Nothing’s changed since Ferdinand Marcos Jr. took over the presidency from Rodrigo Duterte: Congress and the courts remain coopted; the deal holds allowing China to have a run of our western sea; the drug war continues, with its unredressed killings; and so does militarization, with the recycling of retired generals into strategic civilian offices.
Duterte having prepared the ground for him, all Marcos had to do was to pick up where Duterte left off. But that does not stop him doing worse.
And it has not. For instance, in the face of a global economic crisis, due to the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Marcos is setting up, with our money, a fund to be risked in alternative investments. It’s a game poor nations like us are precisely warned to avoid playing. Neither trained as an economist nor raised to be a patriot, indeed being an heir to plunder, he cannot dodge the question: What’s in it for you, Mr. Marcos?
But, as might be expected of his apologists and promoters to say, he has been President for not even a year; he has more than five years yet in his term. But again, how much chance does a Marcos deserve? The evildoings he has endorsed and done on his own would seem only incremental in the context of the great evil plot that is denied or covered up as it happens right under our noses, making us look stupider than we ever looked.
It is dangerous enough that we’re up against a Marcos, but this Marcos is not alone. Unlike his father’s, his is no one-man rule, but a conspiracy, in which he has two ex-presidents for partners – Duterte and Gloria Arroyo, who themselves constituted a political duopoly in Duterte’s time. If Duterte now lies low, it’s only because he has a daughter, Sara, planted strategically inside, as vice president to Marcos.
For her part, Arroyo is, by Marcos’s own admission, his “secret weapon.” Her value lies in her connection to China, which she took as a most favored foreign partner during her presidency, and in her influence with a Supreme Court she managed to pack in her reign of nine years, the first three as successor, stepping up from vice president, to the impeached and subsequently ousted Joseph Estrada, and the next six by national election, itself marred by fraud.
You can’t find a more viciously desperate trio. The tie that binds them is a common anxiety about the prospect of their going to prison – for corruption in Arroyo’s case; for the same crime and extra-judicial killings and treason besides in Duterte’s; and in Marcos’, for his part in the plunder perpetrated by his parents during their conjugal dictatorship.
The Marcos presidency is a mere continuation of a plot that goes back 20 years to the Arroyo regime, broken only by a brief hopeful interim, during the presidency of Benigno Aquino III, before being taken up again, by Duterte. The plot appears now to have reached the point of no retreat, and the giveaway is the frenzied push for constitutional change, which is really nothing new – the idea has been floated before, derisively called “Cha-Cha” by those who see it for what it is.
Apparently still feeling insecure even with their dynastic heirs already in position to succeed them, the conspirators yet want such long-term assurance as the Constitution can provide, which it does not – if anything, it calls for a ban on political dynasties.
Understandably, the dynastic club that it is, Congress has refused to pass the enabling law for the ban. And now, with ever greater fervor, it is again considering Cha-Cha, whose defining feature is a shift to federal government. As the reasoning goes, the unitary system we have known all our lives does not allow us to adapt to modern-day conditions.
If the shift serves any greater interest, it is precisely that of the dynastic class. Federalization being about dividing a country into constituent states, it’s bound only to help along the culture of patronage that gave rise to the dynastic politics of which the Marcoses, the Dutertes, and the Arroyos are now the model practitioners – it federalizes the greater conspiracy. The long transition the process entails, meanwhile, opens a void for the Marcos-Duterte-Arroyo combine to fill as an interim regime, just the perfect place for plotting its perpetuation in power.
Separately in their time, Duterte and Arroyo didn’t get far with Cha-Cha – Duterte was preoccupied or otherwise held back by a case filed against him in the International Criminal Court, for his brutal drug war, and the COVID pandemic; Arroyo, on the other hand, was simply unpopular. This time, with both of them backing him, Marcos is having a go at it favored by coopted or cowed oversight institutions and a high trust rating, doubtless largely due to a deceitful and relentless PR campaign.
If Cha-Cha goes through, we’d be dancing to his gang’s tune for probably even longer than his father, the dictator, had us dancing to his. – Rappler.com
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