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A victory of a thousand tales

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IT SHOULD easily make it to the Guinness Book of World Record, if not top it, as one of the world’s strange stories in our time.

More than three decades ago, the span of a generation, the Filipino nation gave the rudest send-off to a disdained powerful leader who woke up one summer day that he had lost it. The “miracle” forced an aging dictator ,who had overstayed his welcome, into exile as an international pariah whose regime was marked by repression, corruption, cronyism and an iron-fist rule.

We emerged way back when as the darling of the democratic world. It was euphoria like a fairy tale. It was a time like no other, depending on whose version you listen to, or facts.

It could have been worse for the Marcos family were it not for their timely flight out to Hawaii by the US air force. To their credit, the majority of about 30 million Filipinos that is, did it peacefully in what is now popularly heralded as the EDSA People Power Revolution, an historical aberration – or an historical oxymoron if you will. The Philippines became the toss of the democratic world and inspired other nations similarly, not identically, situated to break their own shackles.

Alas and alack, thirty six years after, the only son of the dictator was restored to power in an improbable comeback ,a grand, dizzying welcome fitting for a long, lost hero or the prodigal son minus the confession and apology. The majority did it – that is, the majority of the voting Filipinos of about 65 million, not the majority of the Philippine population of than 100 million. Less than 50 percent of them are the youth, extolled by Dr. Jose Rizal as the hope of the fatherland, or motherland. Well, even heroes are not perfect.

The national hero must be turning in his grave. More than a century ago, he saw the Filipino people rising from their proverbial stupor against the yoke of repression and colonialism. In way, the first EDSA probably fulfilled that,. But only partly. The mind-boggling result of the recent presidential election, including the senatorial race, stood Rizal’s prescience on its head. Tragedy and farce, only in the Philippines.

Once upon a time, when the erstwhile despot lorded it over his people, it was said that the Philippines then was ruled by one SOB and some 30 million nincompoops. Today, things have apparently not changed.

How did they do it?

First off, the devil is in the social media. As early as the 2014, so social media experts here and abroad agree, the Marcoses and their ilk have been on the genie’s platform to rewrite Philippine history during the dictator’s watch. Former Sen. President Tito Sotto, who just had a rude awakening on his real political clout, was incredulous: how could history be rewritten?

There is Carlos Santayana, for one, who warned a long time ago that those who forget the past, wittingly or unwittingly like Sotto, are condemned to reenact it. There is Winston Churchill, of the famous “blood, sweat and tears” line, to whom it is attributed the oft-mentioned quip that history is written by the victors.

There was the shutdown of the ABS-CBN network and the virus plague that locked down the nation for three years. As a result, the floodgates for fake news and disinformation broke down dams, newspaper circulation dramatically dropped and truth became the first casualty as the nation was told of “wars” in many fronts. Diversion became the direction, so people looked the other way.

Give some credit to the outgoing predecessor of the dictator’s son for helping pave the way for his return to Malacanang. He complimented the massive disinformation campaign on social media by allowing the interment of Marcos Sr. at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani. The memorial is the message. On the flipside, Duterte also demonized the “yellow” opposition and continually denigrated its symbolic leader, Vice President Leni Robredo. The color is the curse.

The BBM-Sara team has also been empowered by two former presidents, not exactly political paragons, senators, congressmen, governors, mayors and other local government officials who would have easily flunked the Ceazar’s wife test. The incoming administration can,therefore, boast of “two of its kind” in its genesis like two Arroyos, two Villars, two Cayetanos and two Estradas plus four stooges from the entertainment industry now in the House of the Uncommon.

Like a poison brew, the combined power of dynasties, crookedness, lies and corruption was too much for the vulnerable folks who were lied to about the past and hoodwinked about the future.

In the new administration, the Filipino people can expect either one of two things: a repeat of the so-called ‘golden age” that Marcos Jr. tried hard to sell and succeeded like a snake’s oil salesman. It will be the age of cheap rice, financial windfall and other manna for the poor after the election. Good luck, Philippines.

Or it will be a repeat of a dark time in Philippine history when thousands died or disappeared, an economy greatly in ruins, democracy in shambles, corruption at its worst ,and poverty never been as bad as it had been before. Tough luck, Philippines. Cassius of Rome warned about that in Ceazar’s time. That’s the future that awaits the nation: true or false. It’s a tangled web, according to the poet Sir Walter Scott, when at first people started to deceive, others or themselves.

The Amanpulo Island, so the word goes around, has been booked by the victors of the recent political exercise for their victory party. What did you expect, Tonto, a boodle fight in Baseco,Tondo, whose favorite son is probably grinning devilishly ear to ear all the way to the bank from excess financial contribution to his campaign chest? Legal is not moral, non sequitur.

When all is said and done, the losers will be licking their wounds for a long time to come – at least six years—while the victors will be counting their windfalls for a much a longer period beyond six years. Hopefully not forever, unless Rizal’s prediction of the Filipinos’ rightful indignation rising at the speed of the internet comes along and give modern-day liars a kick in the butt once more. Another EDSA?

But wait: the latest breaking news is that Malacanang’s historical website, which contains fast facts on the Marcos martial regime, was down last Monday. The devil doesn’t rest, St. Peter said so.

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