THERE is one hidden yet indubitable reason why the Aquinos’ Yellow Cult and the Communist Party with its fronts are apoplepctic over the burial of the strongman Ferdinand Marcos’ remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
With Marcos’ remains now buried where three other presidents of the Republic lie, he becomes just one of the presidents, and this shatters their narrative of an evil, ruthless dictator that ruled the country with an iron fist. And with that fiction unraveled, the legitimacy of the Yellow Cult, the mythology of Cory Aquino as Philippine democracy’s saint collapses.
The Cory Aquino regime’s incompetence, its total reliance for its rise and survival in the 1980s on the US imperial power, and its restoration of elite rule become so transparent. People realize how much more incompetent and petty Benigno 3rd was, so much so that Filipinos are even suspecting that he did coddle drug lords which has made it such a colossal problem today.
The Communist Party and its New People’s Army wouldn’t have grown into such a powerful force in the 1980s without the narrative of Marcos as a ruthless fascist dictator. After all, after its nearly 50 years of existence and propaganda work, who knows what it is fighting for, what the “national democracy” that it says is its vision for the Philippines is?
The wily communist chief Jose Ma. Sison during his sojourn in 1964-1965 in Indonesia witnessed the US-backed General Suharto seize power and order the massacre of 500,000 Indonesians to ensure that the Indonesian Communist Party was totally wiped out. The rest of the population acquiesced to the pogrom, with Suharto ruling Indonesia for 33 years.
The realization was etched in Sison’s mind that with the Americans’ Cold-War propaganda against communism, and without an outright US aggression, as in Vietnam, that would arouse nationalist fervor, Filipinos will never rally around his party that wanted to install its own dictatorship.
Only if the Communist Party was portrayed as the vanguard of a democratic movement against a fascist, cruel dictator could it recruit members, get the masses’ sympathy, and use a so-called National Democratic Front as its political shield—or mask.
Sison therefore engineered in August 1971 the Plaza Miranda bombing of a Liberal Party miting de avance both to provoke Marcos into declaring martial law and to portray him as a ruthless fascist who even attacks the legitimate opposition.
In 1971, Sison convinced the Chinese Communist leaders to ship in July 1972, 5,000 M-14 rifles (made by the Chinese themselves) in such a way—the shipment was landed in a busy fishing village in Digoyo Point, Isabela—that the authorities easily discovered it and sent two Army platoons to intercept it, to become front-page news.
The arms landing convinced Marcos and the Armed Forces of the Philippines that China was aiding the New People’s Army in a major way. Just two months after the July landing of arms, Marcos with his generals imposed martial law, with no opposition at all from the Philippine ruling class, except for the few oligarchs behind the Liberal Party such as the Lopezes and the Osmenas.
With the opposition’s leader Benigno Aquino, Jr. coddling the fledgling guerillas (even making his wife’s Hacienda Luisita their refuge), Marcos and the AFP top brass were convinced that the only way to stop a communist take-over was to declare martial law. Marcos and his generals felt they were just being patriots who would save the country: Aquino and the opposition Liberal Party had committed treason when they exposed to the Malaysians their plan to infiltrate and claim Sabah, indubitably a part of the Philippines.
For the first several years of martial law, however, Sison’s plan didn’t work out. Because of Marcos’ economic programs such as land reform (even if flawed), his massive infrastructure projects (such as the South and North Expressways), and especially the ruling class’ support for the dictator, there was broad support for martial law. GDP grew at a record average annual rate of 7 percent from 1972 to 1976, a pace that drew the support of the massses and the ruling class for Marcos and his dictatorship. The opposition proved to be so weak and spineless to fight Marcos. The communist leaders were captured one by one, including Sison and his top military man Kumander Dante in 1976.
In all countries and at any point in their history though, even up to this day (even in America with the police brutality against blacks), and because of human nature, human rights abuses are always committed by sadist, sociopath elements of the police and military, especially when there is no other institutional check on the men in uniform, whether it be the press, a functioning legal system, and a parliament.
For instance, because of Cory’s immense popularity, her image as a saint of democracy, and a subservient press and Congress, human rights abuses—according to one count by a writer very critical of Marcos—even quadrupled in 1987 to 7,444 cases from just 1,712 in 1986. (See table.) It was even during the Cory regime that the worst-ever police killings of demonstrators occurred, the Mendiola Massacre in January 1987.
Even just in the past several months, at least half, or 2,000, of the 4,000 drug pushers killed by the police in fire-fights (or when they were trying to grab policemen’s pistols while in custody) were human rights violations—extra-judicial killings.
I don’t think that Cory had—nor has President Duterte—a state policy of executing those who opposed her regime or those involved in the illegal drug trade. In a similar vein, there hasn’t been an iota of proof that Marcos had undertaken a policy of human rights abuses against the opposition, in the same manner as Indonesian strongman Suharto or Chilean dictator Pinochet.
What has hardly been mentioned in anti-Marcos accounts is that the two martial-law administrators, Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile and Philippine Constabulary Chief Fidel Ramos, had reported to Marcos in 1975 that some 6,000 men in uniform were dismissed after an investigation of their alleged participation in human rights violations.
Nevertheless, it was the human rights violations during martial law that the Communist Party and its organizations used as its main propaganda thrust against the dictatorship.
Conveniently not mentioned by anti-Marcos critics is the fact that as much as 80 percent of those detained and human rights victims during martial law were Communist Party or New People’s Army members, and those killed were mostly in fire-fights not only with the military or police, but with village militias, who were rabidly anti-communist or who thought they were fighting bandits. For example, I was imprisoned during martial law for two years. But I was a ranking communist party cadre at that time, and I was even organizing urban guerillas. The state didn’t have the right to defend itself by imprisoning me?
It has been the success of the Communist Party’s propaganda to portray Marcos as a ruthless violator of human rights, responsible for extra-judicial killings that explains why most of the demonstrators last Friday when the strongman was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani were from the Catholic schools of the rich, who don’t care a hoot about class exploitation but are livid because of their Christian dogma over human rights violations.
It is however sickening how these students’ superiors used such biblical imagery and invoked God in order to rouse gullible young people to join the anti-Marcos rallies.
For instance, in a way that reminds me of movie scenes of medieval monks exhorting teenage Crusaders to go to Jerusalem and kill Muslims, Ateneo University President Jose Ramon Villarin in his exhortation to Ateneans to join the demonstrations against Marcos’ burial wrote:
“Patuloy natin kilatisin kung saan tayo inaakay ng Diyos sa panahong ito ng kasaysayan. Ang Diyos ang siyang nagpalaya sa atin noong tayo’y mga alipin ng Ehipto. (“Let us continue to discern where God is leading us to at this stage of history. It was God after all who freed us when we were slaves in Egypt.”)
One follows God’s will as Israelites did in fighting the pharaoh of Egypt 3,000 years ago if he or she joins the demonstrations against Marcos burial? Something is terribly wrong with this cleric’s mind.
What kind of religious leaders, and more importantly leaders of the academe, has this country produced?
FB: Rigoberto Tiglao and Bobi Tiglao