The celebration of July 4 as Philippine Independence Day has long been set aside. I know that. And its replacement, the Filipino-American friendship day, has also long been set aside, too, as a holiday. Even the word “friendship” lost its meaning when Rodrigo Duterte took over as president and declared that aligning with China was the better posture. And the new president, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. cannot stand differently, considering recent history.

But if you ask me, Bongbong Marcos and his family should be eternally grateful to the United States for saving them from the mob that entered Malacañang at the height of the 1986 Edsa People Power uprising. Who knows what the mob could have done at that time to the then First Family? Ruling families in other nations suffered sadder fates when unable to escape during insurrections.

True, the American justice system eventually wanted the Marcoses to pay the price for their excesses during the dictatorship. The Marcoses were again lucky that then president Fidel V. Ramos allowed them to come back to the country. But I read somewhere that after Marcos Jr. won the Philippine presidency, the US will be more lenient to him this time around.

Call it “realpolitik.” The United States now needs an ally badly considering recent Chinese actions in the Pacific. In the past, the same “realpolitik” had the US supporting Marcos Sr. even after he declared military rule and declared himself a dictator. One US legislator summed that “friendship” up with the infamous quote: “He might be a son of a ***** but he is our son of a *****.”

I am against US imperialism, but to be practical, I’d rather that Marcos Jr. would align himself to the US than to China. China is virtually in control of some of our territories in the West Philippine Sea, and we need to align ourselves with a country that is militarily superior to this expansionist force.

Considering China’s expansionist tendencies in the West Philippine Sea, a Filipino-American friendship day is better celebrated than a Philippine-China friendship day. The former at least celebrates the status quo, no matter how imbalanced that status quo is.

Marcos Jr. is seemingly more malleable as far as the US is concerned than former President Rodrigo Duterte. The US has more aces than China as far as pressure politics is concerned. The US can make Bongbong’s life difficult both in the personal and in the official capacity. The Marcoses, after all, have a closer and longer link to the US than to China.