AT LEAST two presidentiables are in favor of burying Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City and giving the ex-dictator full state honors: Gibo Teodoro and Manny Villar. Teodoro, a relative of former Marcos crony Danding, even had the gall to argue that that charges against Marcos still need to be proven in court.

Twenty-four years after Edsa 1, propagating revisionist history is the fad. And it’s not only about sugarcoating Marcos’s rule, it’s also about slandering people power and, in an election year where Cory Aquino’s son Noynoy is the leading presidential bet, besmirching her memory and presenting a one-sided assessment of her presidency.

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I have tackled at length the Marcos dictatorship and Edsa 1 in my previous writings. After scanning Cecilio T. Arillo’s book “Greed and Betrayal: The Sequel to the 1986 Edsa Revolution,” I now feel it’s time to present my own take of the Cory years. This is both a product of research and of my own experience as a young man at that time.

Critics of Aquino harp on a few “memorable” things like the then president’s “corrupt” Kamag-anak Inc. and the brownouts that bedeviled the country in the waning years of her presidency.

More often than not, context is lost. But no objective assessment of Cory’s presidency will emerge if it is not placed in its proper historical perspective.

As early as 1983, Cory’s husband Ninoy, a sharp political analyst in his own right, had warned of trouble for whoever will take the reins of the government after Marcos. His arguments were compelling. One-man rule had destroyed the country’s democratic processes. And Marcos and his cronies had left the economy in shambles.

Ninoy was killed in August of that year and thus didn’t have any inkling that the Marcos successor he was referring to would be his own wife. Cory herself was not equipped for the job of rebuilding the nation, having spent most of her adult life as a housewife. Yet, the woman scorned as “talagang walang alam” didn’t shirk from the task.

Cory battled Marcos in the Feb. 7 snap elections and later in Edsa 1 on the strength of the so-called “rainbow coalition.”

But that strength also turned out later to be a weakness in governance. The extreme right and the revolutionary left, for example, advanced conflicting interests. Trying to balance these interests was a losing proposition.

The Cory government focused in the early years of restoring the status quo ante, or the liberal democratic processes in place before Marcos declared martial law in 1972. That fell short of the goal of effecting thoroughgoing reform in the socio-political and economic setup. Still, it was a formidable effort considering what Marcos left behind.

Cory first came up with a “Freedom Constitution,” then replaced the Marcos-muddled 1971 Constitution with the 1987 Constitution via a Constitutional Commission. She loosened Marcos’s hold on the bureaucracy by replacing local government officials with officers-in-charge. She held the first post-Marcos election, a “clean one,” in 1988.

Cory decapitated crony capitalism and went after Marcos’s ill-gotten wealth. She sought to restore investor confidence using as capital the goodwill earned by the peaceful transfer of power in the country. This even as she battled, among others, coups launched by the military, the leftist rebellion and disasters like the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo.

Then in one final act of decency, she refused to run for another term and instead presided over a democratic turnover of the reins of government to Fidel V. Ramos, who won the first presidential election post-Marcos in 1992.

(khanwens@yahoo.com/ my blog: cebuano.wordpress.com)