[OPINION] Buckle up: It’ll be a bumpy ride in the next six years of ‘democracy’ under Marcos if…

Presidential frontrunner Bongbong Marcos Philstar.com file photo[OPINION]
PENDING the decision of an enlightened Philippine Supreme Court (SC) on petitions to disqualify/cancel the candidacy of President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, then we Filipinos should fasten our seatbelts.

If the weeks prior to June 30 oath taking of Marcos will be an indicator, then we are in for a bumpy ride — far worse than what we’ve experienced in the past six years under outgoing President Rodrigo Duterte.

While even more questions arise on the legitimacy of his candidacy built on his self-declared primary motivation to save the Marcos family name, and they have been doing everything to win at all cost.

To win at all cost would entail using lies, deception and misrepresentation, allegedly peddled by an army of paid trolls and “influencers” to “refresh” the Marcos brands, and to rewrite history by twisting the facts and fabricating narratives in order to sow so much hate against the Aquinos and Leni Robredo.

This toxic disinformation has been employed to program the mind of susceptible Filipino people that they — the opposition, including the mainstream media — are the enemies of the people, while Bongbong and his family are the “true heroes” who can make the Philippines great again by continuing the “golden years” of the presidency of the deposed dictator, Ferdinand E. Marcos.

To win at all costs would also allegedly include forming the “UniTeam” — the unified forces of traditional politicians and political dynasties, including those already convicted of plunder, graft and abuse of power — all motivated to keep the status quo, hold on to power, and enrich themselves using their public post in betrayal of public trust.

To win at all costs would also allegedly include employing vote buying, using “hakot” and cheating using computer programming to ensure the Marcos and Duterte victory.

And so as we wait for the SC to decide on the two petitions, and as we wait for the Commission of Elections (Comelec) to even act on the alleged violations against the Omnibus Election Code, we look at any signs that might give us a glimmer hope that indeed, the sin of the father would not be the sin of the son.

Unfortunately, what we have been hearing and seeing now so far would make it feel like the Philippines has retrogressed back to the Marcos Sr. years.

Up to this point, Bongbong Marcos has not yet presented to the Filipino people the details of his vision, platform and programs — something that a candidate would have to start with before running for office.

But because his primary motivation is to clear the Marcos family name, he has failed to work on this number one requirement that would have been the basis of the Filipino people to make an informed decision when compared with those of other candidates running for President.

“Unity” was his answer to everything, and he did not even join any debates (except the one produced by Pastor Apollo Quiboloy’s SMNI) to face the Filipino people, the independent truth warrior journalists tasked with asking hard questions, fact checking, and scrutinizing whatever vision, platforms, and programs he was offering the nation. “Unity” does not qualify as a valid platform.

After being “president-elect”, Marcos had a “press conference,” but he did not invite members of the free independent press other than SMNI, Net25 and GMA 7 — all deemed to be “friendly” to Marcos. No hard probing questions were asked on behalf of the Filipino people who need clarity about how he would run the country in the next six years.

Bongbong could not even articulate his plans to solve the pressing problems plaguing the nation, his foreign policy and principles on international relations, which would cover our dispute with China on our sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.

It also took him a long time to announce his appointees for cabinet positions.

Some were encouraged about his choices to lead his economic/financial team, but more are alarmed that his appointees for the other cabinet posts were chosen not because of their merit, qualification, knowledge and expertise about the departments and institution they will be heading but based on their “loyalty” to Marcos and Duterte, how they have helped him/them in this campaign. To discuss some of them:

Vice President-elect Sara Duterte was picked as Department of Education Secretary, and people are concerned about further revisionism of history in favor of the Duterte and Marcos legacies at the expense of the truth and the facts of what truly happened in our nation’s recent history.

Trixie Cruz-Angeles was appointed Press Secretary, thanks to her vlog defending Marcos by spreading disinformation. Cruz was slapped with a three-year suspension by the SC for violating provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Bongbong Marcos, however, did not designate a presidential spokesperson because he said he would be the one who would personally face the media, and his non transparency during the campaign period is a red flag.

Broadcaster Erwin Tulfo was appointed Secretary of Department of Social Welfare and Development, bypassing career officials in the department. The Tulfo brothers were staunch Marcos and Duterte supporters.

Worse, Tourism Secretary Bernas Romulo-Puyat confirmed that the P60 million in ad placement fees paid to Ben Tulfo’s Bitag Media has not yet been returned to the department. As ABS-CBN News reported, state auditors flagged the payment for “possible conflict of interest” because the former tourism chief, Wanda Teo, is Tulfo’s sister. The Tulfos have not returned the money despite their declaration to do so. Duterte

Transparency and accountability are two important principles that are required in democracy as they keep the public servants in check, knowing that they are NOT above the law, and should therefore be embodied by public officials even during the campaign period.

If they could not be honest and transparent during the campaign , what more could we expect from them when they are accorded public trust and the power of the office they are voted and/or appointed to?

What would be our basis of knowing that they are not abusing their power, especially when it comes to handling taxpayers money? How can they be held accountable if the people who surround them are their family members and political allies?

How can Bongbong Marcos lead a country toward the eradication of graft and corruption when his own family has not been made accountable for their transgressions against the country?

How can we end impunity in the Philippines when Marcos himself would say we need to forget the past despite the abuse of power of public officials, who continue to be accorded so much power by being in government, including the Marcos and Duterte families and their minions? How could there ever be justice under the Marcos presidency?

* * *

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

* * *

Gel Santos Relos has been in news, talk, public service and educational broadcasting since 1989. She was a news anchor, TV host and radio commentator and public service host for ABS- CBN and DZMM. She is now working on her advocacies independently, serving the Filipino audience using different  media platforms. You may contact her through email at [email protected], or send her a message via Facebook at Facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos. Also on Twitter, Instagram: Gel Santos Relos


Gel Santos Relos

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com and www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos

The Filipino-American Community Newspaper. Your News. Your Community. Your Journal. Since 1991.

Copyright © 1991-2024 Asian Journal Media Group.
All Rights Reserved.