What can we anticipate from the second Marcos presidency?
I prompt an preliminary reply in a column final March: First, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will “focus energy in his workplace to authoritarian ranges –with out the necessity to impose navy rule nationwide.” And second, he’ll “full the rehabilitation of his father’s status, and…set up the Marcos legacy as mainstream historical past.”
Final April, at a discussion board on the way forward for Philippine democracy organized by the Friedrich Naumann Basis, I expanded on the second thought.
I proposed that we will anticipate the Marcos household to pursue 4 overriding targets; I referred to as them the 4 REs.
The primary RE is rehabilitation, in all senses, of the Marcos title and legacy: to reinstate, to restore, to revive to good reputation, to return to a former capability. Within the full flush of election victory, a candid Senator Imee Marcos waxed expansive: A bodily return to Malacañang Palace was not that necessary (“hindi masyadong mahalaga”) to the household anymore, she advised CNN on Might 25. “What’s most necessary to us is, in fact, our title, the household title that has develop into so controversial, and so troublesome at instances to bear.” She added: “The legacy of my father is what we hope might be clarified eventually.”
It’s this “clarification” that has pushed the household’s political ambitions within the final 30 years, since Imelda Marcos ran for president herself in 1992. She misplaced badly, as did Marcos Jr. when he ran for the Senate in 1995. The readability of what was “most necessary” to the household was what sustained them by way of these losses in nationwide elections, and particularly Junior’s loss within the vice-presidential contest six years in the past.
In one other interview with extra reporters on June 15, the senator expanded on the identical theme. “What’s necessary is we will restore [maiahon namin] our title, our household title, [and that] the legacy of my father be revisited and reviewed intently,” she mentioned in Filipino.
The paradox within the Marcos marketing campaign message – a continuity candidate’s name to rise once more (“BaBangon Muli,” a play on the candidate’s initials) – finds its rationalization on this obsession with restoring the household’s good title.
Repudiation of EDSA
The second RE is repudiation of the EDSA revolution as mainstream historical past. Repairing the Marcos title and legacy is just not and can’t be sufficient, as a result of the worst factor that occurred to the household was being pressured out of energy in a well-liked rebellion. It wasn’t a technocratic revolt that broke them, just like the Hyatt 10 occasion that helped delegitimize President Gloria Arroyo. It wasn’t a navy coup that ousted them, though it was in actual fact a failed navy try towards the dictator that precipitated the historic occasion identified worldwide as Folks Energy. It wasn’t an American authorities conspiracy to take away them from energy after twenty years of full assist, although it was the US navy that helicoptered them out of the Palace and it was the US base in Clark that hosted them the night time they fled. It was the individuals themselves who converged by the thousands and thousands on EDSA, who finally pressured them to flee.
To totally rehabilitate their title, the Marcoses must reject the historical past that turned them into villains. They should re-describe that second in time as an aberration, as un-Filipino, and their return to energy as a restoration, not solely of their household’s fortunes, however of Philippine historical past itself.
That’s the reason one of many first post-election tasks of the Marcos propagandists is a film concerning the final days of the Marcoses within the Palace; it would “make clear” that it was a mob, not Folks Energy, that seized Malacañang; it would reinforce the concept the Marcoses had been mere victims.
That’s the reason one of many first payments filed in Congress seeks to rename the nation’s important worldwide airport after the President’s father. If it proves too scandalous, even for a number of the President’s 31 million voters, then the maneuver calls for locating a center floor, by naming the airport after one thing impartial, like its location. That in actual fact is the actual goal: To take away the title of Ninoy Aquino, the opposition chief, from the airport the place he was assassinated by authorities brokers when he returned on August 21, 1983. His title alone is a reproach to the household.
And that’s the reason we must always totally anticipate that the fiftieth anniversary of the imposition of Martial Legislation, in September, will formally develop into an event for justifying the so-called revolution from the middle, reasonably than denouncing it; why the anniversary of the EDSA Revolution and the Aquino assassination will not be noticed, sooner reasonably than later; and why the second President Marcos, his household, and his political allies will emphasize the dimensions of his majority mandate until kingdom come. These 31 million votes are probably the most highly effective repudiation of EDSA as historical past.
Repossession and realignment
The third RE is repossession of previous or hidden belongings of the Marcoses. It’s doable that Imelda’s sweeping statements concerning the extent of their wealth and energy are typically discounted; certainly, the pondering goes, what she mentioned in 1998 concerning the household proudly owning virtually all the Philippines or in 2019 about having cash in 170 banks – certainly, these are exaggerations, proper? (But additionally Imelda: “Generally it helps that you simply’re not taken too significantly.”)
Imee, nevertheless, enjoys the status of being good and strategic. In 2007, she filed a criticism towards GMA Community, then about to concern its preliminary public providing of inventory, with the Securities and Trade Fee. She claimed that the shares of the Duavit household (about 28% of the multi-billion-peso firm) was merely held in belief for the Marcoses. The criticism didn’t prosper, however markets can have an extended reminiscence. Instantly after her brother gained the presidential election on Might 9, GMA shares took a beating, falling by as a lot as 23% in worth, earlier than recovering.
Quickly after Joseph Estrada turned the primary of three pro-Marcos presidents to be elected after EDSA, some firms modified possession, in favor of these near the brand new president. Transitional justice professional Ruben Carranza, a former member of the Presidential Fee on Good Authorities, expects that the identical factor will occur beneath President Marcos Jr., solely extra systematically. “The PCGG might be utilized by the Marcos household and I believe Marcos Junior has all however mentioned so, to go after former Marcos cronies that the Marcos household considers to nonetheless be possessing, or in command of, belongings that they declare are theirs. This might be a battle for ill-gotten wealth by the ill-gotters of that wealth,” he mentioned within the present that I host.
The fourth RE is realignment with China. Initially, what I meant by this was a continuation of President Rodrigo Duterte’s embrace of Beijing. I famous that the Marcos household feels particularly happy with their position in establishing diplomatic ties with China; Imelda specifically has spoken typically of her private rapport with Chairman Mao. However it appears clear now that President Marcos will observe his personal father’s lead reasonably than that of Duterte’s. Even with out advantage of US navy bases within the nation, he’ll search to strike a steadiness between relying on the US as a navy ally and treating China because the nation’s most necessary buying and selling accomplice. I really assume it will imply a extra secure and fewer unequal relationship with Beijing, a recalibration; Duterte surrendered all the nation’s benefits with no single jet ski journey. – MR
Veteran journalist John Nery is a Rappler columnist and editorial guide. He hosts the general public affairs program “Within the Public Sq.” each Wednesday.