The Marcos Magic

The Marcos Magic

The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.

— Greek Athenian philosopher Socrates

IF elections were held today, it’s going to be a hands-down win for the son of the late president Ferdinand Edralin Marcos Sr.

But despite the positive indications of a Bongbong Marcos victory in the forthcoming polls on May 9 (the current year), election candidates will have to hit the hustings today, February 8, for the official start of the campaign period.

Still, the son and namesake of the former president who ruled the country for 20 years, is leading the presidential race as he seeks the ultimate revival of his family’s tainted name.

Among the aspirants vying for more than 18,000 elected positions are political scions, celebrities, and even ex-convicts, with most of them interested in emulating the authoritarian style of governance promoted by the firebrand former mayor of Davao City Rodrigo Roa Duterte, whose six-year presidency hit and criticized for foul-mouthed tirades and a bloody drug war but has continued to garner public approval in unprecedented levels.

And now, after more than 35 years, numerous surveys have shown that the strongman’s son, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (BBM), is heading towards a landslide victory aided by a free massive social media show of support in the form of vloggers on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok.

BBM’s candidacy is boosted by a formidable alliance with presidential daughter and charismatic Davao City mayor ‘Inday’ Sara Duterte-Carpio, who like her father is likewise tagged as another ‘firebrand’ leader—this time on the distaff side—and is running for the second-highest post in the land.

Accepted by most as one of the most polarizing figures in the country today—wrought with problems of poverty, unemployment, health, and other priority concerns—Marcos Jr. has vowed: “to unify the country and give (his) fellow countrymen the future that they deserve.”

Yet efforts to disqualify BBM over a decades-old tax conviction sparked a public spat between election officials, while allegations of cocaine-snorting and corruption among presidential candidates have fuelled a political atmosphere of chaos and confusion amidst downright skulduggery.

But in the end, personality will trump politics for many of the roughly 65 million voters deciding who to support and finally choose to vote on May 9.

Still, a victory for Marcos Jr. would mark the ultimate political comeback for his controversial clan, which was chased into exile in Hawaii after his father’s humiliating downfall in 1986.

BBM’s father, for all its worth, had brought prestige and well-being to the Filipino nation. His personality and leadership was clear—that of achieving for the Philippines a status in Asia as the continent’s leading Catholic democracy.

And I recall a (tall) tale by the late Roger Peyuan, who was a staunch Marcos loyalist, being a close aide of the First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos. Ka Roger told us that being often with Marcos; he often noticed that black attaché case Bongbong’s father was wont to carry around and to which key was kept in Ferdinand Sr.’s pocket close to his gun. Everyone wanted to know what was inside it, including the First Lady, but no one dared touch it and moreover open and discover what was hidden within.

It was only when the so-called dictator died in Hawaii that Ka Roger, he said, took the courage to open the attaché case (with the goading, of course, from the Iron Butterfly).

On reaching this part of the story, we listeners were already on edge—excited to find out what was inside.

With a mischievous smile, Ka Roger revealed the secret: inside was a huge cross, the Philippine flag and a picture of Imelda. It all meant that until the last moment, Marcos Sr. had actually thought of his death and when people discovered what was inside his precious valise, they would inadvertently believe that Marcos had God, country, and family in his heart and mind until he died.

This is what we call the Marcos Magic . . .


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