By BENJIE OLIVEROS
Too many things have been happening lately that may be a portent of worse things to come.
First is the cold-blooded murder of a 17-year old student Kian Delos Santos. People were enraged at the brazenness, brutality, and inhumanity of it all. The murder of young Kian could have been covered up as another case of an alleged drug pusher killed for resisting arrest. But CCTV footage, from the barangay (village), showed the cops carrying Kian, who was pleading for his life, before mercilessly killing him and planting the purported evidence. The Philippine National Police (PNP) tried desperately to justify the murder. The PNP was so desperate that they made the absurd claim that they got their intelligence report from Facebook posts.
Second is the fishy declaration of President Duterte and his minion House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez that the Marcos family is willing to return to the government money and gold bars worth millions of dollars (when they have stolen billions of dollars). This, after President Duterte announced earlier that he plans to abolish the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), which the late President Corazon Aquino created through Executive Order No. 1 to recover the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family.
The supposed deal with the Marcos family and the planned abolition of the PCGG appear to be advantageous to the political, nay presidential, ambitions of the late dictator’s son and namesake Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. Long before the 2016 elections, Bongbong Marcos, in speeches and through his well-financed team in social media, has been trying to revise history by making false claims about the purported “golden years” of the country under the Martial Law of his late dictator father.
That President Duterte is helping Bongbong Marcos is not surprising. The President has made no secret about his admiration for the late dictator. He even declared during his presidential campaign that if elected and unable to finish his term, he would gladly leave the reins of government to Bongbong. Duterte would have declared Bongbong to be his running mate if then Senator Alan Peter Cayetano was not the first to ask him to be his vice presidential candidate.
Third, is the continuing martial law in Mindanao. The National Capital Region, specifically the University of the Philippines – Diliman campus is once again the host of a Lakbayan of national minority peoples and groups from all over the country. This is the third year of the Lakbayan. But this year’s Lakbayan has a special significance: it will be the broadest protest action against martial law in Mindanao, the continuing destruction of the Islamic City of Marawi, and the worsening state of the residents of the city who have been without homes since the fighting erupted last May 23. It is a protest action to fight for democracy, against the threat of the return of a dictatorship in the country, for human rights, and for the dignity of the people of Marawi, as well as the Lumad who have been under constant attack by the military.
This year’s Lakbayan would aptly culminate in a protest action on the day Martial Law was formally declared 45 years ago.
The threat of a return of a dictatorship has never been so real as it is today, with the worsening impunity in killings and human rights violations, the attempts of the Marcos family, specifically Bongbong, to revise history by whitewashing the Marcos dictatorship and regain the seat of power, and the continuing martial law and attacks on the Bangsamoro and Lumad peoples in Mindanao.