November 19, 2016

#MarcosNotAHero: WTF? Noynoy Aquino OK with Marcos' AFP Hero Honors

I sincerely respect the outcry of some people against Ferdinand Marcos’ Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) burial, such as UP Prof. Sarah Raymundo and Dra. Lorraine Badoy: I agree with most of their points.

What I do not agree with or at the least, what I do not respect, is the stance of my Aquino-aligned friends on the burial issue, for the simple reason that their “leader” — the Aquino Political Dynasty — doesn’t give a shit about Marcos’ LNMB burial anyway.

Let me tell you why.

A Brief Recap

In my August 2016 article “Marcos in LNMB? Lena really is a terrible lawyer”, I explained how the mostly Liberal Party-led government of the past thirty years neglected to fix the “legal loophole” that made Marcos eligible for burial in the

In that article, I explained that former President Cory Aquino herself gave her imprimatur on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) regulation enabling the Marcos burial which was, interestingly, penned by AFP Chief of Staff Fidel V. Ramos, the same person who succeeded Cory in 1992. I also explained how the Aquino Political Dynasty neglected to fix this “accident” for the next 30 years.

The Aquinos gave us two presidents (Cory, Noynoy), four senators (Noynoy, Butz, Bam, Tessie), and a horde of muti-term congressmen, of which Noynoy was also a part of. Despite this, none of them — not even one of their politicial minions — managed to even do something to revise the AFP regulation in question.

In response to a tweet related to the previous paragraph, Ambassador-designate Teddy Boy Locsin told me, “It is hard to explain why something was not done; easier why something was done. Cory was not vindictive to look that far.”

What’s the problem with this statement?

The Vindictive Cory Aquino

“Democracy icon” Cory Aquino, at least while still president, was actually vindictive.

In 1989, Philippine Star columnist Luis Beltran wrote that Cory “hid under the bed” amidst a coup d’etat, Cory retaliated by filing a libel suit against Beltran. Beltran and Star profusely apologized, but Cory rejected these apologies. Cory, as the President, even took the witness stand during the libel hearings. Eventually convicted, Beltran was jailed for half a year as a result [Teodoro 2003].

No forgiveness despite grovelling apologies resulting to Beltran’s imprisonment? That sounds like a vendetta to me. Saying “Cory wasn’t vindictive.” will make Journalist Chito Beltran’s journalist father Luis Beltran roll in his grave.

But this is just a libel case, right? Well, there’s another, much better example.
In 1989, a dying Ferdinand Marcos spoke to Vice-president Salvador Laurel. He said, “Please tell Mrs. Aquino to stop sending me her relatives. They are proposing and asking so many things. All I want is to die in my country…I will run over 90 percent of all my worldly possessions to our conversation to our people. I ask only 10 percent for my family [Laurel 1997].”

Marcos gave only one condition when he added, “Just let me die in my own country. I want to be buried beside my mother [ibid].”

Cory refused to receive Marcos’ message [ibid]. Yes, Cory didn’t even let Marcos die in his own country which to me, isn’t really too much to ask, especially since it defies logic.

If that is not vindictive, I don’t know what else is.

Cory’s misplaced idealism... or stupidity

Marcos only asked for 10 percent, while the government’s agent — who was trying to recover Marcos assets — was asking for twice that amount.
In 1986, Cory gave her blessings to Operation Big Bird, where Credit Manila President Michael de Guzman was supposed to recover the Marcos assets stored in Swiss banks, with de Guzman receiving a 20 percent commission for whatever loot was to be recovered. The plan was a complete failure after it was aborted, owing to conflicting viewpoints among government decision makers [MS].

The Philippine government did not recover any money from Operation Big Bird and it was even subjected to a congressional investigation years later [Chaikin 2000, p. 11]

And thirty years later, we are still going after the same assets. What if Cory just used common sense in 1989, would we still be having this problem today?

Cory’s Foresight (or the lack of it)

Let’s go back Locsin’s statement, that Cory was not vindictive to look that far.

I have clearly explained how Cory has actually been one vindictive son of a gun, but I am inclined to agree with Locsin that Cory lacked foresight.

Cory was never a politician prior to her presidency. She actually was less qualified than opposition leader Laurel, but Laurel stepped aside because of EDSA fever. At that time, the public felt that “a vote for Cory would be a vote for Ninoy… a vote for what Ninoy represented in death [Brands 1992, p. 330].”

That is, even it it’s quite possible that Marcos didn’t order Ninoy’s death [TP: Marcos didn’t kill Ninoy?], as witnesses pointed to Cory’s cousin Danding Cojuangco as the mastermind. Too bad the possible star witness, Ninoy assassin Pablo Martinez, that guy who can actually implicate Danding, was “killed in a road accident” in 2014 [TV5]. But I am digressing.

For the sake of argument, let’s just assume that Locsin is partially right. Let’s assume that Cory neither had the IQ nor the experience to look that far into the future, that the possibility of Marcos’ burial never entered her mind.

