Nuffnang

Search This Blog

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Chapter 32 - The Flight


Chapter 32
The Flight

          That Ferdinand Marcos was already considered a terminal case on the remaining few months of 1985 was mere platitude among many observers.  Words even circulated around that Uncle Sam was merely waiting in the wings any opportune time most likely when to drop him without forcing the latter to stage harakiri  running around berserk.  Dropping him like hot potato was indeed seems eminent as Uncle Sam had no other choice as multitude of Filipinos was breath away from victory already pressing Malacañang main entrance. But not to the man himself who was still capable of pulling some surprises from under his sleeves.         
            He was not even afraid  of the rebel forces whose numbers bloated to 22,500 more than half  in 1985 from measly 10,500 in 1983 in roughly two year’s armed combatant expansion. How much more that time  he was  still in power with all the support of the military.
             “Sick joke,” Marcos must be mumbling  against those pressing him to give up.  He still has all those aces stuck under his sleeve and would be ready picking  them up when the need arises  to quell the fire of  rebellion, must have been also his make believe battle cry.  Well said  for  as far as the Apo is concerned, it was not yet  time to recapitulate let alone, die pure and simple not knowing that time for reckoning of his past was fast approaching as seen from the seas of multitude  gradually swelling advancing to Malacañang to hand over their verdict. 
            “How could he afford  sleeping away anyway when tons of money scattered throughout the world great bulk of which were securely deposited in Swiss Banks whose secrecy has been legend since World War I. Germany, Haiti, Iran and the Philippines to name a few have opened an account there only that those depositors are no ordinary mortals,” Driarco analyzed.  Imelda Marcos’ anathema on February 2005 seems prophetic when she alarmed Switzerland that they don’t have any business to open and  take the money that doesn’t belong to them in the same vein when she cautioned US no right of using power on foreigners specially their Filipino friends! And her bombshell against those critics alleging the use of tortures during her husband’s twenty years in power torturing political dissidents. 
             “We did not even pinch any human right victim.”
            “It sucks!” Driarco easily responded.
             “That as far as she is concerned. If she could only look at those graphics showing systematic torture, she would easily swallow her alibi faster than she would swallow her saliva!” he retorted reeling.
            “Think of Lakay Ferdie and beautiful Imelda who methodically rob  the country’s wealth blind,  clean and dry  with impunity leaving it poor owing $28 Billion debt to World Bank and IMF as they leave their power behind while they enjoy ironically with much gusto their celebrated loot at will. It’s no ordinary feat for Juan to do it.  But they both did it extra-ordinary,” his thoughts further carried him onward.
             Carmen Pedrosa, a columnist would later write “The Conjugal Dictatorship” narrating in graphic account how the first couple did it. The other book “The Untold Story of Imelda Romualdez Marcos” is such other engrossing book relating the dramatic fairy-tale story of  Imelda from a mere bodega girl to a canteen girl in the Senate before  then Congressman Marcos was smitten by her charm. The rest so to speak was history as she would soon morphed into a multi-millionaire catching up with the world’s wealthiest Joneses.
            Holding on for dear life, not even his deteriorating health gradually taking its toll  could force him  yielding  his celebrated loot.  Kidney was no doubt methodically making  Marcos’ life difficult. His puffy face tells it all  seen in many TV appearances sapping his strength gradually like a cankerous cancer eating meticulously his vital flesh.  This proves to one and all that as citizens of the world, he is also dispensable like all the rest of creation.  Aware that time is pushing him against the wall, he surprisingly called for a snap election few months later. That was in February of 1986.
Unfortunately, that call proved to be his last undoing, a kiss of death to his undefeated political career sealing his honeymoon with politics beyond his wildest imagination. The Filipinos were robbed off of victory alleging Cory Aquino’s camp rigging off the result of election favoring of course Ninoy Aquino’s widow. Ergo, wasting no time,  he had Tolentino, his running mate, and himself proclaimed as winning candidates in Malacañng balcony of course mostly his loyalists in attendance. 
            “Good grief Charlie Brown! It was the first time  that the Philippines had ever two Presidents,” Driarco exclaimed learning the story in newspapers and TV.
