One clear day, I went straight to the lion’s den, so to speak, hoping to test my views and reasoning power.
The following exchanges were made over several days:
I’m actually elated at this year’s amount of pushback exerted in resisting the revisionist thinking on the anniversary of Martial Law and about the Marcoses. The dailies, blogs, TV and radio stations and even artists’ groups all exerted effort to set the record straight.
In prior years, there was very little, and the neo-Marcos loyalists were quietly garnering support. This year, they barely made any noise and did not get into debates.
Now, as for those Ateneans who selfied with Imelda….. buti nga talo Ateneo sa UAAP… ha ha ha ha
ang pagbalik ng pamilya ay nagbadya ng bad omen sa ating bansa. subalit ang mga mamamayan ay tahimik lang dahil halos walang ipinakitang reaksyon. bgkus ay naghalal pa ng isang kilalang marcos ally. ang pandarambong ng mag-asawang dorobo ay pinahintulutan din ng mga heneral dahil sa pasalubong at pabaon at ng mga mitshubishops. ngayon na namimingit na maulit ang kadilimang inihasik ng bangkay, dapat magsilbi itong aral sa atin na hindi dapat magwalambahala sa mga mumunting senyales ng pang-uuto at ng mga maling palabas at pakulo na mabuti ang rehimen ni makoy sa pamamagitan ng mga pilipit na pahayag sa media at websites.
Here, I came in on one main vile issue against Marcos:
I have been puzzling over this: Marcos’ brutalities, Marcos’ human rights violations. I think, at best, yes, by virtue of command responsibility as commander in chief.
But then, human rights violations did not stop after his ouster. In fact, some claim that the number of human rights violations cases, went up during the time of Cory, correct me if I’m wrong. But no one is claiming Cory’s human rights violations on account of command responsibility. Or Ramos’ brutalities for that matter, Erap’s human rights violations, GMAs human rights abuses… why is that? Saka bakit kay Marcos lang kayo galit?
I think the younger generation of historians will puzzle over that one too. By what principle is Marcos being blamed and cursed for these so-called atrocities?
JOHN C. JACINTO
because cory did not have control of the military the way marcos did. remember that cory was constantly harassed by the military by way of their bloody coup d’ etat.
You could be correct with respect to Cory. What about the rest.
The question is to what degree is Marcos— or any commander in chief, for that matter— responsible for the acts of the soldiers and the field commanders? Did Marcos control the military to the extent that abuses are his personal responsibility rather than the uniformed men on the field and their superiors. He was commander in chief, alright (but) (w)as there a policy to be brutal and merciless or were these natural consequences of war?
You somehow get the feeling that Marcos was personally directing the conduct of those abuses in gleeful abandon or at least had given coldblooded consent to all forms of cruelties.
That is why I am in favor of collating records of those so-called abuses so that an honest review be done one by one and prosecute those who were directly responsible if they are still alive. By laying all the blame directly on Marcos, those who should be made to account have effectively escaped punishment.
thing is, the marcoses never admitted anything. even if everything is so obvious already. too bad, we really have a bad justice system at that time (up until now actually).
that’s why those people who were supposedly accountable for any undesirable deeds roamed free and got back here ala arnold s. terminator.
closest we have today is to at least learn from what history gave us. and yes, #NeverAgain.
I wrote to expand the point I wanted to make:
Likewise, have we heard the side of the soldiers who were fighting the insurgency? We are only willing it seems to listen to the so-called victims. Were they truly innocent bystanders or freedom fighters. Or communist combatants fighting to take over the government? In the old days, human rights victims denied any connection with the communist movement. Recently, to make a case for Marcos savagery, the Inquirer featured the suffering of four human rights violations ‘victims’: they are Satur Ocampo and three former ranking communist leaders turned corporate ceos. Do you know that the claimants to billions of dollars in human rights reparations in the Hawaii case are mostly members of SELDA, a communist front organization, to include top communist leader Joma Sison?
A distinction must be made between genuine victims and those who are not.
You could sense the emotion in the answer:
JOHN C. JACINTO:
so what if majority of the claimants are commies? are commies not human beings? you’re becoming more of a fascist defender each time you post.
Quickly, he adds:
marcos egged on the military to trample upon the people’s rights. without the military, marcos would not have lasted for a day after his constitutional term ended in january 30, 1973. marcos and the military during the martial law years were indispensable to one another.
I ended the exchange:
Nothing further. I rest my case.
I could have replied, how exactly did marcos egg the military to “trample upon the people’s rights”? But I did not sense it could lead to a healthy debate. I could have explained why in my view Marcos declared Martial law but you could feel he is the kind who has made up his mind that Marcos declared Martial law due to his greed for power and wealth.
