The Manila Times : Netizens overrun anti-Marcos Facebook posts

News & Interviews
27 September 2021

By Rigoberto Tiglao | The Manila Times

THE Yellows' intense campaign last week to propagate their view that the martial law era was all black and that the strongman Ferdinand Marcos was the devil incarnate backfired on a nearly catastrophic scale.

I estimate some 300,000 comments deluged posts by Marcos bashers, among them the University of the Philippines' (UP) "Dambana ng Gunita" series, Bam Aquino, and even the tiny opposition social club 1Sambayan's "roundtable discussion on bridging generations."

It was the equivalent of a people power uprising, this time against the Yellows, in cyberspace.

A similar show of force occurred in the 20-million-plus "unsubscribe" actions against Raffy Tulfo's YouTube channel in retaliation against his declaration that he would bring ABS-CBN back when he wins as senator.

The DDS — diehard Duterte supporters, who are also all pro-Marcos — now control social media, a formidable force in the 2022 elections, especially considering that even by early next year, Covid-19 will likely still be with us, limiting in-person campaigning. Anybody who knows how social media and Facebook work would laugh at the Ressa or Hontiveros kind of allegations that President Rodrigo Duterte has a massive "troll farm." Check out for yourself that Bam Aquino post described here and go over the comments — these come from ordinary people.

The largest number of anti-Yellow comments was in posts of Aquino scion and losing senatorial candidate Bam Aquino. His post, which had a photo of his uncle Ninoy Aquino and his quote on heroism had at least 158,000 comments, nearly all of them angry and negative, even the harshest words one can utter against a dead man. "At least" as last time I checked, it had 250,000 comments although I failed to take a screengrab as Bam decided to take down that particular post.

#neveragain

Those numbers alone beat by tens of thousands the Yellows' claim that the top trending tweet last week was the "#neveragain" tweet against those against martial law totaling 15,000.

Many of the comments in these pro-Aquino posts were vicious such as: "Yes, true hero for rich people"; "No to father of communism and protector of CPP-NPA"; and "What has the Aquino family done good? None."

Bam wrote other posts last week that claimed that the martial law years were the country's "darkest period." Nearly all had at least 10,000 comments against them with one common comment claiming that Aquino helped strengthen the communist movement in the country.

The University of the Philippines last week also launched a propaganda campaign called "Days of Remembrance" using public funds to propagate the red and yellow view of martial law as the worst era of our times. This was made possible because of the spineless UP president, Danilo Coronacion, buckling down in 2018 under the Reds' pressure to declare September 21 a UP "Day of Remembrance" against martial law. How can an academic take a one-sided stance against a period few of its academicians actually have done primary research on? The UP's posts on it similarly had thousands of negative comments, so many that it took these posts down soon after.

Other social media outlets that had posts against Marcos were similarly deluged with angry comments. The Philippine Star's post on the Sandiganbayan's decision in 2018 finding Imelda Marcos guilty of graft had 22,000 angry comments, for instance, why was the newspaper reporting an old story, and that on the contrary, the former first lady won many of her other graft cases. CNN Philippines had posted, "Academicians say education must correct Marcos, martial law myths and disinformation." It had 4,200 comments against that view.

The avalanche of pro-Marcos comments on Facebook is another indicator that the Philippine intelligentsia (or at least its UP and Ateneo faction) are in deep disconnect with both reality and the sentiments of the masses. As academicians, they have the tools to come up with a balanced view of the martial law era, which has been dominated by the Yellows and the Communist Party. But they have been intellectually lazy and prefer simply to believe in the myths of these two once-strong powers.

Legitimacy

For both these entities, their legitimacy and credibility have been based on the view that martial law was totally evil. The Yellows managed to capture state power because they were successful in their propaganda, helped by the United States, that Marcos was totally evil and, therefore, his removal through unconstitutional means as a failed coup turned into People Power was just. Would the United States have helped in a big way in the toppling of Marcos if he had been portrayed solely as a corrupt politician? Certainly not, he had to be worse, a killer.

The communists and its New People's Army (NPA) grew not because people believed in their declared root causes of poverty (imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism) but through its demonizing of Marcos as a malignant dictator who needed to be overthrown by force. Priests, middle-class people and artists flocked to the National Democratic Front not to fight imperialism or feudalism, but in sympathy with victims of alleged human rights abuses.

However, the wisdom of the masses has already overthrown the views of the anti-Marcos intelligentsia, through that tool of democracy we call elections.

