The following post is an email from Domingo T. Ligot:
Not too long ago Jessica Soho had Bongbong Marcos on a one-on-one interview on live television and, as may be expected, Jessica asked Bongbong what his take was about the past regime of his father qualifying it as one of the blackest (pardon the paraphrase) in this nation’s history. Bongbong did not respond immediately and appeared at a loss prompting Jessica to follow up to ask “mahirap bang sagutin ang aking tanong?” This time Bongbong replied “hindi, pero matagal ng pinagusapan and tunkol sa regimen ng aking ama at lahat ng maaring sabihin tungkol dyan ay nasabi na” now, what then?
Indeed, really, what then? I lived through the martial law years of Marcos and even before that, I voted for him for his first term. Certainly there were scandalous episodes then (as in all succeeding regimes) among which I vividly recall is an alleged affair of Marcos with a foreigner (American I think) actress named Dovie Beams. The affair with very sordid details was written about in a Playboy Magazine purportedly based on the confession of Dovie Beams and it was a sensational smash at that time especially because Imelda reportedly threatened Marcos with ending their union unless he stopped this nonsense. I recall that Martial Law was declared during the final years of Marcos’ second term and, as Teddy Boy Locsin admits in his TV journal in “The World Tonight”, Marcos was twice elected in a democratic process and should be treated as such. There were many incidents happening in Manila prior to the declaration of Martial Law and in hindsight many would claim, rightly or wrongly depending on whose side one was on, that all of these were merely contrived and stage managed to justify the declaration. In the years before the war in Europe Germany reportedly went on a sustained media blitz warning the Germans and the rest of Europe that France was gearing up to invade Germany so that when war finally broke it was more a sigh of relief among many Germans that the war that they have been anxiously anticipating finally came. Historians report that it was Germany all along that wanted the war and the media campaign was really just a mind conditioning ploy to gain the people’s support for Germany’s plan to crush France and Russia first on its way to conquer the whole of Europe. Media was a tool then of the powerful as it has always been, even more so now. But during the time of Marcos the owners of most of media were his enemies so that among the first things that Marcos did after establishing Martial Law was to close down all media until new ones sympathetic to his regime started sprouting and were allowed to flourish. Opposition media however continued underground.
Historian Louis Paul Benezet in his book “The World War and What was Behind It” wrote “Someone has said that no people are happier than those living in a despotism, if the right kind of man is the despot”. He was referring to one Otto Eduard Leopold Von Bismarck-Schonausen or more popularly known simply as Bismarck. His one object was a united Germany, which should be the strongest nation in Europe. He organized the German army and equipped it with every modern weapon anxious to use it to accomplish his purpose to conquer all of Europe. The historian noted how “marvelous to see how near he came to carrying through his whole plan”.
The first years of Martial Law I remember were very positive. There was discipline among the people I noticed that people begun lining up to board jeepneys and buses and most importantly the economy markedly improved and boomed. I remember that I was at one time a scholar in The Hague, Netherlands under the sponsorship of the UN for students from developing countries during those years and my colleagues were all praising Marcos and the progress of the Philippines under his Martial Law regime. But as the saying goes: “power corrupts and absolute…” you know how it ends, and perhaps like Bismarck in Germany, Marcos despite his lofty intentions (I will grant him this) was destined to deteriorate in power as well as his health sooner than the time line required for his plans to succeed. That is over now and I agree with Bongbong that talking about it still will serve no useful purpose. As he said “What then!”
It will serve us better to look into our present and talk about where we should be heading. Accusations fly thick and plenty that P-noy is showing signs of authoritarianism and some even say that he is even worse than Marcos. Surely, with Sec. De Lima defying a TRO of the Supreme Court and we can rightfully assume that this is with P-noy’s blessing or upon his direct orders even, indeed there are signs that this regime is headed towards a despotic regime.
Any lawyer will tell you that a court order must be obeyed more so if it is the highest court that orders it, subject only to well defined exceptions under the constitution. This is another case where all that needs to be said has already been said so lets leave this to the courts to finally decide. As lawyers would say the matter is now “subjudice”.
My take on whats happening however is, granting that P-noy is intending (this must be intentional no less) to rule the country as a despot and will not tolerate political opposition of whatever color, he must look at it as an opportunity to progress the country. At the end he will either be loved or despised depending on what happens to us. As the historian said “no people are happier than those living in a despotism, if the right man is the despot.”
Domingo is a retired lawyer from the Philippines. He has worked in various capacities as a lawyer in both the private sector and Philippine government.