There are several issues with this alibi:

First, Marcos died in 1989, well within Cory’s term.
With the knowledge that former presidents have been buried in LNMB, it would take a lot of stupidity on Cory’s part for the idea of a Marcos LNMB burial to evade her. And if that idea didn’t evade her brain, that would mean Cory thought a Marcos LNMB burial wouldn’t be a big deal, and perhaps you know what that means.

Second, Cory wanted to erase everything Marcos.
Shortly after assuming office in 1986, Cory took every step to erase all traces of Marcos throughout the country [Time], essentially an attempt to diminish whatever Marcos’ positive achievements were. Surely, Cory cannot have such a short attention span: Marcos’ 1989 death should have reminded her that “Oh shit, he may get buried there!”

The Age-old LNMB Burial Issue

Res ipsa loquitur (Latin for "the thing speaks for itself") is a doctrine that basically says accidents imply negligence. That is, the accident that was Marcos’ eligibility for LNMB burial is a result of negligence, and negligence it was.

But for now, let’s give Cory a pass. Let’s just say she’s just incapable of foresight, period. Instead, let’s focus on what the Aquino Political Dynasty has done, post-Cory presidency, to rectify this oversight.

The fact of the matter is that the “law” that enabled Marcos’ LNMB burial is just an AFP regulation, something which can simply be superseded either by a simple request from the AFP Commander-in-Chief who happens to be the President, or if not enough, an Executive Order.

Two Aquino presidents, Cory and her son Noynoy, came and went, and not a single effort was taken to do either.

But let’s assume that the Cory and her progeny are all idiots, so let’s check whether Ninoy’s legistator-relatives did anything about it. After all, sans a presidential order and if such an LNMB burial really is a big deal, then the legislature could have done something about it through a law that expressly forbids a Marcos corpse in LNMB land.

Ninoy's brother Agapito “Butz" Aquino, who was a “pillar of the anti-dictatorship movement” and also a senator from 1986 to 1995, did did nothing about it [TV5].

Ninoy’s sister Tessie “Dancing Queen” Aquino-Oreta, a congresswoman from 1987 to 1998 and a senator from 1998 to 2004, did nothing either.

Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Ninoy’s grandnephew who milked the Ninoy likeness for all it’s worth, also did nothing in the three years that he’s been in the senate. Bam was elected Senator in 2013.

The same goes for Ninoy’s cousin Jesli Aquino-Lapus, who was Tarlac 3rd Dist. Representative from 1998 to 2007, and for Ninoy’s uncle Herminio Aquino, who was the representative of the same district from 1992 to 1998.

Yes, none of them gave a Rat's Ass about the LNMB dilemma.

Yes, none of the Aquinos — the people who should have been most invested in influencing the historical trajectory of the Marcos narrative — gave a shit.

But wait! There’s more.

Noynoy OK with Marcos’ Medal of Valor

Just to demonstrate further that the Aquinos gave no shit about Marcos’ LNMB burial, it is to be recalled that Ninoy’s own son, PNoy, allowed Vice-president Jejomar Binay in April 2011 to decide on whether Marcos should be buried in LNMB or not [GMA].

Yes, Noynoy delegated what’s supposed to be a crucial task to Jojo. Yes, Noynoy used the LNMB issue as a political booby trap for Mar Roxas’ likely rival in 2016.

Yes, Noynoy didn’t want to have a say on it. He wanted Binay to decide.

What’s worse? There’s something else that happened on that same day .

In reference to the AFP Medal of Valor awarded to the late Ferdinand Marcos, Aquino Deputy Spokesperson Abigail Valte in 2011 said, “These awards continue to be on the official roster of awards of the AFP. Until otherwise revoked, the awardees continue to receive appropriate recognition [TV5].”

Valte never retracted this statement, and no one in PNoy’s Malacanang — including PNoy himself — even attempted to downplay, let alone retract, Valte’s statement.

What does that mean? That means PNoy himself recognizes Marcos’ eligibility for a Medal of Valor award.

And what happens to Medal of Valor recipients? I don't know how what kind of semantic acrobatics the yellow camp will use to get out of this, but Medal of Valor awardess are technically heroes, you know.

Case in point, Medal of Valor awardees are included in AFP’s Hall of Heroes [Star]. Yes, even before the LNMB burial and since the Medal of Valor award in 1968, Marcos has already been included in the AFP’s Hall of Heroes -- and the Noynoy Aquino was OK with that.

I do not recall any protest in the past 30 years regarding the same.

Yup, nobody in the Aquino Family -- even the blabbermouth Kris Aquino -- spoke against it.

And by the way, where can Medal of Valor awardees be buried?

In the Libingan ng mga Bayani [ABS].

Holy shit. [ThinkingPinoy]

UPDATE (3 PM 19 Nov 2016): The Medal of Valor is not just an AFP award. It is awarded by the State itself. Even presidents have to salute to MoV awardees. But I guess the Aquinos didn't mind that. Susmarya.

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