             Sadly though, it confirms to be Marcos’ last hurrah as thousands of  Filipinos were already pressing Malacañang’s gate to probably deliver the final coup ‘d grace. Seething with anger accumulating over the years, they were seemingly out for the biggest kill against the greatest plunderer of the nation.  Seeing the great multitude cutting barb wires amidst guns and cannons so to speak, probably finally convinced Marcos of eating his words that not all 60 million population are that cowards prompting him  staging his last and graceful exit from Malacañang palace and the country. 
            Good that at least he did not succumb to the unsolicited advice from Gen. Ver, his once trusted servant leapfrogging into a rabid Marcos General and loyalist, to bomb Camp Aguinaldo where the mutineers led by Enrile and Fidel Ramos and thousand others holed in.  And or EDSA whose 54 kilometers were filled with people from all walks of life.
            “Who says that Judas is only in the bible giving headache to Jesus.  He was right there in the Philippines too reincarnated in Camp Aguinaldo  that time doing great service and favor to Filipino people, a treachery to Lakay Ferdie.,” Driarco thinking  aloud and simply amused more than restless over the ever unpredictable environment.
            What would have been considered a historical disgrace to the ailing President incredibly became his last saving grace interpreted by Post Martial Law Media. That delighting mostly many loyalists’ camp of course. One thing was sure though, freedom was back and people could speak their minds raving and ranting  on different issues without any fear and tremble.
             “That’s why there still that tag  of greatness attached to his name,” says a Marcos loyalist forever rightfully intoned. 
            Maybe.  Unknown though to him and great many others is the fact that it was not definitely advisable  blowing up Camp Aguinaldo into bits and pieces let alone cooling off the intensity of People Power gaining momentum sustained by peoples  power coming alive along Epifanio del los Santos Avenue or EDSA  providing  him excellent and legitimate excuse of sneaking out from the palace.  He would have been roasted alive by the Filipinos he exploited had White House did not intervene.
            “No thanks to Pentagon connection for showing great mercy sparing Apo Ferdie’s life his hoarded gold and other amassed wealth included’” he snapped back in consolation.
            “Hail, hail the gangs all here. What a heck together in this stormy weather. . . .” Ka Ferdie, the Cojuangco’s, Bendicto’s and the rest of Alibaba’s entourage might have sang merrily while aboard that American jet plane shopping safer country.
            “Oh no Poaoy men not Hawaii!,” Marcos might have begged and exclaimed griping as he and the first lady were escorted by an American servicemen down  to Honolulu tarmac. This was on Feb. 26, 1986. Asian Journal recorded the following luggage  after few hours Marcos party landed in Honolulu:
                       “300 crates on board C-141 cargo jet. .. took 25 custom officers five hours
                 to tag the bags and identify the contents.  . . . There were 278 crates of jewelry
                 and art worth an estimated US45 million. 22 crates contained more than  
                 Ph27.7million in newly minted currency, mostly hundred-peso denominations
                 worth approximately US$1,270,000.00 . . . . certificates of deposit from
                 Philippine banks worth about US$1 million, 5 handguns, 154 videotapes, 
                 17 cassette tapes and 2,068 pages of documents . . . .”

            Driarco was disoriented of the figures and facts learned. But surely of course, such properties were just the tip of an iceberg.
            The same feather flocks together. Thus, he joins the likes of Baby Duc Duvalier of Haiti, Shah Pavlavi of Iran, Anastacio Somoza of Nicaragua and later Noriega of Panama driven out from their own country by their own people becoming  stranger of paradise in other lands.  The damages seems to be deeply imbedded to Filipino psyche that Pinoys have summoned even enough guts in having the dead body of the dictator double killed by blocking its  return for burial in the Philippines.  Though incessant lobbying though by several camps, Apo Ferdie finally became an additional fertilizer to the Philippines’ ground in Laoag much later not until his double in exquisite wax  was  displayed in  Aglipayan Church right across their residence in Batac, Ilocos Sur.
. . . . . . . . . . .
