The late dictator Marcos Sr.’s crimes are universally accepted historical facts. It is no less a historical fact that at the time, the Filipino people’s moral anchors, Catholic bishops, adopted a policy of “critical collaboration” with the dictator. Except for a few brave prelates in Mindanao, they generally chose prudence over moral courage to stand up to the strongman.
Now Marcos Jr. is running for a position from where he could put the final touches to the family-revised image of his father as the best President this country has ever had. Remarkably, Marcos Sr. also revised the image of his Japanese-collaborator father to that of a hero.
It is immoral of any person to foist on people as morally good one’s or anybody’s proven crime. It is indecent of Junior to revise in the consciousness of Filipinos the highly immoral acts of his dictator father. It is shameless of him to run for office in a country his father had plundered.
So what are Catholic bishops doing in the face of so much moral ambiguity? Where are this country’s moral guides, when Junior has seemingly succeeded in mesmerizing Filipinos with glowing pictures of Senior’s achievements and is looking dangerously poised to win the presidency?
For reasons that can only be non-spiritual bishops seem to slink in a corner. They breathed hellfire on President Duterte’s hyperbolic blasphemies, but can manage nothing more than a whimper, so far anyway, on the factual immorality of a son running for the nation’s highest office.
One archbishop has come out with a morally inane statement that it is okay to accept money as long as you vote according to your conscience. Another is planning to come out with guidelines on how to pick your candidate. They are obvious cop-outs because they should be seething with moral indignation over what is patently the son’s shameless act of declaring as moral the heinous crimes of his father.
I hate to boost Junior’s name-recall with this column. But I have to risk it because people need to realize we are on the verge of losing our self-respect as a nation when our very moral guides, the Catholic bishops, hedge on the issue of Junior’s immoral candidacy.
Now a disqualification case has been filed before the Commission on Elections on what looks to be solid legal grounds. Junior is a convicted criminal and is, therefore, barred from running for any public office.
But we know how things work in this country. We know how the rich and powerful always manage to wiggle out of a legal fix. Shouldn’t Catholic bishops weigh in on this with an unequivocal moral statement? Shouldn’t they hold the line for morality and decency now that the nation is on the verge of plunging deeper into moral darkness?