Was Marcos a Hero?



Was Marcos a Hero? Does every sacred grain of sand deserve to lay upon his rest at the Libingan ng mga Bayani?
From a conformist point of view who wanted this country to move on like me, I guess the Supreme Court's decision has finally put this into an end. Nobody is above the Law ... so be it and suck on it!
From an emotional and historical standpoint, I believe this HERO thing-y will remain a subject for debate for generations to come. A sad predicament that will continue to haunt our seemingly alienated and divided nation.
Let me tell you a story from my own perspective. It maybe a little bit long so please bear with me. A lot of people may not care ... but for me ... this is some sort of my inverted eulogy to the greatest and most intelligent Filipino man who has ever lived that has brought forth tons of misery, false hopes and unequalled corruption to the people of the Philippines.
I was born in 1965, same time Marcos was elected President. In his re-election of 1969, I was more captivated and mesmerize in the Apollo Moon Landing and catching spiders than Marcos' unprecedented feat.
Then Martial Law came in 1972, the Bagong Lipunan song stuck like glue in my head that I can even sing it while standing at the back of my best friend's carabao or even while swimming in the then clear rivers of our barrio. (May bagong silang ... may bago ng buhay ... bagong bansa, bagong galaw .... sa bagong lipunan) ... Yeah!!!
We came from a family of public servants and our house was always filled with people from all walks of life since I can remember. My father was our town's Liberal Party chairman at the time Martial Law was declared. During the next days/months/years of iron hand rule, there were a lot of secret and not so secret meetings held in our house which has always brought tension and nervousness to my mother including my elder brother. Due to my very young age, it has somehow restricted my curiousity and inquisitiveness to ask my father on what the hell was going on! But what I really hate was the stench of tobacco during those brief and sometimes endless meetings.
Towards the end of 1977, it was a coming of age for me. General Teodulfo Bautista and his men were mercilessly massacred in Patikul, Sulu by the MNLF. I clearly still remember that gloomy day in October as we were all crying in the school lobby consoling our dear classmate Marlon, the general's son (AFP Chief of Staff Benjamin's brother). I then began to ask myself, why did our nation's leaders allowed such dreadful things to happen? On the other end at other peaceful parts of the country, the military and the police specially the constabulary seemed to be feared and acted like they run a prison cell all over the cities and towns where people are treated like captive or slaves they own.
Later in college, I've learned that Marcos has so corrupted the military during his entire reign that only men loyal to him are promoted, terms extended and held key vital positions in government and big corporations after retirement. I can understand that to stay in power, Marcos needed to have and sustain power ... and the military can provide him with the strength he needs to remain in power. Thus RAM or Reform the Arm Forces Movement was born! The beginning of the end I suppose.
On the consoling end, by watching Voltes V had somehow brought comfort and hope in my daily grinding exclusive-catholic-school-for- boys chores in my primary and secondary learning days. Then suddenly in 1978, the Great Apo Makoy cancelled the show! Now that's a lot of bull shit to take from this powerful man!
I had a number of taste of first time elections during Martial Law. From the time LABAN was formed in the 1978 Interim Batasang Pambansa elections (only Pusyon Bisaya of Hilario Davide won seats in Region VII), first Local Elections of 1980 (Nene Pimentel was the only opposition mayor elected), first Presidential Elections of 1981 (who the hell is Alejo Santos and Bartolome Cabangbang who went up against Marcos) and first Barangay Elections in 1982 (by the way Martial Law was lifted on paper in the beginning of 1981). Although I was a mere spectator during these block voting years where the opposition has no hope-no chance to win during elections; the speeches, the posters/leaflets, the chanting crowd and the catchy campaign jingles brought the sense of democrazy to my inexperienced mind. I also received a lot of pay envelopes, free ride and free food just to attend KBL rallies and inagurations. Talk about being corrupted at a very young age.
Oh and I almost forgot, there was a referrendum of 1973 ratifying the new constitution and asking everyone if you approve or dissaprove of continuing martial law. Of course the YES votes overwhelmingly won by 91% and sadly those national, local and barangay officials who failed to convincingly deliver the votes were replaced. These people who remained in power became the foundation of the Marcos Loyalists (plus the die hard North of course) ... national, local and barangay officials who have stayed in position without the fear of being replaced and without fear of abusing their powers to the end for a good number of years as long as you remain loyal to the Man. My God, I can even recite and memorize all department secretaries/ministers during those times because they were holding their post for so long. The Political Dynasties, Warlords and Clans were on the rise! If the Military was corrupt and abusive ... the national and local officials did not fall behind. Talk about how deep seated the Marcos Loyalist are!
I guess the Martial Law years were called the Golden Years (1972 to 1979 are the golden years) because it was peaceful and orderly. Peaceful because if you go up against or say something about the government, you either wind up dead or tortured or in prison. At that time, the government was not killing or torturing druglords, pushers and users but rather political leaders, student activists, human rights advocates and marginalized sector leaders. You can say that those times were orderly because Marcos was the only one making laws through executive orders, decrees instructions with no congress, no senate, no elections, no rights to further lift his grip throughout the land.
The start of mass migration to western countries also started in the Golden Years. Before, only apple and pineapple (plus orange and grape) pickers were leaving for the U.S. but in the 70's and 80's, managers, engineers, doctors, nurses and other professionals started leaving the country just to escape Marcos. The Government has now succeeded getting rid of the middle class ... the Thinking Class! Talk about staying power and long term solution to stay in power!
The Martial Law years were the Golden Years because a lot of infrastructures and lavish inagurations of big events were made in the country (thank you Imelda) even at the time where there is an existing oil and global financial crisis. Huge amount of fresh loans from the World Bank, IMF and the U.S. came in times fold because of the birth and prospects of the New Society! This time .... lets all give a big welcome the Cronies ... monopolizing, plundering and squandering until the last drop of penny is taken. Behest loans, failed economic programs, ghost projects, you name it the Cronies did it!
In layman terms, it would be like borrowing from a loan shark and spending it on new shoes. The Golden Years are the times you got the loan, bought the shoes and wore it. The downfall was the time you need to pay the loan or the interests but you realize you do not have the job or resources to pay it nor return the shoes because it is all worn out! Well at least you enjoyed the Golden Years (that is what the Loyalist are saying). I've seen a lot of these scenario with my fellow OFWs which makes me sad.
With no economy rising after the Golden Years, our blue collar workers also now started looking for work in the Middle East and other countries. Talk about double kill ... not only brain drain but this time brawn drain. The Philippines has now become a money order economy relying on remittances of its global workers and citizens while the Oligarghs, the Cronies, The Political Dynasties Marcos has created during the so called Golden Years remain with their political positions, big businesses and tremendous network that widened the gap between them the Elite Few and the rest of the Filipino people.
Then Ninoy was assassinated in 1983.... the rest is history. Maybe we need to rewrite history and stop celebrating EDSA.
Marcos was NEVER a hero, maybe on the arguments made by the Supreme Court he qualifies as a hero but with what he did to my country, my people and in my own perspective .... see you in Hell!!!
May you NOT rest in peace!!! Amen!!!


Henry Desiderio

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