A twist in history: The rise and fall and rise of Marcos
It’s a twist in history no one could have imagined: The Marcos family, who were expelled by Filipinos in 1986, is now back in power—a father and son, Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and Jr., as president of the Republic of the Philippines in two different timelines.
The May 9, 2022 elections also marked the first election where the winner garnered a majority of votes since the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution. Marcos Jr. had a staggering 31 million votes, or 58.8 percent of total votes, against his closest rival, Vice President Leni Robredo, with 15 million votes. Even President Duterte, with 16 million votes, is considered a “minority president.”
This election should serve as a moment of reflection among Filipinos, regardless of one’s political color. “What happened? Whose fault? What can we learn from it? How can we move forward?”
As we try to answer these questions, we need to look within and find who we really are as Filipinos. What makes us a nation? What makes us proud? How can we appreciate both history and the present? And how can we build our country, so it is ready for the future?
These are the questions that will make or break our country. So what matters is not just the elections, but our response to it—and not just a response, but a “responsible” response.
We live and savor democracy in our land. And yes, we need to protect democracy at all costs. How? By respecting the results of this political exercise. Because whether you agree or not with the results, there is nothing we can do but accept Marcos Jr. as the duly elected president of the Philippines.
Whether you strongly believe that there are many historical discrepancies between the fall of Marcos Sr. and the rise of Marcos Jr., the undeniable fact is that majority of Filipinos have either forgiven the Marcoses or want them back for some reason, personal or political. Therefore, whether you agree or disagree with the 31 million, you have to be willing to respect their right to express their will. This is the challenge for all Filipinos, and the only way for our country to move forward.
Unity, a perfect unity, is impossible, but we can try to be reasonable, respectful, and tolerant. We need the opposition to make democracy even more sustainable. This ensures checks and balances. But there is a time for everything. There is a time to protest. There is a time to complain and criticize. But today is the time to heed the voice of the 31 million.
We are in the middle of a dynamic social and historical explosion and revolution, if you will allow me to use these words. A controversial mayor, Rodrigo Roa Duterte, won the presidency in 2016. Both Duterte and Marcos Jr. have been maligned and insulted in the public and political arena, and described as murderer, thief, liar, immoral.
Yet the Filipino people voted for them. What went wrong? Or should we ask: What made them suitable for the position? To answer these questions, we must listen to those who voted for them.
Postpone your ill judgment. Forget about your educational attainment, social and economic status, and personal history. Instead, try to listen to all the stories, not just your narrative. Try to look at the truth through the eyes of other people who have different personal experiences and beliefs.
Failure to listen to the voice of the Filipino people is a failure to listen to a sacred name called “The Philippines.”
Rado Gatchalian, Sydney, Australia, [email protected]
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