Batuhan: Happily ever after

·3 min read

There is a certain sense of immortality that goes with notoriety. Three of the last presidents who have led the country since the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. was ignominiously driven out of power have already died and yet the name Marcos still lives on, albeit this time under the guise of the scion of the infamous president.

Those of us who were witnesses to the atrocities during the dark days of Martial Law are still in disbelief over how short the collective memory of our nation seems to be. And yet, on hindsight, perhaps we shouldn’t really be. We are a people desperately high on the forgiveness scale, but miserably low on the accountability meter. Ultimately, we let our good nature get the better of our common sense and inevitably we end up paying the price. So it is not any wonder that we let the junior come back to power, even when the senior was single-handedly responsible for dragging us down to the level of the worst countries in the world.

At its core, the web of lies and deceit that got the wily dictator to power, remains the key that catapulted his progeny to the nation’s top post. Styling himself as a war hero turned smart lawyer-politician, Marcos Sr. invented a mythical persona that endeared him to the hearts of our countrymen who are all suckers for a fairy tale. Ultimately, the dashing prince was unmasked as the ugly ogre that he really was, but by that time the kingdom was long destroyed, pillaged beyond repair and the damage continues to be felt even to this day.

The sequel though is much more of the same. Lies, lies and more lies.

Bongbong Marcos Jr. never had the smarts of the father, nor does he possess a stash of fake war medals that he could spin into a hero story like his late father. But this time, he has the power of social media to spin his fantasy tale, much like his father did all those years ago. So years before he would eventually make his aspirations to the nation’s top post known, his spin masters were already busy at work, retelling a horrible horror story and transforming it into a believably fantastic tale of the knight in shining armor, who has come to rescue the nation from the depths of despair. This despite the fact that it was his ogre father who dragged it there in the first place. But never mind the last part. His spin masters were good in whitewashing that one too.

So where does that leave us, the poor hapless inhabitants of the village once ravaged by the big bad wolf? What will become of us, now that we let the little bad wolf come back to rule the land that his bad father wolf once laid waste, not that too long ago?

What I remember with all the fairy tales of my childhood is this. The villain manages to get away with bad things in the beginning, but eventually the villagers come around, get smarter and manage to drive away the evildoers in the end. But it doesn’t come easy.

Normally, one villager starts to get it, realizes the villainy that is going on and manages to convince the other villagers to rally behind him or her to drive the bad elements out of town. But the key is not to shoot the messenger but to listen to the message.

So far, that has not worked out too well for Village Philippines. We are not short on truth tellers who have borne the message that could set us free. But have we listened to them and to their stories of redemption? So far, we haven’t.

But that is the good thing with fairy tales. There is always hope. In the end, we shall triumph. It could be one more dark chapter. Perhaps two. Or maybe even three. But one thing’s for sure, we will drive the bad wolves out of town. And the Philippines shall finally live happily ever after.