Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

[Newspoint] Marcos’ dilemma

Vergel O. Santos

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[Newspoint] Marcos’ dilemma

Alejandro Edoria

But what, really, could one expect of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.?

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim didn’t even mention Leila de Lima’s name when he met with visiting Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. this week – actually, he had been similarly thoughtless when he came visiting last year. To say the least, that was incredibly short of someone who had received vigorous and unwavering support from Philippine rights institutions and groups through his own years of unjust imprisonment. 

He and Marcos became members of the same power club upon their election last year, and Marcos had gone visiting right after delivering his State of the Nation Address, in which he, too, had not mentioned De Lima, which should have been enough signal for Anwar to forget. That, apparently, is how it works in the club. 

Anyway, let’s leave Anwar to his self-induced amnesia. But Marcos? 

If only to his own political advantage – never mind easing his conscience – it should suit him to heed the cry of every well-formed conscience to be unburdened of De Lima, but Marcos, by looking away, only betrays his acquiescence in the injustice done her by his predecessor and in its perpetuation in his own presidency. 

De Lima’s persecution is just too brazenly conscienceless. Duterte got his cohorts in Congress to mount one-sided hearings into his concocted accusations of drug trafficking against her. Within the first year of his presidency, she was arrested, put in jail, charged in court, and denied bail at every turn, with nothing concrete presented in evidence – no drugs, no money that might even suggest ill-gotten, much less made from drugs, only the word of drug convicts themselves serving life sentences and other coercible witnesses. 

Even the milieu was manufactured. Duterte declared a war on drugs and fitted De Lima into it, such that ugly clouds now hang over the loss of tens of thousands of mostly young lives in the name of that war. For those killings, the International Criminal Court itself is onto Duterte.

De Lima, meanwhile, remains in solitary confinement, even as her trial continues to drag out and even with Duterte no longer president. That an ex-president has managed to continue exerting his malevolent influence on the succeeding regime is really nothing new. Ferdinand Marcos, Gloria Arroyo, and Joseph Estrada not only managed it, their heirs and surrogates have carried on doing their part for the same conspiratorial club. Indeed, honor among the likes of them has proved more reliable and enduring than the normal sort.

Still, against De Lima, never has the judicial process been rigged with any comparable impunity since Benigno Aquino was railroaded by Ferdinand Marcos Sr. through his own kangaroo court. In fact, the parallel does not end there; in no time, De Lima will have been in prison for as long as Aquino was — seven years.

To be sure, the circumstances are changed, but not enough to inspire confidence for De Lima. Duterte’s successor has done nothing to so much as ease her situation in detention. He has not spoken even one vaguely reassuring word about her case, not even after she had been taken hostage at gunpoint by prisoners trying to bolt the same jail camp – mercifully, no bodily harm came to her. If anything, Marcos has further restricted visits with her. 

But what, really, could one expect of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.? Having been sired by a dictator and groomed by the worthiest of his worshippers makes him a thoroughbred with the potential of becoming the worst leader this nation has seen. But then, he is up against forces beyond his control. His alliance with Duterte shows cracks from infighting, and he is buffeted by a storm of clamors from foreign leaders and institutions for De Lima’s release from jail – at least.

Only recently the International Criminal Court rejected a Philippine appeal to stop its prosecutor’s investigation into allegations of extrajudicial killings in Duterte’s drug war, bringing itself closer to the issuance of a warrant for Duterte’s arrest. President Marcos forthwith has been warned that his country’s international dealings could suffer seriously if he tried to block the proceedings. 

Only one thing can really persuade that international court to lay off — a credible Philippine justice system. And De Lima’s persecution by itself demolishes all arguments for it.  – Rappler.com

1 comment

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  1. ET

    Thanks to Vergel Santos for this enlightening article.
    Firstly, he pointed out the “self-induced amnesia” of Malaysian
    Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. It can be seen how power has
    blinded Minister Ibrahim. Secondly, he also unraveled the
    PBBM’s support to the injustice done to Former Senator
    De Lima by Former President Duterte. But this is expected as
    they are “birds of the same feather.” However, it should be
    hoped that De Lima be freed during the Marcos Jr. administration
    because when time will come that VP Sara Duterte will become the
    next President of this country – De Lima will certainly suffer more.
    Third and lastly, writer Vergel Santos also presented the
    parallelism between the situations of both former Senator Benigno
    Aquino and that of former Senator De Lima (note: both are
    Senators). It is CHILLING to foresee that former Senator
    De Lima may go through the same events as that of former
    Senator Benigno Aquino: becoming the Opposition’s LEADER and then,
    unfortunately (and God forbid!), becoming assassinated, too!

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