            No doubt, the nine long years of military rule was a nightmare to Juan.  “If I were dreaming about it, I would rather not wake up until I have dreamed it away from my consciousness,” Driarco opined.  So many lives were wasted from academe to the church, labor unions to farmers, students to enlisted men  and ordinary citizens to civilians. It’s just what militarization is capable of doing. Treasured intuitions too collapsed one after the other.  To aggravate the problem, the country was held captive by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and their Filipino cohorts practically ramming down into Juan’s mouth what to do with his economy from levying of additional burdensome taxes from beleaguered tax payers to prompt payment of his financial obligation.  Debt cap has been rallied only to get categorical “No!” answer from those powerful international Monetary bodies. Juan suffers all the more.
            “Most unlikely, you can just even request for a moratorium of your obligation unless you’d like to have your economy strangled squeezed to death by IMF the way it did to other countries like those in Latin American countries like Brazil, Peru and Argentina,” an authority of the subject once emphasized.
           Pulling off surprising victory on the just concluded snap election notwithstanding the claim on the contrary by the opposing camp that Marcos and Tolentino  actually won, she finally set the tone of her administration opening the Malacanang to the general viewing public exposing the extravagance of the first couple. “Gee, how could the first couple can ill afford living that lavish life while millions of Filipinos were naked, starved to death and homeless,” Juan exclaimed seeing the ostentatious display of wealth inside the palace.
            He who runs away during a fight naturally lost, was how Sen. Rene Saguisag justifies the legality of Cory’s victory in one of his appearance in Dong Puno’s highly rated Viewpoint’s talk show. Just like in cockfights in other words. But it was not a cockfight, but an election, the opposing gentleman would openly argue against.  So what, Juan might probably intervene. He has been deprived of basic necessities in life, decent living in his own land for so long. Enough is enough. It’s time to welcome the widow that is Cory to provide the necessary lift.
            True enough, she did great favor to Juan by giving him back his security and freedom to live mangled by Marcos. As categorically declared in her inaugural address on the 25th of February to be magnanimous in victory, she released the first batch of 441 detainees and 39 prisoners in her third day of office.  Horacio Morales, Fr. Ed de le Torre and Lt. Victor Corpus, an erstwhile professor at Philippine Military Academy in Baguio turned renegade head the lists of political detainees were released.  The next batch included Jose Maria Sison, Bernabe Buscayno and many others.  To prevent arbitrary arrests and detention of ordinary citizens, she restored the writ of habeas corpus, brazenly suspended by Marcos. Defanging the  military, she had twenty two overstaying generals including Gen. Fabian Ver, axed by ordering them forcefully retired.  What more could Filipinos ask for from a widow?
            Undoubtedly, the restoration of democracy buried in the quagmire by the late dictator was swift gradually restoring  too Juan’s normal breathing spree  savoring anew the  freshness of democracy.  She also formed the Presidential Commission on Human Rights.  Though devoid of any police power, it helped every Filipino seek redress  against any human right violators.  After her declaration of provisional  or revolutionary government, she went on proclaiming the creation of Constitutional Commission primarily tasked in formulating  draft of Constitution after thorough consultation with Filipino people in a national consensus scale all throughout the country.  Successfully ratified, it would later became  law of the land stipulating all those principles of  effective and legal governance.
            The transition from dictatorial to democratic was not all beds and roses though for Juan.  Dwindling economy, $28 Billion IMF debt, sporadic hostilities between the reds and military, bloated bureaucracy, possible resurgence of fascist rule given the power and unpredictability of Marcos’ loyalists camp, termination of Military Bases Agreement, internecine strife of Muslims’ for autonomy and independence in Mindanao,  above all else bread and butter for Juan painted a rather challenging and narrow path for peace and development.
            One of her drawback though was when she declared the controversial and problematic $2.3 Billion  Bataan Nuclear Power Plant not her priority concern. Such unpopular decision and gesture  boomeranged to her administration waning gradually her popularity giving pressures to nationalists block and opposition in the House of Congress and Senate.  This white elephant build yet over a volcanic area draining taxpayers money as the country pays millions of pesos in interest alone daily should have really been addressed.  And there’s no other way to do it than really facing  and addressing  the problem squarely. When this would be however, is yet to be seen as she was top heavy and preoccupied with enormous problems inherited from Marcos.
