Some 35 years after the ouster of strongman Ferdinand Marcos, Filipinos, it seems, have not really moved on.
We continue to be bugged by the same issue year in and year out, election after election, administration after administration.
Between 1986 to 2016, elections almost always centered between the contending forces of the Marcos and Aquino camps who have made it a point to fight their perennial proxy wars.
In 1986 alone, there was no conclusive outcome on who really won the snap elections, as Marcos claimed victory, while Cory Aquino’s forces pointed to the massive cheating on the part of the late dictator, leading to the highly-acclaimed People Power revolution.
With Juan Ponce Enrile, one of the architects of that bloodless coup himself verifying the cheating allegations, Cory ascended to the presidency that was, however, tumultuous from the start.
The 1992 elections, right after Cory’s term, could have been won by the Marcos camp, if only Imelda Marcos, widow of the strongman, had not run. Danding Cojuangco could have easily won by plurality over Miriam Santiago and Fidel Ramos, who, through Roquito Ablan, convinced Imelda to run against Danding. Imelda is known to have a rift with him then.
We all know how the highly-popular Joseph Estrada convincingly won the 1998 elections after Ramos’ term, but as fate would have it, he failed to finish his term on account of the jueteng scandal that forced him to step down in 2001 to be replaced by his vice president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
In the run-up to that fateful event, when it looked like Estrada would be acquitted during the impeachment trial, the yellow opposition group then mustered enough protests to bring down Estrada over perceived corruption, the first to be impeached and tried by the Senate. It resulted in People Power 2, otherwise known as the triumph of mob rule over the rule of law.
So, it was clear then that the yellows would do anything to subvert the will of the people just to meet their ends. In 2010, when Noynoy Aquino took over the helm of government after a resounding victory in the elections, critics slammed his personal vendetta over his political enemies who were charged and detained on plunder charges.
Today, the rift is between those who favor the strongman rule of President Duterte and the so-called decent liberal ideology of the yellow opposition. Duterte, by admission, had said Marcos is his idol.
The ruling PDP Laban has put up the tandem of former top cop Senator Ronald “Bato” de la Rosa and Senator Christopher “Bong” Go who espouses continuity of the programs of Duterte. The opposition has endorsed the candidacy of Vice President Leni Robredo in tandem with Kiko Pangilinan of the Liberal Party (LP).
Although Robredo is running as an independent, she remains to be the titular head of the LP. She has adopted pink as her political color to disassociate herself from the much-maligned yellows.
In between the contending forces are three other candidates — Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, boxing icon Manny Pacquiao and Senator Ping Lacson — who could change the dynamics of next year’s polls. Of course, the son and namesake of the former dictator is also there, out to trace the road back to Malacañang.
With six declared candidates, it looks like we would have another plurality president in our midst next year. And the proxy war between the yellows and the reds is expected to go on unless any of the three in-between candidates — Pacquiao, Domagoso and Lacson — wins.
This is not far-fetched though, as both the opposition and the administration forces are seemingly in disarray.
Do we see the end of this political rivalry anytime soon?
Domagoso couldn’t have described it more aptly when he said in a reply to a Robredo remark that his stand on the Marcos family was a non-negotiable in their failed unity talks.
“Marcos na naman? Bakit kailangang uminog ang mundo namin ngayon sa away ng Marcos at Aquino? (Marcos again? Why does our world have to revolve around the feud between the Marcoses and the Aquinos),” Domagoso said.
True enough, moving on could be our next best option out of this mess.