I was waiting for Andrew Lim, who himself started the stream, to come back and say something more intelligent and cutting but he did not. Or maybe even the host, Raissa Robles, who comes from the same mold. Or anyone else among the other dedicated anti-Marcos posters. It’s probably just me, but I have yet to encounter any compelling argument against my line of contention. Just some recycled, tiresome lines of angry retort that do not pass for decent argument. I thought going straight to where the anti-Marcos forces congregate would make them come out in full force to wreck into pieces my line of thinking, but only one or two showed up. I am not worth their time, maybe. Still, I could change my mind. If a stronger argument comes, why not?
It could well be a difference in perspective: where I am coming from and where they are.
I come from the perspective that sees the threat of communism as very real, and taking over the reins of government by force of violence as part of the communist plot. This, combined with the massive devastation and the deaths of millions in neighboring countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos at about the same time following the takeover of communists. Not to mention the scale of wreckage Communism has inflicted elsewhere around the world since its inception.
They come from another perspective, where communism is viewed as an insignificant force, a benign, non-threatening ideology whose only purpose is to correct the social inequities, nothing more, and Marcos was using it only as an excuse to prolong his hold of power and means to enrich himself.
Still, I think if you want to preserve your version of history, and keep “revisionists” at bay, you must endeavor to leave forceful arguments, along with particulars, that could stand the test of time against contrary views, not rants, not bombast, not outbursts. Think of the younger generation of historians who will dissect the details and will write history long after you are gone and only your written and recorded arguments are left on their own to carry the flame for you and your conviction.
To an earlier post I reacted:
“For various reasons, no post-Marcos administration made it a point to keep the memory of the atrocities and the greed alive and pass this on to the next generation.”
There’s the EDSA monument. There’s the Shrine at Ortigas. There’s the Ninoy monument at Ayala. There’s the tarmac marked with Ninoy’s body. I think there’s also a museum dedicated for that purpose. There’s the law compensating so-called human rights victims. There are the annual celebrations of the February uprising, Ninoy’s death anniversary, Martial law declaration, etc all dedicated for remembering the dark days and bashing evil Marcos. There are the hundreds of cases filed against the family You can inventory all articles written on magazines and newspapers on the Marcoses since 1986, probably 97% were either bashing, parodying, making fun of the Marcoses. Same in other mediums.
So what else do you need “to keep the memory of atrocities and the greed alive”?. Just this week, show me something written that was praiseful of the Marcoses?
If anything, it is overkill. Something faintly suggesting positive about Marcos and here comes a horde screaming “revisionists!!”
It is about substance. Without substance the entire argument will collapse inevitably on the thinness of its framework and weakness of foundation no matter what props you put to keep it up. Ultimately, Truth is its own defense. If you are on its side, you need not even say or do anything.
Sorry, America. China just overtook the US to become the world’s largest economy, according to the International Monetary Fund.
A frank, spot on article about becoming a lawyer in the Philippines. Heck, they’ve even made a carnival out of the yearly Bar exams.
I think we’ve made lawyers bigger than life, so that anyone who could do passable English would want to become one, whatever his true aptitude or genuine interest. That is what we get for being a society that is all agog over lawyers. Too bad, scientists, inventors, engineers, mathematicians, programmers do not get as near an adulation.
I would be posting these on your comment thread, but I noticed I have been blocked on your blog. Just some tech glitz, I thought, until I noted I was also removed on your Philippine Blog Center…
Well, just to be clear, I am not complaining. It’s your blog after all, though I can’t help wondering why. Is it the series on Marcos that turned you off? Whatever.
Nonetheless, I do thank you for my inclusion on your blogroll in the past even without me requesting it.
I remember in the old days when you were daring all comers to give you their best knockdown shot and linking everyone who gets your fancy, agreeable or not, it seems now you have taken sides and cleaning up, eh?
Anyway, what’s the matter? Your Noynoy Aquino, A Kaleidoscopic President is probably the most incredible bootlicking I have ever read from you. Now, I do not mind your personal preferences, we all have our biases and favorites, and we fawn over our favored ones, but I take issue with this:
Mr. Aquino will fire someone when he wants to. Not when outraged netizens or a purchased-money press or leftist cranks demand it. This is a feature of the President we can see if we look at his aggressive determination in the kaleidoscope and twist the tube so that the determination is affixed to his staff. He is a loyal boss to his immediate subordinates. What is important to him is the work they are doing, not what those who are not accountable think about it.
See, you are practically cheering incompetence, the implication being that coddling them incompetents is good and most admirable.
