It is uncanny that each time the country remembers the declaration of Martial Law and the conjugal dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos 47 years ago, some purely coincidental events happen which tend to recall the excesses of the Marcos regime and trigger antagonistic reactions from victims of the despotic rule.
Last week, social media reported that former Senator and defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos lost in the election protest before the Supreme Court sitting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal. To recall, Marcos ran for vice president in tandem with former Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago in the 2016 national elections. He was ahead in the initial canvass but in the end lost to the eventual winner,Liberal Party stalwart Leonor “Leni” Robredo by a slim margin of 263,473 votes.
In June 29, 2016 Marcos challenged Robredo’s win by going all the way to the Supreme Court questioning the results in 27 cities and provinces composed of 32,221 clustered precincts. In practical terms this was an unwieldy number for a manual recount so the High Court ordered him to identify 3 pilot provinces where he felt widespread cheating took place.
If Marcos could substantially recover supposedly lost votes in Iloilo, Negros Occidental and Camarines Sur, three pilot provinces chosen by the protester, the SC/PET will have to conduct a nationwide recount, otherwise, the case will be dismissed according to the rules on electoral protest.
Mainstream media reported last September 10 that Supreme Court Associate Justice Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa who is in charge of the Marcos electoral protest has already submitted a report to the SC/PET but there was no action taken, whether the findings were adopted or not by the court en banc. Still, counsel for VP Robredo, lawyer Romulo Macalintal was confident the hearing commissioners or the lawyers who received and examined the ballots during the recount can confirm the victory of VP Leni Robredo.
Not only that, online news quoting sources from the High Tribunal practically upturned the scenario contemplated by Bongbong Marcos. Instead of gaining significant number of votes to override Robredo’s margin, Marcos gained only 4,191 while Robredo added 19,933 more to her tally. In which case, her over all margin, assuming NewsFront got it right, can go up to 279,215.
Hearing such developments during the Cebu Press Freedom week made me ponder on two things: One, the SC/PET as a democratic institution is working. Two, VP Leni Robredo who is a devotee of Our Lady of Penafrancia, must have prayed hard before the Virgin and her supplications have been heard. The Marian feast which fell on the 47th anniversary of Martial Law is a major cultural event in Naga City in Camarines Sur and other provinces across the Bicol region.
Another unexpected event that caused remembrances of the Martial Law period and placed the Marcoses, yet again, in a negative light is the movie, “The Kingmaker.” Directed by documentary film producer Lauren Greenfield, it premiered last month during the Venice film festival. Greenfield is said to have interviewed former First Lady and incumbent congresswoman Imelda Marcos in 2015 hoping to hear sentiments of remorse and put redemptive value to the Marcos narrative. To the filmmaker’s surprise, Mrs. Marcos not only stood by her own version of their controversial reign but defended it as well.
There’s no consensus yet from “Rotten Tomatoes,” the website for movie and TV reviews by noted film critics in the US but the site provides a synopsis:
“Centered on the indomitable character of Imelda Marcos, The Kingmaker examines, with intimate access, the Marcos family’s improbable return to power in the Philippines. The film explores the disturbing legacy of the Marcos regime and chronicles Imelda’s present-day push to help her son, Bongbong, win the vice-presidency. To this end, Imelda confidently rewrites her family’s history of corruption, replacing it with a narrative of a matriarch’s extravagant love for her country. In an age when fake news manipulates elections, Imelda’s comeback story serves as a dark fairy tale.”
The movie is set to be shown in public cinemas next year.
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