Bongbong towers over political and moral midgets

It’s a no-brainer, really, if you can drop all the brainwashing since 1986 over the Marcos era.

The strongman’s son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., towers over his rivals in the vice- presidential contest. Compared with him, Rep. Leni Robredo and Senators Francis Escudero, Alan Cayetano, Gregorio Honasan, and especially Antonio Trillanes, are political and moral midgets – the last in that list being even a horrible abominable creation of our damaged political system.

The first reason why I claim so, which I think is the most important, involves the darkest episode in our history in the past decade: the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona. I rank it as such as this was an unprecedented assault by the executive branch headed by President Aquino against the Supreme Court’s Chief Justice, successful only because Congress was bribed with billions of pesos in pork-barrel money and the illegal Disbursement Acceleration Fund (DAP) money.

Darkest also since the media, especially the Philippine Daily Inquirer, threw all support behind the move to demonize Corona, with screaming banner headlines vilifying him, even as all such allegations were later proven wrong. Even a noted investigative journalist bannered a story in that newspaper alleging that Corona was so immoral that he even wrested a PhD from UST without the required academic processes. (UST angrily denied it, and even lauded Corona for his pursuit of academic goals even while he was Chief Justice.)

Aquino’s operators managed to get the Anti-Money Laundering Council secretariat to illegally release to the public Corona’s confidential bank records, and Harvey Keh, a professor at the Ateneo School of Government – for chrissake, a professor at an institution purportedly teaching good governance – tried to get the Senate to adopt as evidence AMLC’s confidential data on the Chief Justice’s bank account.

Corona’s alleged bank balances were published in opinion columns as though there were no bank secrecy laws. Aquino’s Land Registration Authority head testified that Corona had 45 properties. It was proven later that he only had four, with the LRA suspiciously including in the list those properties Corona had long ago sold, or those held by people who had the same name as the Chief Justice. A megalomaniac blogger wrote several times that Corona had a house in the US, which turned out to be owned by an affluent Fil-Am surgeon, where Corona’s daughter stayed in for few weeks while on vacation.

“We vote ‘No!’:” Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. at the Corona impeachment trial, with another political titan, the late Senator Joker Arroyo.
“We vote ‘No!’:” Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. at the Corona impeachment trial, with another political titan, the late Senator Joker Arroyo.

Even big business supported the attack on the judicial branch of government, or at least those supporting Aquino. “Our country has taken another major step on the challenging road to political maturity,” said the Makati Business Club in a statement.

It was one of the darkest periods of our history since Aquino, at the height of his popularity when he could pretend to be an anti-corruption crusader, managed to whip up such a magnitude of a frenzy last seen only at EDSA I, to destroy our system of government. And for what? It was his clan’s desperate attempt to reverse a Supreme Court ruling – 15 years later – that ordered the Aquino-Cojuangco clan’s Hacienda Luisita to be put under agrarian reform.

Only three Senators opposed it

And in this darkest moment, when a lynch mob had been roused to frenzy, who among the members of the Senate stood their ground, and saw through all the lies and concluded that it was a brazen attempt to decapitate the Supreme Court, for Aquino’s personal gain?

Only three, out of the 23 senators.

Two of them were the Senate’s wisest and most upright elders: the late Joker Arroyo and Miriam Defensor-Santiago. And the third, which was a big surprise to me at that time: Bongbong Marcos. He presciently said in his speech explaining his vote: “When the furor has died down and this political storm has subsided, I know – that like the lady Justice – we shall find solace in the fact that my decision, though maybe not popular, was fair, impartial and just.” With that, in May 2012, Marcos joined the sparsely populated pantheon of our political titans.

If only for his courage and intelligence in voting against Corona’s conviction, Marcos has got my vote, and I don’t care if he were the Devil’s son.

It is not what a political leader says or claims to be that he must be judged. It is what he does in the crucial periods of a nation’s history, or in times of crisis, which tries “a man’s soul,” when his moral fiber and intelligence are tested. Bongbong passed it with flying colors. The senators, who are now his rivals in the vice–presidential race utterly failed the test, with Cayetano and Trillanes even at the front of Aquino’s lynch mob.