            Obviously, the homework for President Cory Aquino  was huge and difficult. But  there’s no other way out  than really facing  and start solving it.  Gratefully,  democratic space was all there left for consultation. It’s all what Cory and the people need to move on. It’s what Juan badly needs as he was once deprived  during military rule, many starved to death that he has no recourse but to go up in the hills.
            The 1,200,000 signatories started it all proving to one and all that Filipinos are not that stupid and ignorant and that given the chance to shine, could turn any events upside down such as restoration of democracy not through the barrel of a gun but through the power of the ballots in an election.
            “It’s time to participate not just support because supporting is merely saliva power.”
“Nothing is indeed worthwhile than really serving the country.  That Filipinos have shown to the whole world how to introduce sweeping change through people’s power without any bloodshed is no ordinary feat. Juan just did it with minimum damage if  at all, to the claim of the contrary,” the consoling thought giving him fleeting contentment.
            Again the transition was far from over.  This is the challenge facing every Filipino today. Indiscriminate firing would still fill the air unabated if there would be no sincerity of working out lasting peace for both camps. Ceasefire would just be in papers only, no substance whatsoever if only summoned during Christmas and holidays.  Such would be tragedy for democracy. As such the next generation might soon wake up only to just died down without seeing the dawn of genuine democracy let alone, worked out and practiced.  We will never fail.  How could we when we have not even tried and worked it, one columnist would succinctly puts it. Perhaps, the Brother’s Four relevant question would still be asked:  When would we ever learn, when would we ever learn?
            While there is still time to do and act or when we have ourselves already blown into bits and pieces as Aldous Huxley puts it bravely fictionalized in his “The Brave New World”. Let us be therefore  all be brave but not at the expense of squeezing each other’s throat but by building better working human relationship between and among us Filipinos.  After all, we belong to the same race, creed and living in the same nation eating the same food in this rice and corn eating republic.
            Earlier, it has been noticeably observed that the lists of casualties of past dictatorship was long. No doubt on that. Fr. Driacro, Taklin and the rest of the gang were just part of the great multitude sacrificed for the freedom of the country.  The trend is still progressing and that should preoccupied everybody’s mind as it seems we have not exorcised the country’s evil yet.  Think for instance of the statistics gathered by Task force Detainees. It’s alarming to Juan painting black scenario around him – 4.5 million children affected or exposed to the conflict, 10 million people killed, injured, sick or displaced by the conflict. The saddest reality one has to grapple with is that those who received the worst beatings are mostly civilians from poorest regions.  To top it all around 120,000 were already displace evacuees rivaling boatpeople of Vietnam in Bataan and Palawan.  Internal refugees, that’s what Juan would commonly call unfortunately in his own homeland.
            How to stop this senseless killings is precisely the challenge hurl to each one of us.  No use wasting lives. It’s only given once.  Live it abundantly, advised St. Paul. How, Juan asked . What else but no more Martial Law, the original root cause of all evil and abnormalities.  Hence, post Martial Law babies and those who suffer included beware – No  More Militarization! It pays to be living in democratic country.  But I think the brightest place to live is when you reap dividends like lasting peace. Democracy just doesn’t thrive in a hostile environment.  It does to a free country.  Yes,  a Filipino can.  Why not indeed. Be a crusader yourself of peace. Join the silent majority. We will never fail. Overwhelm any division and strife around. Just stand up and be one!’
            Driarco finally stop pounding his typewriter thinking he has bare his soul out and done his part. It was time for  the critics to comment to his piece. As he marked his character and individuality in it, it’s time to listen to feedback from the right eyes and see what might be done to improve his piece. And devil may care. He doesn’t mind for as long as he already delivered his best shot. Closing with a short prayer, he paused with a consoling  thought that his message of peace in this magnum opus would reverberate saturating the entire 7,100 island of the archipelago with his Peace! On that note, he could now afford sleeping peacefully without fear.

. . . . . . . . . . .
