Blind side

    WE SHOULD have seen this coming.

    As early as the presidential campaign, Rodrigo Duterte already declared he would allow the burial of the long dead Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, if he won. And he was voted into office with that funerary agendum a priority in his immediate to-do list. Maybe not by a majority, but just as convincingly.

    President Duterte has never wavered in that position, proffering various grounds on which he stands: from familial connections – his father being a member of the pre-martial law Marcos Cabinet, to his sense of gratitude particularly to Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos for her role in his victory – didn’t he, at one time, say the Marcos firstborn was a top campaign financier?

    As firm, if not even firmer ground, is Duterte’s unshakeable faith in the greatness of Marcos as a Filipino, and his worthiness to be buried at the national cemetery for heroes being not only a soldier but moreso a President, fully subscribing to all the laws and regulations prescribed for interment therein. Why, did not Duterte himself dictate the Department of National Defense to lay the groundwork for Marcos’ burial, even as that was challenged by anti-Marcos groups?

    The law – Duterte earlier reminded the Supreme Court – not emotions must make the sole basis for its ruling.

    Thus, it came to pass that Marcos by a 9-5-1 decision of the High Court gets to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Instant was the resbak – “Marcos is no hero” and “Marcos Traydor sa Bayan” protest rallies at UP, Ateneo, Quezon Memorial, in the cities of Baguio, Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, and yes, Davao.

    Onli in da Pilipins. That a “reviled dictator” ousted by his own people will now be buried in hallowed grounds exclusive to the nation’s heroes!

    As elsewhere, tyrants get their right dues – Fascist Italy’s Benito Mussolini shot, trampled upon and hung upside down with mistress Clara Petacci; Romania’s strongman Nicolai Ceausescu and wife Elena shot by firing squad; Iraq’s Saddam Hussein hanged; Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi impaled then shot.

    Yeah, only in the Philippines that an abominable despot gets accorded with heroism.

    Along that same vein, only in this country too that failed coup plotters get elected to office. Or have we forgotten the couple of coup pals still holding on to their Senate seats after losing in the last vice presidential race?

    As elsewhere, these types of renegades get death either by hanging or firing squad too. Or at the least, long sentences of hard labor. Which, if only from these two instances, the global normal becomes but an aberration to us.

    We should have seen this coming.

    School textbooks glossed over the excesses of Marcos’ martial rule, with outlandish claims of the infrastructure development it brought about, of rice sufficiency and even exportation, of poverty eradication. Absent absolutely human rights violations.

    The historical revisionism spread in social media of martial law as one golden age of the republic, of the full fl owering of the culture and the arts, of the Imeldifi c’s “the good, the true and the beautiful,” of a socio-economic development paradigm which, had it not been for the EDSA Uno interference, would have certainly made the Philippines as great, if not even greater than Singapore.

    We should have seen where all that could be leading.

    With Marcos Jr. almost winning – he still believes he is the real winner – the vice presidential race. An undisputable show of a nationwide political mass base there.

    We should have seen this coming.

    The Supreme Court’s flip-flopping consistency in its decisions – from the tax cases of one of the country’s richest tycoons to the cityhood status of a score of municipalities.

    Easy then for the SC to find no contradiction between its over 20 decisions naming Marcos a dictator and recognizing the human rights violations his regime inflicted upon the Filipino people and in its latest decision to honor him with a hero’s burial. Dictator-hero is no oxymoron. It is simply moronic.

    Ayayay, as idiotic as that Chief Justice at the height of the dictatorship reducing himself to umbrella man of Imelda the Beautiful. Come to think of it, the SC has a slavish tradition with the Marcoses, no?

    Indeed, we saw all these coming.

    So we did our ritual sporadic whimpering. With the inevitability of the moment already at hand. Our proclivity for the eleventh hour ever pushing the worst in us.

    Nunquam iterum. Never again. So, we now wail. So, we now weep.

    Never again? Nay. It shall ever be all over again. And again. And again. And again.

    Santayana in paraphrase now: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to an even worse dictatorship.

    No, we do not simply forget our past. We reformat it. And all the more are we damned.

    Yes, the change promised to come is nut. We still laugh. Even as the joke is on us.


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