That the Philippines had not developed an aversion to dictatorships is a phenomenon.
Elsewhere in the West, particularly in parts of Europe, countries that have had long-standing dictatorships are today finding ways to erase the memory of tyrants. Spain, for instance, is currently at a crossroads on what to do with the grave of Francisco Franco who ruled the country for 36 years. Among the despicable memories that modern Spaniards have had to wrestle with is the record of some 50,000 extrajudicial deaths under state-sponsored repression. It simply is a notion that has no place in the modern world.
The Philippines, on the other hand, appears to be very unlikely that it will develop such aversion to dictatorships. The problem is not even Rodrigo Duterte’s aegis of the surreptitious reinterment of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Mr. Duterte himself is part of the problem.
It can be said that the 1987 Constitution only attempted a feeble effort to erase the specter of another dictatorship after Marcos. It made a shot to ban political dynasties without an interdict. It left the enabling law to Congress minus the foresight that future congresses will be filled with the very people it had wanted to prohibit.
The barefaced intensity of political dynasties today even in the local government level as basic as the barangay is the main sabotage in rejecting dictatorships. Dynasties are a form of dictatorships under the guise of “free elections.” The Philippines is not ruled by democracy. It is ruled by public money pilfered by shameless dynasts buying the public’s vote to keep themselves in power forever and ever. Each election is a mere exercise of poll rigging. We have multiplied the Marcoses a million times.
The photo of Imee Marcos and Inday Sara Duterte riding a motorcycle highlights the fulcrum of the problem. It is a portrait of a dynast and another dynast riding tandem. It illustrates how our false democracy works. Both know there is an elephant in the room but are rest assured that no rallying calls anyway have tipped the point against political dynasties.
The “patola” award, however, should go to Joy Belmonte of Quezon City.
Speaking at a convention in the turf of Inday Sara, Belmonte glorified her with hallelujahs:
“Even if we are a bigger city with a much bigger budget, there really are many things to learn from Davao City which is a smaller city with a smaller budget, but with a good leadership.” Then she lauded the Davao City mayor for “her good governance,” saying that it is “the key to the peace and order and competitiveness that the city upholds.”
Notice that Belmonte, whose late mother fought Marcos, had to negate some essential realities of democracy.
To start with, she does not say anything against the “trapo” dynasty of Davao City because she herself belongs to one. You scratch my back, I scratch yours.
She talked about the city’s peace and order but was quiet on the Davao Death Squads that the elder Duterte had long admitted as true. And talking about Davao City’s peace and order, what did she have to say about drug syndicates operating in the city? If her notion of urban development management is to nurture political donor cronies like some rising star surnamed Uy, then her memory had voluntarily faded on how the template came from Marcos himself.
Joy Belmonte wants us to believe that a paradigm of good governance is the city that the Commission on Audit had flagged as having ghost employees numbering a staggering 11,000. Talk about “a small city with a small budget.” Where did the millions of public money go for the fake payrolls?
Pray tell us, Joy Belmonte, and your late mother Betty Go Belmonte won’t turn in her grave. Better yet, stop rubbing salt on the wounded democracy of this country.
On Twitter: @AntonioJMontal2. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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