Vindicating the Marcos name

It’s Friday the 13th after the presidential election. To many who are unhappy with the results, the travails of the last campaign still hound and torment them. When one has given his heart and soul to make his or her candidate win, defeat is a bitter pill to swallow. Losing is one thing; getting steamrolled is another. Buoyed up by the massive record attendance at VP Leni’s campaign rallies, it was hard to accept the one-sided early returns fed on TV screens. 

One wondered if they were all coming from Ilocos and Davao. But as more and more results were pouring in, a clear trend, maybe the better term is avalanche, was established. This time, VP Leni’s supporters went to sleep without expecting any pleasant surprise when they woke up just like in 2016. The lead widened and became insurmountable overnight. It was a total juggernaut. BBM’s landslide victory leaves no doubt that he was the overwhelming choice of the people. It merely confirms what the pre-election surveys have been telling us all the time—that BBM was miles ahead of his opponents. All the poll surveys were consistent in claiming that BBM votes would exceed the combined votes of all his nine rivals for the presidency. With over 98 percent of the votes covered by the early count, although they are still unofficial, it would seem that BBM has replicated his father’s feat in 1969 when Ferdinand, Sr. walloped Serging Osmena, Jr. and was installed as the last majority-elected president until this presidential election. The people have spoken decisively. Barring any massive cheating or fraud, the results should be respected if we want a closure to this electoral contest. We cannot be engaging in politics forever and constantly cutting each other’s throat. This is the time to cast aside partisanship and move forward as one nation. 

Let’s not deny the fact that the Marcos-Duterte tandem ran a smart campaign. BBM had a clear campaign strategy—Unity. It was a well-chosen tagline, which elevated his campaign to a high moral ground. It was a built-in shield against licit condemnation of his family’s wrongdoings and his lack of experience, leadership and personal qualifications. And he was very disciplined, ignoring disparaging attacks against his person and conducted himself above the fray by deploying his troll farm as his attack dogs instead of personally going down the gutter in retort. He refused to join the debates where he would open himself up to questions and expose his vulnerabilities to his opponents and the public. He only accepted interviews by “friendly” hosts and “hospitable” stations. During the campaign, BBM personified the old adage that “less talk, less mistake; no talk, no mistake.” BBM obviously lost some points here but the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. His campaign was most organized and well funded. Logistics was not a problem. Unlike most of his adversaries, looking for funds did not distract him from looking for votes. His campaign was awashed with cash. The Marcoses showed extraordinary grit and determination to recover their lost glory. Their efforts to recapture Malacañang began as soon as they stepped back into the country after years of exile. First it was former First Lady Imelda Marcos who attempted to seek the presidency in 1992, but it was a crowded contest that split the votes of the anti-Cory elements. Furthermore, supporters of the deposed president, Ferdinand E. Marcos, was divided between Imelda and Danding Cojuangco who did not give way to Imelda. Fidel Ramos was elected with a slim margin and the smallest winning plurality votes of 23 percent. Obviously, the Marcoses learned from that experience. Initially, BBM ran for local elective positions in his home province of Ilocos Norte—a safe and secured political haven where he and his sibling virtually ran unopposed. Meanwhile, as the only direct male heir of the late dictator, it was obvious that BBM would be groomed to follow his father’s political odyssey and to regain their lost prestige. BBM ran for the Senate in 1995 but he only placed 16th. The winning 12 were mostly from the Lakas-Laban Party of President Fidel Ramos who was enjoying tremendous popularity at that time and they included GMA, Raul Roco, Ramon Magsaysay Jr. Franklin Drilon, Juan Flavier, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Serge Osmeña, Francisco Tatad, Gringo Honasan, Marcelo Fernan, Juan Ponce Enrile and Dominique Coseteng. Even Ramon Mitra Jr., Rodolfo Biazon and Arturo Tolentino lost in that election. The Marcoses realized that it was not yet their time and they needed to refurbish their image to enhance their public appeal. Revising the dark years of martial law became a priority to deodorize the Marcos brand. A massive and highly organized social-media campaign had selectively highlighted the few positive aspects of the Marcos regime. Then they tested the waters again in 2010 when BBM ran for senator. This time he landed No. 7 in a tough field, which included favored reelectionists and three popular actors—Ramon Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada and Lito Lapid. The BBM senatorial triumph confirmed that the Marcos name had regained its national following and they were now ready to go for the bigger plum—the vice presidency. But he was opposed by a candidate who stood for everything that BBM was not—an honest, hardworking public servant, oozing with unassailable integrity. Now they know who would be the stumbling block that could foil their efforts to achieve, in the words of the late Senator Jovito Salonga when he was the Chairman of the PCGG, a “reconciliation with the Filipino people without really coming to terms with the enormity of the wrongs they had committed while in power.” He protested VP Leni’s victory until the very end and refused to acknowledge her victory despite the Court’s decision upholding her win. And study had shown that VP Leni Robredo had become the object of disinformation and vicious propaganda, which had hounded her during the entire campaign. In 2022, they ensured that they got the support of Presidents Arroyo, Estrada and Duterte, through his daughter Mayor Sara, and all the prominent political clans in the country. It’s the biggest alignment of political forces behind a powerful and moneyed candidate who is the son of the longest serving president of our Republic. It’s the complete consolidation of political power from the North to the South and from the East to the West.    

Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will be our 17th President. Great power comes with great responsibility. Almost 6 decades ago, a man entrusted with the same position said on his inaugural address: “This nation can be great again. This I have said over and over. It’s my article of faith, and Divine Providence has willed that you and I can now translate this faith into deeds. I have repeatedly told you: each generation writes its own history. Our forebears have written theirs. With fortitude and excellence we must write ours.” Big words from the namesake of our presumptive president, BBM. The torch has been passed from the father to his only son who has now the burden to deliver his father’s unfulfilled promises. After claiming victory in the May 9 polls, BBM visited his father’s graveyard and said: “To the world, judge me not by my ancestors, but by my actions.” BBM can do no less if he wants to unite our people, heal our nation’s wounds and, most of all, vindicate the Marcos name.