Who are those people you casually dismiss as “netizens or a purchased-money press or leftist cranks” demanding PNoy fires someone? In case you missed them because you are blinded by the glow, they are people who daily brave long, horrible traffic gridlocks, miles-long queues on MRT/LRT lines, commuter trains that conk out at the middle of the rail, and possibly are a disaster waiting to happen… They are people with families to feed but now has to pay almost double on rice and other basic foodstuffs… They are people who are paying incredible rates on their monthly bills on water and electricity and soon may suffer another increase plus long rotating brownouts… They are businessmen whose businesses are threatened by even higher cost of doing business because we have as it is already the highest electricity rates in the region… They are citizens who see worsening criminality and deteriorating peace and order making them feel increasingly apprehensive of the safety and security of their person and properties… They are people who endured neglect and slow response amidst unspeakable destruction after a cataclysmic typhoon… They are farmers and entrepreneurs who see unabated smuggling threatening their livelihood… They are people helplessly suffering from the consequences of utter incompetence, negligence, and irresponsibility of people in charge…
These, Joeam, are the people whose hardships you take lightly and what gall they have to demand a President to fire those responsible individuals.
Will I enumerate the people in the President’s cabinet who are largely responsible for these terrible problems? No I won’t. You know them, Joeam.
Bottomline, Joeam, is competence; repeat, competence. But you are practically applauding the President for his loyalty to these people, and how good a leader he is for being so! Hahaha what the heck! I was hoping you would at least advise the President to assess honestly his people’s capabilities and fire those dragging him down but…
And we have not even mentioned corruption…
I know you are most admiring of the President’s war against corruption. But running after your enemies to the ends of the earth with hammer and thongs for their corruption, and putting all defense shields and covert support for your friends and allies on the same score—hahaha that is not war on corruption, Joeam. Truly, I am amazed that, for all your intellect, you are buying the line; c’mon, where’s your intellectual integrity?
On that smile you call a grimace. No, Joe, find a clean copy, replay it a hundred times and see for yourself if indeed it is not a smile. A strange smile it is, indeed, but I leave it to a professional psychologist to interpret.
As for the Bangsamoro peace deal, good luck, but I do not see success on this one. It is one thing to wish, and the wish is most noble, but it is another to have the skills and wisdom to see it through success. Still, good luck to the President.
About the only thing I agree with you is the President’s stance on China, but I think the President should tone down on his braggadocio.
See, I can grant that Noynoy, the President, is a good man, but that is all.
But as a friend who works in government once intoned, unbelieving, “you mean he did not have commissions on his own PDAF then?… you mean he has no cuts on all those projects and deals now?… you mean he has no share on the jueteng operations?… you mean he is totally clean, really, owwws, c’mon now! See, in government, you take your cut; if you don’t, somebody else will!”
That is all. But hey, just thinking, are you having any problem with immigration?
The Inquirer, true to form, is embarked on a major offensive. With a series of articles, it looks intent to advance and buttress its political advocacy and position, as likewise, to counter the growing alternative views that are pushing the mainstream view it holds on the defensive. Indeed, it prefaces the articles with:
Starting Sept. 21, the 42nd anniversary of the proclamation of martial law by President Ferdinand Marcos, we have been running a series of articles to remember one of the darkest chapters in Philippine history. The articles are necessarily commemorations and more so a celebration of and a thanksgiving for the courage of the men and women who endured unspeakable pain and loss to overcome the Marcos dictatorship and regain our freedoms. These are some of their stories. (emphasis mine)
TOP EXECUTIVES REMEMBER MARTIAL LAW is the story of EastWest Banking Corp. president and chief executive officer Antonio Moncupa Jr., former Philippine Stock Exchange SVP Jose Fernando T. Alcantara and University of the East (UE) president Ester Garcia as young communists.
SATUR OCAMPO: FRIENDS HELPED ME is about the well-known leftist legislator and how friends saved him on various occasions from pursuing law enforcers as communist rebel on the run.
Will they feature the heroics of Jose Ma. Sison next? They should.
So whaddahel were they doing helping the cause of Communism? I wonder: would Inquirer rather have them let loose then, treated with kid gloves, or incarcerated with five-star hotel room amenities or allowed all the means to plot the takeover of the government? Would Inquirer rather have them victorious?
While there might have been unacceptable methods used such as tortures, plotting to take over the government certainly has its price. You declare war against your government, expect war. And in war, as the saying goes, all is fair, at least from the point of view of the law enforcers whose lives and limbs were at stake too in the battlefield. Did they expect a picnic?
