Ill-favored inauguration site

Ill-favored inauguration site

That’s the thinking, the thoughts, of one observer.

Talks are up that the inauguration of the 64-year-old President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. would be held on June 30 at the National Museum after the site had been inspected by the Marcos’ inaugural committee.

The National Museum was the third of three historical sites considered by the Marcos camp as possible inaugural venues, the first two being the Quirino Grandstand at the back of Manila Bay and Fort Santiago by the Pasig River.

Four days ago, on June 2, Press Secretary-designate, lawyer Trixie Cruz-Angeles, confirmed Marcos’ camp had picked the National Museum of the Philippines in Manila as the venue for his inauguration as the country’s 17th chief executive on June 30.

On May 25, Marcos was proclaimed by Congress as the country’s new president after winning the 2022 national elections by a landslide of 31,629,783 votes, or more than 16 million votes ahead of the closest contender, Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo.

The National Museum, after being inspected by the Marcos’ inaugural committee, was found to be the “suitable” site for Marcos’ oath-taking, Presidential Management Staff secretary-designate Zenaida “Naida” Angping said in a statement.

Angping said preparations are underway to ensure Marcos’ smooth inauguration.

“The National Museum of (the) Philippines building and its surrounding areas match our requirements for President-elect Marcos’ inauguration. Preparations are already in full swing to ensure that it will be ready by then,” she said in a press statement.

The National Museum, formerly known as the Old Legislative Building, has served as the venue for the inauguration of former presidents Manuel L. Quezon (1935), Jose P. Laurel (1943), and Manuel Roxas (1946).

It was also at the old Legislative Building where the older Ferdinand Marcos, the incoming president’s namesake, participated in debates as Minority Leader in the House of Representatives and as Senate President in the Senate where, by law, the Senate President – who happened to be Marcos at the time – proclaimed himself as the president-elect in the November 1965 elections.
The Quirino Grandstand at the sprawling Luneta Park was where the older Marcos held his inauguration as the country’s 10th president in 1965. He also had his inauguration there when he was re-elected in 1969 for another four-year term allowed under the 1935 Constitution.

This was the same Constitution that gave him, as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, to declare martial law as a last resort when there is a state of rebellion in the country.

We saw that, with activists and leftists literally knocking at the capital and burning passenger buses. But that wan an editorial for another time.

Angping said the Quirino Grandstand was not chosen as the venue for Marcos’ inauguration because the ocular inspection team had noticed that it was surrounded by several field hospitals accommodating individuals infected with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“The safety and welfare of our people are paramount. As such, we chose to avoid disrupting the medical care being given to the Covid-19 patients housed there. That’s why we opted for the National Museum as the venue,” she added.

The younger Marcos has wanted to hold his inauguration and oath-taking as the 17th president of the Philippines at the Quirino grandstand since it is the traditional site for the occasion.

Three presidents had their inauguration at different sites: Joseph Estrada at the Barasoain Church in Malolos, Bulacan; Corazon Aquino at the Club Filipino in San Juan, Metro Manila; and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo at the EDSA Shrine in Mandaluyong City.

We find it rather discomfiting that the younger Marcos’ inaugural site should be the National Museum, which another keen observer of the political scene had said that the incoming president “is not something or someone who is ready or fit to be curated for exhibition in a museum.

We find muscle in his point. Yen Makabenta, who was close to the older Marcos during the latter’s administration, had said in his Observer column: “(Bongbong Marcos’) ascent to the presidency after 36 years of exile, and his unprecedented victory in the recent election are evens in a historic saga.

“They should be celebrated, not embalmed.”

We agree that Rizal Park is the most appropriate venue for the inauguration both of Bongbong Marcos and his UniTeam vice-presidential teammate Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Both raised unity as the message of their political campaign.

They should be there together as they rally once more those who will attend physically the inaugural rites and those who will be listening to them via national television and radio.
Let the traditional and sacrosanct ground hear and watch the two together begin their six-year term under the 1987 Constitution. (ai/mtvn)

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