Beyond Marcos

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    IT’S FLASHBACK February with all those reminiscences of the EDSA 1 days of disquiet and nights of rage.

    So let me indulge in my own recollections, not of the revolt itself, but of an earlier time – the protest-crazed immediate post-Aquino assassination period – in this piece bylined Carlos El. Guerrero published in the October 30-November 15, 1983 issue of The Voice.

    HISTORY
    and political science have always referred to authoritarian regimes and dictatorships as one-man rules. The fact, however, is far from that historical given. An authoritarian regime does not emanate from one, single individual alone. Rather, an interplay of some structures woven by that individual around himself gives life to his being a dictator.

    It is from that point of reference that I deem current events in the country should be viewed. The “Oust Marcos” campaigners are only half-right in seeking their end. And those who have made that cry the be-all and end-all of their movement; those who entertain thoughts that the ouster of Marcos would effect beautiful changes to the country – that everything would fall in its proper place as though by Divine Order, are as deluded as some members of the regime who still insist that all these mass actions are nothing but plain, simple, even childish, gimmickry.

    Simply driving Marcos out of the presidency will not solve the problem. It may even compound it. Another Marcos, not necessarily a kin but just one with Marcosian tendencies or even worse, can just fill the vacant slot.

    Personalities may come and go. But the dictator’s throne stays. So long as the structures that prop it up remain.

    So it is of prime necessity to dismantle all structures that support the dictatorship, either as a prelude or an afterlude to the ouster of Marcos. This will guarantee that there won’t be any Second Coming for the Marcos regime or any regime in such mould.

    First to do perhaps is to forget all about the Constitution of ’73 which we unwittingly ratified. Or were gypped to ratify. A return to the ’35 vintage would be alright but forging a new one more responsive to the times would even be better.

    What matters is that the concentration of powers in one man without the necessary checks and balances should be totally eradicated from any page of the Supreme Law of the land.

    A totally different Supreme Court – in composition, in temperament, in bent – should likewise evolve. What we have now is something that caters fi rst, foremost, and exclusively to the Supreme Ruler of the land.

    At least in one count, the nomenclature is fitting – the High Tribunal is the supreme court of the absolute ruler where jesters, pretenders, and other courtiers abound. The military has to revert to being an apolitical entity.

    The uniformed man’s loyalty to his commander-in-chief must end where his loyalty to the Republic begins. And he must be made to understand that the chief is not always the Republic he represents. To effect this would need the resignation of all the top brass in the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

    Then too must be put to a final and definitive stop the multi-titled government men – the concurrent governors and ministers, ambassadors and ministers, ministers and corporate board members, etc. Aren’t they tired of such schizophrenic dichotomies? The Filipino nation has never wanted of intellectuals in all fields of endeavor.

    So why not dispose of some posts to equally more deserving souls? The cronies and dollar salters must be made to pay for their crimes. Their assets salted in some foreign banks and investment houses be frozen.

    A possible re-infusion of these into our economy will do wonders as dialysis does to someone with a malfunctioning kidney. Lest we forget, to have a complete and thorough regeneration, foreign intervention must be resisted in all forms, at all costs. Thus the need to dismantle the US bases in the country.

    It has been categorically stated that the bases serve only Sam’s – he ain’t our uncle – interests, never ours.

    We wonder why every Philippine president, despite protestations to the contrary, always played up to American interests. Aren’t we fed up yet with US intervention in our affairs? Will we never learn from Dewey’s betrayal of our founding fathers? From Tirad Pass? Balangiga? Sacay? The mile-long convoy that never was in Bataan?

    The “wild boars” of Clark? We are a patient people, yes. But is there no end to that? The masses are up in arms, so to speak, yes. But conscientization has not yet set in them. A full appreciation of the issues has not yet cascaded to the mass level.

    Anger is a necessary ingredient, yes. But peaceful, non-violent revolutions – or for that matter, even the Jacobin prescription – cannot be launched, much less won, by anger alone.

    Oust the dictator, that we must. But let us not in our mass personal anger forget to dismantle all that helped propped him up.

    THAT was written in October 1983, some two years and four months before EDSA 1. And the struggle for national liberation continues.

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