In any case, would Inquirer bother to balance these views with those of the uniformed men and women in the Armed Forces of the Philippines who were tasked to run after them? On second thought, I guess not. It has cast its lot with the communist ideologues and calls them courageous freedom fighters for fighting the government and human rights victims for their troubles and pains. And the law enforcers, as unthinking tools of a brutal regime, perhaps?
But, hey, go ahead, Inquirer. Unwittingly or not, you are helping expose who truly are those so-called thousands of human rights victims of Marcos. Innocent bystanders or freedom fighters they were not; they were communists who were intent to take over the reins of government through violence, then turn the country into another social laboratory like Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos.
I say, better them victims than victors.
The mothballing of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant had tremendous, far-reaching consequences that have yet to be fully accounted for and calculated, or, for that matter, grasped. How, for instance, did it contribute to the economic tribulations and decline of the Philippines? When President Ferdinand Marcos pleaded to President Cory Aquino, his successor, to push for the operation of the plant he built and not waste it, he did so realizing the extremely detrimental repercussions of mothballing the plant. The facility after all was a most-ambitious project bankrolled through an enormous foreign loan which was to be paid back by the government in thirty years. Marcos’ pleadings fell on deaf ears.
By not operating the BNPP, we have actually sacrificed and forfeited all potential benefits, including revenues, direct and indirect, arising from it— revenues which should have paid for the massive monthly installments. Servicing the debt without these revenues, the national treasury was practically leaking dry by as much. By how much, let us attempt at a very rough estimate.
I was googling for some official data but I could not find them, like how much interest rate was paid, terms of payment and other relevant data. All I got is some facts from Wiki: It cost $2.3B payable in 30 years. Using an online loans calculator at default 4.5%, we calculate a monthly payment of $ 11.7M. Assuming our base figures were spot-on, or within reasonable range, it would mean that we were actually paying the creditors that much every month, roughly $ 388,000 a day— for thirty years. So how much did we pay our creditors in nominal (not adjusted to inflation) amount for thirty years? $4.2B!
Meaning, not only did we throw away all potential benefits, we also created a sinkhole through which our financial resources poured out. Thus, the first tragedy of the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant is that of Filipino taxpayers paying a humongous bill of $4.2B FOR NOTHING! Yes, $4.2B FOR NOTHING! That is practically equivalent to being robbed of $4.2B!
The second tragedy is this: imagine what the $4.2B could have done for the economy if it were utilized instead for, say, upgrading and expanding infrastructure over this long period. As it happened, government spending on vital sectors was severely constrained due to a huge debt service obligation eating up on the national budget, the bulk of which related to the nuke plant. In fact, the present worsening malfunction in government service could well trace much of their origin to inadequate and decrepit infrastructure that was a result of a buildup in backlog in unfunded essentials over the years.
The third tragedy is in having forever lost that one golden opportunity for developing a seamless energy development program that would have established a dependable power supply base, kept power rates at low levels and reduced dependence on imported fuel. Sayang.
What’s more, freezing the plant predictably created an immense gap in energy supply which subsequently engendered a branching chain of adverse effects, short term and long term. It is doubtful if these consequences were ever truly and seriously pondered upon before the decision was arrived at. Because power plants take many years to build, replacing the breach left by it was by no means forthcoming, thus day-long blackouts came rolling in like a scourge, distinguishing the last years of the first Aquino administration. How much damage the blackouts wreaked on the economy, we could never truly measure.
Fidel Ramos came to the rescue upon assuming the presidency in 1992. It was kapit sa patalim as expected, the result being exorbitant contracts with independent power producers by which we are bound until when. Having costly power has its own severe penalties. For example, because investors count cost of power as one of the major factors before pouring investments, we would expectedly be at the losing end in the competition to attract foreign investors. Even local investors are shunning away from power- dependent industries, for obvious reasons. Well, to be sure, practically all productive efforts in all sectors are weighed down by the heavy burden of high power cost. In a globalizing economy where open competition is theoretically the rule, we could well go under because high power rate is such a crippling disadvantage.
The other tragedy pertains to individual opportunities lost which are even more incalculable. To make a simple case, how much could a family have saved from its electric bills over the years, if the plant had been operated? Multiply that by the number of households that have been using electricity and the cost of lost opportunities for each of them.
As it is, today we have the highest power rate in the region. Yet, we may still top that in a few years. Widespread rolling power outages are already certain by next year and no remedy is in sight.
Indeed, the BNPP is a heartbreaking story of a myriad, uncountable lost opportunities and billions of pesos that went down the drain. When you look for reasons why the Filipinos are today mired in poverty, it helps to understand the ill effects of mothballing the plant which could have otherwise been our vehicle for achieving progress.
But then we’d rather blame everything on corruption…