Truth serum-induced tête-à-tête, Episode 1
It’s been widely condemned as a brazen attempt to brainwash the young generation into believing that the late president Ferdinand Marcos Sr. was a compassionate dictator. It’s been denounced as a barefaced misrepresentation of the Marcos regime’s martial law period as the best of times for our country.
I am referring to the one-on-one video interview between former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (BBM) and Marcos-era Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile (JPE) which was uploaded to social media as a two-part episode.
There were more than 100,000 victims of the Marcos dictatorship who were either killed, tortured, imprisoned, or disappeared. There is a huge possibility that among the personnel involved in the production of the Marcos-Enrile video interview — directors, cameramen, lighting technicians, security guards, publicists, caterers, janitors — are one or two who sympathize with the human rights victims of the Marcos regime because of blood relations, friendship, or simply by being a keen follower of history.
If one such sympathizer had the chance to inject BBM and JPE with a truth serum, or lace their drinks with a similar concoction, the interview result would have been completely different. Here’s how I imagine that tête-à-tête would have turned out:
BBM: Why did you plot to oust my father?! Why?! Why?! Why?! I could have been president ahead of North Korea’s Kim Jong-un!
JPE: Ano ka, sinuswerte? (You can’t be that lucky.) You were nothing but a dictator’s spoiled brat gallivanting in London. I was sweating it out barking orders to the military, and each time I had to suffer hearing them loudly answer, “Sir, yes sir!” Every day, my right arm was painfully stiff, because I had to return their salutes. Besides, the North Korean model of succession from grandfather-to-father-to-son is undemocratic. What’s best for the Philippines is the Myanmar model of a military junta with me as supreme leader, because Myanmar has its Aung San Suu Kyi, and we had Cory Aquino.
BBM: But my father gave you so many juicy and powerful positions. He made you Bureau of Customs commissioner, insurance commissioner, finance secretary, justice secretary, and defense minister! And you still had the gall to usurp my father’s position?
JPE: Your father had the gall to rule as president for 21 years! Your mother was planning to succeed him, and your sister Imee was also being groomed for power. You were only fourth in line to the throne, boy. But that’s how selfish your family was, you wanted to rule as royalty in the Philippines.
BBM: My father declared martial law because you claimed you were ambushed by my father’s enemies. But when you shifted loyalty to Cory Aquino, you turned around and said that you faked the ambush story to justify the declaration of martial law. And then, recently, you somersaulted for the third time by claiming that the ambush story was the real truth. How do you get away with all your blatant lies?
JPE: Simple, you fool! You change your story in order to get into the good graces of whoever is in power. That’s how I’ve survived politically and economically all these years!
BBM: After my father declared martial law, there were no more criminals in the streets, the entire country was so peaceful, do you confirm that?
JPE: That’s true, there were no more criminals in the streets. The criminals were inside police stations and military camps. The military and police monopolized crime; they were the ones committing extrajudicial killings, torture, illegal detention and disappearances. That’s why the Bantayog ng mga Bayani has a list of thousands of names of victims during your father’s rule. And that’s also why I personally signed the law giving compensation to all those human rights victims. The country became so peaceful because the noisy opposition were sent to prison, and several thousands were killed. My God, I don’t know why I’m saying all these, I can’t stop my mouth from telling the truth! My mouth has a life of its own I can’t control! It has regained freedom!
To be continued in Episode 2…
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