces can do to themselves today is to pursue a plot to overthrow BBM, with the same template they adopted in their vain attempts to overthrow Duterte since 2016, with VP Leni, again as their point person.
If they do, they should expect more upsetting emotional issues coming up.
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PING AND MANNY. My only regret in this year’s election was seeing the Marcos issue the central issue in the campaign, and the discussion of major economic, social and health issues was largely ignored.
There were Sen. Ping Lacson (for president) and Manny S.D. Lopez (for vice president) who tried to engage voters in the discussion of their economic and social platform but these did not interest the voters. Most were tuned in to what both Marcos Red and Robredo Pink, and Pacquiao camps, were up to and were prepared to dole out.
I can’t blame Mr. Lacson for finally deciding to forego any future political engagement. It has been a very frustrating, uphill fight trying to right the wrong in the country’s system, from pursuing a national ID system to compulsory registration of all sim cards, to fully digitalizing transactions at the Burau of Customs, to eliminating the pork barrel, to imposing a higher degree of discipline among men and women in uniform, to fast-track economic development in the countryside as a the antidote to communist terrorism, to cite a few. Sayang.
Then, if President-elect BBM cares to read Manny Lopez’s recommendations, he would find doable solutions to address his major concerns in his first 100 days. In fact, Manny would make an ideal Trade Secretary after the ban on his possible appointment is lifted.
Meanwhile, I would like to yield this space to his final statement on the elections:
“The recently concluded May 9, 2022 national and local elections is far from perfect and could be best described as ” mongrel democracy “. And it is incumbent upon us the better informed and more discerning Filipino electorates to sustain our collective efforts towards a more perfect democracy: to build a strong, just and progressive nation.
The starting point of this long process of nation building is to respect the “will of the people “, regardless of the circumstances that brought about its temporary conclusion. We simply have to do better and continue the course of constructive engagement in the next elections. Our relentless pursuit for real change and reform to mitigate the systemic and cultural flaws within the constitutionally mandated democratic space will eventually manifest itself in higher quality leadership and governance.
Accordingly, we must collectively engage the duly elected national and local leaderships by supporting policies and programs of action aligned with public interest and people’s welfare. Oppose what is not right and unjust self-serving policies that are contrary to the broader interest and welfare of our people. This we must initiate in the hope of transforming the Republic of the Philippines into a better nation.
Irresponsible opposition and destructive radicalism will only exacerbate the socioeconomic and political plight we are facing as a people. Let’s exercise constructive and responsible citizenship i.e. leadership to make life better for all Filipinos, specially in this time of unprecedented global crisis.
Mabuhay ang Sambayanang Pilipino! God bless the Philippines.
MANNY SD LOPEZ
Vice Presidential Candidate,
Labor Party Philippines
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