Maybe they really believed in Corona’s guilt? Yeah, right. But their votes to convict Corona were certainly profitable for them. As I had detailed in a column I wrote Oct. 3, 2013 entitled, “DBM data confirms P100M ‘bribe’ to 16 senators each:”

• Trillanes was given P193 million in pork-barrel funds, released within the few months before, during, and after the impeachment trial. He received a further P100 million, as the other senators who convicted Corona did, from the scandalous Disbursement Acceleration Plan funds.

• Cayetano got P117 million in pork-barrel funds in the same period, and an additional P100 million from the DAP.

• Escudero and Honasan each received P100 million in pork-barrel funds and P100 million in DAP money.

This is what I mainly mean when I say Bongbong’s rivals are moral midgets.

Fighting the BBL

The second reason why Bongbong gets my vote: he boldly stood up again against another Aquino plot, which was to dismember the Republic by giving the Moro Islamic Liberation Front its own nation-state through the Bangsamoro Basic Law. As chairman of the Committee on Local Government, Bongbong exposed the BBL for what it really was through the many hearings he had led, despite the enormous political pressure brought upon him. It took the occurrence of a Mamasapano massacre of 44 elite police troops by Muslim insurgents to finally stop Aquino’s mob from succeeding in getting it legislated.

And who was with Aquino’s gang in the House of Representatives who passed the BBL after just a few hearings? Candidate Leni Robredo, smiling ear-to-ear in a souvenir photograph of the House committee that approved the bill.

Robredo, an NGO lawyer, does not seem to  the  self-delusional type and she appears to be intelligent enough to know she does not have a chance to win, except through massive cheating, which Aquino’s forces, however, are not likely to do for her as they know they would have to focus all their resources on Manuel Roxas’ presidential bid.

So why is she running? I don’t have a doubt in my mind: For the funds of it, understandable really, considering her late husband was their family’s principal breadwinner.

My third reason for supporting Marcos is that hands down, he has the best qualifications.

He has been senator in the past three years, a congressman for six years, and Ilocos Norte governor for 12 years: That is the ideal mix of experience, in both the executive and legislative  branches, for running the country. (And let’s not kid ourselves: the vice president is just a heartbeat away from the presidency.)

To lead this chaotic country, one has to know how the legislative branch works and forge alliances with various political forces so the necessary laws can be passed. One, though, has to know how to get through the bureaucratic labyrinth in order to successfully run a province (or a major city) – or the country. Has anyone criticized the Ilocos provinces as a haven of the corrupt or criminal syndicates? Yet, Bongbong had not bragged, unlike somebody who has been boasting noisily that the best solution to rid a place of criminals is to quickly exterminate them like vermin.

Except for Cayetano’s three-year stint as Taguig vice mayor, all of the other vice presidential contenders have had no experience in the executive branch. Because of their arrogance,  not even their colleagues and partymates  really like Cayetano and Trillanes, in Escudero’s case not even his in-laws. How can they be statesmen, a quality  the posts of vice-president and president crucially requre.

Excluding Honasan and Robredo in the discussion, Trillanes, Escudero and Cayetano became senators at the same time, in 2007, not because they proved to be of a new generation of wise patriotic leaders.

They were voted into office almost entirely because they placed themselves at the head of the lynch mob against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, for which the Philippine Daily Inqurier, in its hatred of the President then, always front-paged the three as the nation’s new heroes. Trillanes, of course, led two pathetic coup attempts, conveniently using 5-star hotels as his base of operations. These hotels would later on complain that their stock of prime US steak, single-malt Scotch whiskeys and French champagnes had vanished.

Think hard: other than their being the most vitriolic against Arroyo then, and recently against Vice President and now presidential candidate Jejomar Binay, what accomplishments would you know have been done by Escudero, Cayetano and Trillanes? (Silence?) Exactly. That is what I mean when I say Marcos’ rivals are political midgets.

To be continued on Wednesday, “And what about Marcos, Sr. and Martial Law, during which I spent two years in a political prison?”

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com