           
            No doubt, the nine long years of military rule was a nightmare to Juan.  “If I were dreaming about it, I would rather not wake up until I have dreamed it away from my consciousness,” Driarco opined.  So many lives were wasted from academe to the church, labor unions to farmers, students to enlisted men  and ordinary citizens to civilians. It’s just what militarization is capable of doing. Treasured intuitions too collapsed one after the other.  To aggravate the problem, the country was held captive by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and their Filipino cohorts practically ramming down into Juan’s mouth what to do with his economy from levying of additional burdensome taxes from beleaguered tax payers to prompt payment of his financial obligation.  Debt cap has been rallied only to get categorical “No!” answer from those powerful international Monetary bodies. Juan suffers all the more.
            “Most unlikely, you can just even request for a moratorium of your obligation unless you’d like to have your economy strangled squeezed to death by IMF the way it did to other countries like those in Latin American countries like Brazil, Peru and Argentina,” an authority of the subject once emphasized.
           Pulling off surprising victory on the just concluded snap election notwithstanding the claim on the contrary by the opposing camp that Marcos and Tolentino  actually won, she finally set the tone of her administration opening the Malacanang to the general viewing public exposing the extravagance of the first couple. “Gee, how could the first couple can ill afford living that lavish life while millions of Filipinos were naked, starved to death and homeless,” Juan exclaimed seeing the ostentatious display of wealth inside the palace.
            He who runs away during a fight naturally lost, was how Sen. Rene Saguisag justifies the legality of Cory’s victory in one of his appearance in Dong Puno’s highly rated Viewpoint’s talk show. Just like in cockfights in other words. But it was not a cockfight, but an election, the opposing gentleman would openly argue against.  So what, Juan might probably intervene. He has been deprived of basic necessities in life, decent living in his own land for so long. Enough is enough. It’s time to welcome the widow that is Cory to provide the necessary lift.
            True enough, she did great favor to Juan by giving him back his security and freedom to live mangled by Marcos. As categorically declared in her inaugural address on the 25th of February to be magnanimous in victory, she released the first batch of 441 detainees and 39 prisoners in her third day of office.  Horacio Morales, Fr. Ed de le Torre and Lt. Victor Corpus, an erstwhile professor at Philippine Military Academy in Baguio turned renegade head the lists of political detainees were released.  The next batch included Jose Maria Sison, Bernabe Buscayno and many others.  To prevent arbitrary arrests and detention of ordinary citizens, she restored the writ of habeas corpus, brazenly suspended by Marcos. Defanging the  military, she had twenty two overstaying generals including Gen. Fabian Ver, axed by ordering them forcefully retired.  What more could Filipinos ask for from a widow?
            Undoubtedly, the restoration of democracy buried in the quagmire by the late dictator was swift gradually restoring  too Juan’s normal breathing spree  savoring anew the  freshness of democracy.  She also formed the Presidential Commission on Human Rights.  Though devoid of any police power, it helped every Filipino seek redress  against any human right violators.  After her declaration of provisional  or revolutionary government, she went on proclaiming the creation of Constitutional Commission primarily tasked in formulating  draft of Constitution after thorough consultation with Filipino people in a national consensus scale all throughout the country.  Successfully ratified, it would later became  law of the land stipulating all those principles of  effective and legal governance.
            The transition from dictatorial to democratic was not all beds and roses though for Juan.  Dwindling economy, $28 Billion IMF debt, sporadic hostilities between the reds and military, bloated bureaucracy, possible resurgence of fascist rule given the power and unpredictability of Marcos’ loyalists camp, termination of Military Bases Agreement, internecine strife of Muslims’ for autonomy and independence in Mindanao,  above all else bread and butter for Juan painted a rather challenging and narrow path for peace and development.
            One of her drawback though was when she declared the controversial and problematic $2.3 Billion  Bataan Nuclear Power Plant not her priority concern. Such unpopular decision and gesture  boomeranged to her administration waning gradually her popularity giving pressures to nationalists block and opposition in the House of Congress and Senate.  This white elephant build yet over a volcanic area draining taxpayers money as the country pays millions of pesos in interest alone daily should have really been addressed.  And there’s no other way to do it than really facing  and addressing  the problem squarely. When this would be however, is yet to be seen as she was top heavy and preoccupied with enormous problems inherited from Marcos.
