THERE are essentially two kinds of people who believe that Maria Leonor Robredo can be president. First are simply those from her home region Bicol, an indication and reflection of Filipinos’ deep-seated tribal mentality — “we have to vote for our own.”
Thus, the Pedro Laylo Associates February poll shows 65 percent of its respondents in Bicol voting for her, down, however, from 85 percent in January.
Similarly, the Tondo boy Isko Moreno’s biggest lead (although still trumped by Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Robredo) is in the National Capital Region, while that of Manny Pacquiao is in his home region Soccskargen.
The bigger kind of Robredo’s supporters are those who have been totally brainwashed with the narrative of the Yellows and the US that Ferdinand Marcos was a ruthless, stealing dictator of the same type the Americans and the West have been demonizing since the post-war era. Martial law was the Dark Age of our history, according to this narrative.
These kinds of people will mythify whoever Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s main opponent is, put her on a pedestal to project on her all the saintly virtues and heroic qualities they can think of. What helped them in this massive make-up project is the fact that Robredo, like Cory, became a widow and for some miraculous reason as in 1986 got to occupy such a high post.
The Liberal Party of course is the party of the Yellow mythicists, and many of Robredo’s organizers are from that former, but all but crushed cabal. The Communist Party grew over the decades not because people rallied to fight against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism but almost entirely as their successful portrayal of Marcos as a bloody dictator, with the Yellows as their close allies.
Another major ally of the CPP has been a major faction of the Catholic Church, partly as a result of the popularity among their ranks of Latin American “liberation theology,” which the clergy used to justify in modern society their largely medieval uselessness as the distributor of the Deity’s largesse.
Fortunately for the Left and Robredo, but unfortunate for the country, this Church faction operates because of their huge donations from the elite, among the most advanced educational institutions in the country — Ateneo, La Salle, the University of Santo Tomas, St. Scholastica’s. “Marcos Devil 101” is practically a required subject in universities. Their graduates and students have become the strident apologists for the Yellows, and the noisy propagandists for the anti-Marcos narrative.
The earliest Maoists, including the Communist Party founder Jose Ma. Sison, had focused on rousing the revolution at the country’s premier university, the University of the Philippines. Then those who got tired of waging revolution chose to just teach revolution there. Not only is “Marcos the Devil 101” a requirement at UP but up to “Marcos the Devil 2.0” and beyond.
Nearly all of Robredo’s followers have in different degrees been under the spell of that false narrative of Marcos as a brutal dictator, mostly during their youth in that age of anti-Marcos student activism. At the back of all these ridiculous groups “Economists for Leni,” “Businessmen for Leni,” “Bikers for Leni” is some group of aging former Left or Yellow activists, trying for a last hurrah in their twilight years, to express their anti-Marcos wrath as glorious as they did in their teens.
Indeed I find it astonishing that intelligent people who have long left the communist movement four decades ago, and became executives of the ruling class, even of imperialist companies, still retain their wrath against Marcos. They have refused to study objectively the martial law period in order to debunk the colossal Yellow lies and to study it in the more realistic and truer context: a project to develop the Philippines outside the schema of Western-style, chaotic representative government, as Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia and South Korea did in the 1970s. It succeeded for a time — up to 1979 — but crashed in the wake of the global debt crisis of the late 1980s.
Too lazy to think
Except for those too lazy to think and simply agree with and follow other people whom they admire, respect or are slavishly employed by, there are really no supporters of Robredo who are not anti-Marcos. More precisely, it is their being anti-Marcos that made them choose Robredo, even if any reasonable person can easily see how vacuous this person’s mind is. If Robredo had not run, it would be Domagoso who would be in second place in the current surveys. If Robredo and Domagoso had not run, it would be Sen. Panfilo Lacson that the Yellows would be backing.
However, one can’t really blame those supporting Robredo because of their hatred of Marcos. For 40 years, the narrative of a bloody dictator had been continuously refurbished, disseminated and developed by the Yellow oligarchs he crushed and the Communist Party. It is only under the discerning President Rodrigo Duterte that their weapons for this — the oligarch-owned ABS-CBN as well as the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Philippine Star — have been blunted. The academe, perhaps knowing that they will find their long-held beliefs trashed if they really dig deeper, have mostly reused the Marcos-the-bloody-dictator narrative.
