Carvajal: Intellectual dishonesty

·3 min read

These days, whenever I pen down something unfavorable about Bongbong Marcos (BBM), some well-meaning friends invariably tell me to “give him a chance.” The admonition is really academic as I have no choice but to abide by the decision of 30-some million Filipinos who voted to give him what I nevertheless think is an undeserved chance.

I must, however, clarify that I’m giving him the chance to do good for the country and not the chance to deny and/or revise universally accepted historical facts and authoritative definitions of issues. Thus, I cannot pass up a comment on his arrogance and impudence in denying his father was a dictator.

Encyclopedia Britannica defines a dictatorship as “a form of government in which one person or a small group possesses absolute power without effective constitutional limitations.” Absolute power is the defining feature of a dictatorship. And power is deemed absolute when it has no constitutional limits as in a martial law regime.

BBM argues to the contrary by claiming personal knowledge of the consultations his father made with other people on matters of state. But where does it say that the essence of a dictatorship is absence of consultation? Besides, who did his father consult but the elite group of opportunistic cronies and intimidated military subordinates.

Who did Ferdinand Sr. consult when he declared martial law and suspended the writ of habeas corpus? Definitely not Congress as he alone, and nobody else, became sole lawmaker. And who did he consult when he had Juan Ponce Enrile issue the dreaded ASSO (Arrest, Search, and Seizure Order) to those who opposed his one-man rule and when he ordered political prisoners to be tortured, killed or made to disappear? Not Cardinal Sin, I’m sure.

Ferdinand Sr. was a dictator in every sense of the term. He had absolute power, the proof of which was his ouster by way of a people-power revolution. Because there were no constitutional limits to his power, Ferdinand Sr. had to be ousted by unconstitutional means. It was not like Filipinos could no longer wait for constitutional limits to kick in. The Edsa people’s revolt happened because there simply were no constitutional limits to the dictator’s power.

Surely BBM, who went to a prestigious university in England and speaks perfect English, understands what I am saying. In any case, he now has a chance to undo the damage his father’s dictatorial rule inflicted on the country.

Something, however, cannot be undone unless it is first accepted as fact. And there’s the rub. By claiming he is not the son of a dictator, he denies the historical fact of his father’s dictatorship. This is an unconscionable act of intellectual dishonesty on his part, to say the least.

It’s a shame that it should come from the highest official of the land who promised to unite us but does not possess the high standards of truth and morality to do it.