TagFerdinand Marcos

Between a rock and hard place …

Between a rock and hard place …” was first published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on November 5, 2016. (Pilipino version: “Nasa Pagitan ng Nag-uumpugang Bato“)

Is where the Supreme Court justices find themselves. Expected in September to rule on the interment of Ferdinand Marcos’ remains in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, they set the issuance of their ruling to October, and then to Nov. 8.

Shortly after assuming power, PRRD directed the military to prepare for the Marcos burial in the Libingan, an order forestalled by an appeal lodged at the Supreme Court. He has since said he would accept the high court’s verdict.

Notwithstanding this assurance, it is imprudent, even for members of a coequal branch of government, who presumably know the law as well as PRRD, to defy the decision of a popular president. But can they render, in deference to the President, a judgment whose wisdom future generations of lawyers will question and that will indelibly mark their respective places in the history books?

The agreement that allowed the Marcos family’s return to the Philippines included the condition that Marcos’ remains stay in his region. PRRD believes he can rescind this agreement, arguing that the Libingan, which had been established for soldiers and presidents, should make room for Marcos, who had served as both.

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Edilberto de Jesus
Edilberto de Jesus is a former Secretary of Education. He is also professor emeritus at the Asian Institute of Management.

Deadlocked over the dead

Deadlocked over the dead” was first published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on April 2, 2016 (Pilipino version: “Sukatan ng tapang ng apog“)

At their second debate, presidential candidates had to declare their stand on a policy issue– silently, by a simultaneous show of hands. On permitting the burial of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng Mga Bayani, Vice President Jojo Binay and Mayor Digong Duterte raised their hands in approval. Mar Roxas and Grace Poe did not.

The outcome was not surprising. Roxas probably shared and would respect PNoy’s opposition to a Libingan internment for Marcos. After the backlash against the suggestion that she was open to the idea, Poe backtracked and issued a clarification. Duterte had been open to taking Bongbong Marcos as his running mate.

Binay’s position requires some explanation. In 2011, PNoy asked Binay to make a recommendation on the issue. Binay said he surveyed the views of various sectors, including the political parties. None of the 130 Comelec-accredited parties responded. Binay did not reveal the results of the text and email survey, but offered a compromise: burial with full military honors, but not at the Libingan.

Not surprisingly, the compromise met with resistance. The historical record argued against burial with full military honors. In 1986, based on previously classified documents, the New York Times had already exposed Marcos’ claims of wartime heroism as “fraudulent,” “preposterous,” and “a malicious criminal act” Marcos declined invitations to respond to the story. Continue reading

Edilberto de Jesus
Edilberto de Jesus is a former Secretary of Education. He is also professor emeritus at the Asian Institute of Management.

A Gall Meter

A Gall Meter” was first published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on March 5, 2016 (Pilipino version: “Sukatan ng tapang ng apog“)

Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte sharply rebuffed the idea that presidential candidates should disclose their medical condition: “I won’t reveal my medical records. Ano ako, tanga (Am I stupid)?

Whatever malady Duterte may be suffering from, it is unlikely to be hoof-in-mouth disease. His comments, however provocative, do not appear to come from slip of tongue or mind; they seem intentionally spoken for effect.

Duterte’s response implied that voters were tanga to expect him to reveal any infirmity. But he has discovered that such comments do not invite censure; they attract amusement, media coverage, and free advertising. His approach is not likely to change. Behavior that is rewarded tends to be repeated.

Duterte is not alone in scattering sound bites that insult the electorate. With weeks of campaigning to endure, we can expect more outrageous comments directly from candidates or exposed by their critics. I propose a Gall Meter to rate which candidates produce the most galling statements that provoke among the public the sharpest spike in blood pressure or acid reflux pain.

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Edilberto de Jesus
Edilberto de Jesus is a former Secretary of Education. He is also professor emeritus at the Asian Institute of Management.

Forces that made People Power possible: The role of the press

From a Speech at a Conference “Overcoming Dictatorship: 30 Years of People Power” organized by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) on Thursday, February 4, 2016 at the Discovery Primea, Makati City.

I guess this is the time of the year when Filipinos of my age are drawn out of the closet as it were for some airing – so we can share Memory. I am happy and honored to be here, to fulfill one of the roles assigned to the older generation, to help the nation recall milestone events in our history so we can learn from the past.

A knowledge of the past helps us to better understand the present and guides us as we move forward into the future with care and with wisdom.

Those who lived through those years know that the events of February 1986 did not erupt out of a vacuum.

The force of People Power drew from diverse resources, energized by different stakeholders, as individuals or in groups, who having lived during the extended period of the Marcos regime, determined it was time to act to change the course of history. There was a process involved to make it possible for the nation to come together in collective strength.

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