A Tale of Two Presidents

A Tale of Two Presidents

Growing up as the son of a president, newly installed President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. grew up learning what leadership is all about under the tutelage of his father, the late president Ferdinand Edralin Marcos Sr. (Photograph courtesy of FB/BBM)

It is not flesh and blood, but the heart that makes us fathers and sons.

— German playwright Johann Friedrich Von Schiller

(First of Four Parts)

ONCE upon a time, in a land blessed with a glorious sunset and a people endowed with talent and perseverance, a father rose to the pinnacle of national leadership.

And today, his son also rises but now in a land suffering from poverty and inequity, graft and corruption, and despair aggravated by crisis upon crisis. Yet he brings hope and his people look to the dawn of a new and promising leadership where they would overcome their hardships and begin to experience well-being and prosperity.

It is said that on an early morning, sometime in the second week of May, the soft-spoken former senator was at his father’s tomb at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB), the nation’s cemetery for heroes, in Taguig. So much a dutiful son to his father, he had prayed to his tátang and somehow conversed with him, albeit in words only he could hear deep in the recesses of his own mind. Since his father’s remains had been transferred and buried with honors at the LNMB with the approval of President Rodrigo Duterte, he had made periodic visits but this morning’s ritual was far from routine.

The son’s hope was that he had done well in the eyes of his father. “Guide me, under the watchful eyes of the Almighty as I undertake this most difficult period in my life and in the history of our nation,” this could have been what was in his mind at that opportune moment.

The man in deep thought and supplication was Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr.– the namesake of his famous father, the late president Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, who served the Filipino nation for more than two decades from December 1965 until February 1986.

Just several hours earlier, it was evident from the election tallies that more than 31 million Filipinos chose Bongbong Marcos as their leader, as the 17th President of the Republic. It was no easy feat as he had to hurdle obstacles not faced normally by any candidate — a disqualification petition by his detractors based on nonpayment of taxes, the ghost of his past that said his father was a dictator who abused the mandate given to him by the people and his alleged lackluster performance as a senator.

Still, with the results coming in from the canvassing of election returns, Bongbong’s voter support was more than double that was obtained by vice president Maria Leonor ‘Leni’ Robredo, his closest rival for the presidency and the one who beat him in his vice presidential bid in the 2016 polls.

And more significantly, Bongbong was now poised to grab the distinction of garnering an overwhelming majority of votes, the first president to do so under the 1987 Constitution.

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