n general a son shouldn’t
be blamed for what his father did. The Holy Bible itself acknowledges this
in Deuteronomy 24:16:
“Fathers shall not be put to death because of their children, nor shall
children be put to death because
of their fathers. Each one shall be put to death for his own sin.” In the case of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong”
Marcos Jr. he has never been accused of active involvement in the abuses
of his father, former President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos.
However, now that the good
senator has announced he may be considering a run for the presidency,
many Filipinos—especially those old enough to remember the Martial Law
years—are gravely concerned by the prospect of yet another Marcos in
Malacañang. And if he should win, the senator’s mother Imelda (and the
aging Marcos cronies who fled the Philippines after the EDSA Revolution)
would see the victory as a vindication of her husband’s despotic legacy.
Though the chance of
Bongbong winning the presidency at this stage seems like a very long
shot, the billions of dollars in stolen wealth the Marcos family is
rumored to have stashed away in foreign banks could certainly be a game
changer. With tens of millions of underprivileged voters ready to sell
their votes for a handful of pesos, the candidate with the deepest
pockets usually ends up the winner in Philippine elections.
The question for
Senator Marcos will be whether he can overcome the negative legacy of
his father. There are still large numbers of Filipinos who will never
vote another Marcos for president. No amount of convincing or money
thrown at this group can get them to change their minds.
So unless he can garner
support from large numbers of voters who will give him the benefit of
the doubt and not penalize him for his father’s sins, Bongbong will
never make president. And the only way he can get that support is by
publicly admitting that what his father did was wrong.
In a recent ABS-CBN
interview however, the senator was asked if he would apologize for the
injustices during Martial Law. He replied that he personally had done
nothing he should be sorry about and then went on to recite a litany of
achievements attained during his father’s rule. He conveniently
dismissed the great many who suffered, characterizing them as the few who
simply fell through the cracks.
The interview revealed
the senator as being so out of step with mainstream thinking about his
father and the Martial Law era. Bongbong Marcos appears to be in denial
of the horrendous atrocities committed on thousands of Filipinos during
Martial Law—not to mention the deliberate plundering of the Philippine
treasury by his parents and their cronies. Even to this day Filipinos
continue paying for the injustices incurred during that era.
The Marcoses it appears would want
nothing better than to revise history and pretend that what happened
during Martial Law was all good. Unfortunately, there’s a mountain of
evidence against it.
And to try to rehabilitate the image of Ferdinand Marcos would be like
trying to rehabilitate that of Adolf Hitler or Judas. It would be next
to impossible—at least in this millennium.
Therefore, to earn the
respect (and votes) of the Filipino people (as well as the rest of the
world) Senator Marcos must admit that what his father did was wrong and
Martial Law was for the most part a great evil imposed on the country.
Should he fail to do that, he can only be seen as someone out of touch
with reality … and someone who can never become president.