            Obviously, the homework for President Cory Aquino  was huge and difficult. But  there’s no other way out  than really facing  and start solving it.  Gratefully,  democratic space was all there left for consultation. It’s all what Cory and the people need to move on. It’s what Juan badly needs as he was once deprived  during military rule, many starved to death that he has no recourse but to go up in the hills.
            The 1,200,000 signatories started it all proving to one and all that Filipinos are not that stupid and ignorant and that given the chance to shine, could turn any events upside down such as restoration of democracy not through the barrel of a gun but through the power of the ballots in an election.
            “It’s time to participate not just support because supporting is merely saliva power.”
“Nothing is indeed worthwhile than really serving the country.  That Filipinos have shown to the whole world how to introduce sweeping change through people’s power without any bloodshed is no ordinary feat. Juan just did it with minimum damage if  at all, to the claim of the contrary,” the consoling thought giving him fleeting contentment.
            Again the transition was far from over.  This is the challenge facing every Filipino today. Indiscriminate firing would still fill the air unabated if there would be no sincerity of working out lasting peace for both camps. Ceasefire would just be in papers only, no substance whatsoever if only summoned during Christmas and holidays.  Such would be tragedy for democracy. As such the next generation might soon wake up only to just died down without seeing the dawn of genuine democracy let alone, worked out and practiced.  We will never fail.  How could we when we have not even tried and worked it, one columnist would succinctly puts it. Perhaps, the Brother’s Four relevant question would still be asked:  When would we ever learn, when would we ever learn?
            While there is still time to do and act or when we have ourselves already blown into bits and pieces as Aldous Huxley puts it bravely fictionalized in his “The Brave New World”. Let us be therefore  all be brave but not at the expense of squeezing each other’s throat but by building better working human relationship between and among us Filipinos.  After all, we belong to the same race, creed and living in the same nation eating the same food in this rice and corn eating republic.
            Earlier, it has been noticeably observed that the lists of casualties of past dictatorship was long. No doubt on that. Fr. Driacro, Taklin and the rest of the gang were just part of the great multitude sacrificed for the freedom of the country.  The trend is still progressing and that should preoccupied everybody’s mind as it seems we have not exorcised the country’s evil yet.  Think for instance of the statistics gathered by Task force Detainees. It’s alarming to Juan painting black scenario around him – 4.5 million children affected or exposed to the conflict, 10 million people killed, injured, sick or displaced by the conflict. The saddest reality one has to grapple with is that those who received the worst beatings are mostly civilians from poorest regions.  To top it all around 120,000 were already displace evacuees rivaling boatpeople of Vietnam in Bataan and Palawan.  Internal refugees, that’s what Juan would commonly call unfortunately in his own homeland.
            How to stop this senseless killings is precisely the challenge hurl to each one of us.  No use wasting lives. It’s only given once.  Live it abundantly, advised St. Paul. How, Juan asked . What else but no more Martial Law, the original root cause of all evil and abnormalities.  Hence, post Martial Law babies and those who suffer included beware – No  More Militarization! It pays to be living in democratic country.  But I think the brightest place to live is when you reap dividends like lasting peace. Democracy just doesn’t thrive in a hostile environment.  It does to a free country.  Yes,  a Filipino can.  Why not indeed. Be a crusader yourself of peace. Join the silent majority. We will never fail. Overwhelm any division and strife around. Just stand up and be one!’
            Driarco finally stop pounding his typewriter thinking he has bare his soul out and done his part. It was time for  the critics to comment to his piece. As he marked his character and individuality in it, it’s time to listen to feedback from the right eyes and see what might be done to improve his piece. And devil may care. He doesn’t mind for as long as he already delivered his best shot. Closing with a short prayer, he paused with a consoling  thought that his message of peace in this magnum opus would reverberate saturating the entire 7,100 island of the archipelago with his Peace! On that note, he could now afford sleeping peacefully without fear.



No comments:

Post a Comment