Truth serum-induced tête-à-tête, Episode 2
Last week, I imagined a scenario where a sympathizer of human rights victims during the Marcos regime was able to inject both former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (BBM) and Marcos-era Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile (JPE) with truth serum, just before their one-on-one interview. The real interview, uploaded on social media, has been widely condemned as brazen propaganda, an attempt to misrepresent the martial law period of the Marcos dictatorship as the best of times for our country.
The truth serum-induced interview continues:
BBM: The Philippines attained record-breaking achievements during my father’s rule, do you remember?
JPE: My God, of course! We had accomplishments that have not been broken or equaled by the six presidents who succeeded your father. For example, inflation reached an all-time high of 50 percent during your father’s presidency. I cannot understand why people are aghast at the 6.7-percent inflation rate achieved by the Duterte administration recently. That’s so low! During your father’s reign, what you could buy for P100 in the beginning rose to P400 in just a span of 10 years. That shows we were as rich as London, New York and Paris, because our prices were comparably sky-high!
BBM: But people were not complaining because my father’s economic programs made a huge impact on our country’s poverty rate, correct?
JPE: My God, I wholeheartedly agree! Poverty rate also reached an all-time high of 59 percent during your father’s golden years. Six out of 10 Filipinos became poor, and yet you could not hear people complaining; they were happy because we were too far away from 100-percent poverty.
BBM: But, you have to admit, my father was responsible for building many important infrastructure projects like the San Juanico Bridge, Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, Film Center, convention centers, hotels, hospitals, the expressways and the highways, to name a few. Our country continues to benefit from those projects.
JPE: Our country continues to suffer from the billions of dollars borrowed by your father to finance those projects. Thirty-two years since your father’s ouster, the Filipino people still pay for those bloated debts. Many of those projects were tainted with corruption, because your father and his cronies pocketed huge kickbacks. Where else could your father earn the billions of US dollars in ill-gotten wealth attributed to your family?
BBM: You talk as if you were not one of my father’s cronies. You became very prosperous during my father’s presidency. You had a huge logging concession in Samar covering 95,770 hectares of forest, among several other timber companies you owned. It was during that time that massive deforestation reduced our country’s forest cover by half. Together with Tito Danding Cojuangco, you controlled billions of pesos of the coconut levy fund forcibly collected from a million hapless coconut farmers.
JPE: Compared to your father’s other cronies, I had a difficult climb to financial prosperity. Can you imagine how hard it is to cut huge trees from our virgin forest? I had to earn my keep from the blood, sweat and tears of my hardworking loggers, who were even accused of murdering 45 Samar villagers. Massacre of trees, yes. But massacre of people, show me proof beyond reasonable doubt from that remote village.
BBM: Why do you hate the Aquinos more than we do? If not for the people power they organized in Edsa, you could have been killed by my father when your coup attempt was discovered.
JPE: I hate the Aquinos with passion. First, I was supposed to rule the country as the leader of a military junta if our coup was successful. Cory Aquino stole the presidency from me. Second, I was a nonbeliever in corny karma, until the Noynoy Aquino administration imprisoned me for plundering P172 million in conspiracy with Janet Napoles.
BBM: What would you have done differently if you were successful in taking over the presidency?
JPE: I would have replaced your father’s boring “Bagong Lipunan” slogan with my awe-inspiring motto: “Gusto ko, happy ka (I want you to be happy)!”
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