If the Marcos alleged crony, Danding Cojuangco, and his widow, Imelda Marcos, had united in the 1992 elections, the Marcos era would have been reincarnated in just six years' time. Imelda's 2.3 million votes added to Cojuangco's 4.1 million votes — despite the massive cheating at that time — would have totaled 6.5 million votes, narrowly beating Fidel Ramos' 5.3 million. Jovito Salonga, the icon of the anti-Marcos movement, got votes even slightly lower than Imelda, while Ramon Mitra, another opposition leader, got only 3.3 million, smaller than Cojuangcos' 4.1 million. Miriam Santiago — who was neither identified with Marcos nor with Aquino — landed second with 4.5 million votes.

Quibble

One, of course, could quibble and compute the combinations of Yellow votes. But reality stares us in the face through the millions of votes for Cojuangco and Imelda. Some 27 percent of Filipinos (Imelda and Cojuangco's 6.5 million votes as a percentage of the 22.7 million valid votes) who lived through martial law and its fall didn't think martial law was bad, 20 percent (Defensor votes) didn't care while 49 percent (Ramos, Mitra and Salonga votes) at most voted for the Yellow candidates. But even Ramos' votes, or half of that, weren't really anti-Marcos votes as he was after all Marcos' police chief for the entirety of martial law.

Imelda, the Junior, and Imee all won elective posts as senators, House representatives and governors — whenever they chose to run since 1986. If Marcos was as bad as the Yellows depict him, wouldn't these Marcos political heirs have been pariahs?

These data belie the Yellow claims of massive human rights abuses during Marcos. If there were indeed such widespread killings and tortures, Fidel Ramos, who was the head of the Philippine Constabulary that is the institution alleged to have been the most involved in such crimes, wouldn't have won the presidency no matter how much Cory supported him. Juan Ponce Enrile, the head of the defense department armed forces, which were allegedly involved in killings and human rights abuses against Muslim separatists, wouldn't have been elected senator for three terms, starting in 1987. Talk of human rights' violations would have been so widespread in the country that Ramos and Enrile would have been condemned. They weren't, of course. Why?

It is because as much as 90 percent of the alleged human rights victims were in reality casualties in the state's war against the Communist Party, which launched that war in order to topple the government by force. It was the Communist Party and its front organizations, which asked and assisted through its cadres in the Human Rights Commission its members, former or present, to claim being victims or relatives of victims of Marcos human rights abuses at that commission to get at the very least P50,000 in compensation. Jose Ma. Sison, who started the war against the democratic state, with his wife together got P2.5 million in compensation.

Representing them was class-action lawyer Robert Swift, who got 40 percent of the payments, so the more claimants were paid, the richer he got.

In nearly all of these tragic, sad stories of young people killed by the military and the police during martial law, it is conveniently not mentioned that they were ranking cadres of the Communist Party, the body directing the New People's Army or officers themselves of that private army.

The rest of the 10 percent were indeed victims of the usual psychopathic fringe group of the police and the military, the type even an advanced, democratic state like the US has, such as the killers of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Haven't you noticed that except for a handful, the Yellows and the Reds have never bothered to identify and prosecute those actually involved in human rights abuses during martial law?

Unique

Martial law and Marcos were unique phenomena, in a nation steeped in democratic ideals and Christian values of brotherly love as well as the absence of internecine conflicts. These were sui generis that can't be forced into a procrustean bed of Evil Martial Law.

Marcos' martial law wasn't of the bloody Latin American or South Korean variety as the Reds have spread that view. The Marcos family haven't really explained satisfactorily the wealth stashed in Swiss banks, which the latter turned over to the Philippine government. But no businessman has come out either to complain that he was victimized by Marcos — unlike during the post-martial law era in which a tycoon claimed in court that a sitting president had directed him to turn over his shares at the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. to a foreign buyer. The Yellows keep harping on cronyism, but why are the alleged cronies Lucio Tan, the JY Campos clan, the late Danding Cojuangco and several others respected magnates today?

The Marcos economy was run by former Finance secretary Cesar Virata and former Trade and Industry secretary Roberto Ongpin. Big companies after Marcos fell competed to get Virata into their boards even in the Lopez holding firm with the hypocrites at UP even renaming its business school the Virata School of Business. Ongpin, who ran the so-called Binondo Central Bank (the clearing house for black-market dollars in the 1980s), has become one of the top tycoons in the country.

With data like these, was martial law the country's "Dark Era" as the Yellows and Reds insist it was?

It was part good, part bad — as nearly all societal phenomena are. The definition of insanity or plain stupidity is when one refuses to accept reality. These UP and Ateneo academics are either insane, stupid or most probably both. The masses of ordinary people who elected the Marcos heirs since 1992 and now the netizens, know much more than them.