Thus even after I totally proved as the Liberal Party’s big propaganda fiction called the Jabidah Massacre nine years ago, based entirely on the voluminous transcripts of the hearings at the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Yellow vice presidential candidate Kiko Pangilinan in a recent rally claims it is part of the country’s narrative.
Thus, even if I proved through documents that that often-repeated line — “37,000 were tortured, 3,257 killed during martial law” — is purely the invention of an American academic who wanted to put the Philippines on the same level as Latin American dictatorships, the anti-Marcos academics simply do not respond. Thus even if I have shown that most of the alleged extrajudicial killings during martial law, were “extrajudicial” only in the sense that those killed were NPA and MNLF/MILF guerrillas fighting to bring the government down, Yellow academics and writers simply do not respond.
Such Yellow propaganda has succeeded simply because most people, even the rich, spend most of their lives making money or pursuing their ideals, rather than studying what’s going on around them and in the world. After reading the anti-Marcos Inquirer over breakfast, they go to their place of work or vocation in the daytime, and in the evening watch (before) the anti-Marcos ABS-CBN.
What I didn’t see before though, because of the sheer lack of information available at the time, is that there are still Filipinos in all classes, it turns out, who had not believed this anti-Marcos narrative, even with the Yellows’ powerful propaganda machine, backed by the US.
This information was only revealed in a Marcos pollsters’ report I managed to get hold of recently. BBM had been tracking his father’s “favorability” ratings over the years obviously as an input into whether he would have a chance of winning a national post.
Only 45 percent of Filipinos favored the elder Marcos in 2009, with 53 percent of Filipinos unfavorable to him — unsurprising given the Yellows’ hold on media. His favorability though started to rise in 2015 to 61 percent, partly because of the immense failures of the Aquino 3rd regime.
The elder Marcos’ favorability continued to very significantly rise in the April 2021 poll to 65 percent and then to 72 percent in December 2021. It is his son’s running that indicates this, which even improved Filipinos’ favorable views toward FM. After looking at BBM, did Filipinos start to evaluate his father’s legacy?
This explains much of BBM’s tremendous political support now, that he is now unstoppable in May. The February Laylo poll for instance reported 63 percent of Filipinos supporting Bongbong, and at least 50 percent of respondents in all regions are voting for him, except for Robredo’s Bicol. Other real pollsters confirm the same overwhelming support, which is the first time in our post-war history that one presidential candidate is winning a majority percentage of the electorate.
And why do 72 percent of Filipinos not buy the Yellow narrative of Marcos as a bloody dictator? Remember that unlike newspaper or opinion column readers, most Filipinos, rich or poor, do not have the luxury and the inclination to really study in detail a particular issue, although their minds are much affected by the barrage of propaganda.
Filipinos believe what they see on the ground. Anecdotal it certainly is, but try going to the Heart Center and ask those leaving after a heart surgery who they will vote for.
If there was a sliver of truth in the claim of “37,000 tortured, 3,257 killed during martial law,” most Filipinos would have a relative, a relative’s relative or a friend’s friend telling them that. Instead the stories they hear come only from propaganda movies where the one killed was an NPA guerrilla, the interrogated a Communist Party cadre. Most Mindanaoans supported Marcos before they lived through a period in the 1970s, when Muslim secessionists nearly overrun that island’s central region.
Marcos stole “billions,” the Yellow narrative insists. But from whom, ordinary Filipinos ask, Cory’s Cojuangco clan or Lopezes? His successors didn’t steal, or using the more polite term didn’t ask for commissions or allocations for IPOs of the biggest state firm privatized, or outright P3 billion for a telephone company?
One former columnist, a Pink campaigner, asked her FB followers frantically, after claiming only the educated are voting for Robredo: “Go out, educate your drivers, domestic help, sales ladies to understand the issue.” But based on the Laylo poll, 54 percent of voters from class ABC prefer Marcos, with only half of that for Robredo.
One part of BBM’s support comes from Filipinos’ view that he will continue the legacy of his father, which was good. A second part, because Sara Duterte is his running mate, comes from the belief that he will continue Duterte’s legacy, which has been good for them. A third, which has been hardly discussed, comes from his experience and networks he has developed, which is crucial for a presidency. That one for Friday.
Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao
Book orders: www.rigobertotiglao.com/shop