CEBUANO-SPEAKERS have a term for it: hayahay, meaning comfortable, also suggesting “being free from troubles and cares” in the words of poet Don Pagusara. How else would we describe it, this revival of the Marcoses within one generation after their ouster?
Imagine, being removed and then restored to power in only 32 years; other dictatorships have not been as fortunate. But that is how it stands: from being reviled for their crimes against Filipinos, the Marcoses have already had a shot at the second highest elected position (actually a not-so-veiled attempt at recapturing their patriarch’s station because the family aligned itself with then presidential aspirant Miriam Defensor-Santiago who was already ailing).
To whom do the Marcoses owe their rapid recovery? Obviously to themselves and their interests that have been reinforced by money they plundered and have not returned, as well as the support of those who share their agenda. They have also benefited from deeply entrenched impunity in our country’s system and weak attempts at pursuing transitional justice.
As millennials put it, a special shout-out goes to those who played key enabling roles for the Marcoses. Throughout the different administrations that followed, the Marcoses tried to first bring back the body of Ferdinand Sr. who died in 1989 and after they succeeded in 1993, to have him interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LnmB). They were able to get the support of former President Erap Estrada for a hero’s burial in 1998 but this was cancelled in the face of strong opposition. Then House Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo supported an LnmB burial for Marcos in 2016.
Among the country’s chief political figures there is none as prominent, open, and consistent in his admiration of and support for Marcos than President Rodrigo Duterte: from saying that Marcos would have been the “best president” were it not for Martial Law violations, to expressing support for LnmB burial in the 2016 campaign, to casting doubts on the veracity of excesses and abuses under the dictatorship.
While President Duterte’s admiration could perhaps be partly explained by his father’s association with Marcos, what about the President’s obvious fondness for the children of the deposed dictator?
In August this year, it was said President Duterte would step down if former Senator Bongbong Marcos, Jr. would win his protest and become Vice-President.
Recently, the President reportedly said that the Ilocos Norte auditor should be pushed down the stairs so that the official would not be able to report on transactions of the provincial government headed by Governor Imee Marcos. The governor expressed assent and gleefully clapped.
Is it because, as the President said, Governor Marcos had been a contributor to his campaign despite the absence of her name in his Statement of Contributions and Expenditures submitted to the Commission on Elections?
What is next in the unfolding hayahay story of the Marcoses? And what would their freedom from cares and troubles cost us Filipinos?