TURNING POINT: Easier to Win than to Reign

Turning Point by William R. Adan, MindaViews

NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 21 May) – Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. escaped presidential debates even those sponsored by the Commission on Elections, to avoid being dragged and thrashed on the issues of the Marcos family ill-gotten wealth, his nonpayment of income and estate taxes, like what he was subjected to with horrifying humiliation in his debate with Alan Peter Cayetano during his run for vice president. He learned his lesson well and successfully avoided a repetition.

Apparently, he also did not submit to mainstream media interviews for the same reason. He continues to dodge the media, has not yet called a press conference after garnering unofficially the highest but highly incredible winning votes in the last election.

If the Supreme Court, in resolving the petitions on his presidential run, would decide in his favor there would no longer be a barrier in his becoming the elected president of the Republic; unless,  someone one questions and succeeds in challenging his stupefying win.

Once already a President of a democratic republic, it would be abnormal and scandalous if Marcos Jr. continues to avoid the press. He has no option but to take the bull by the horn in finally tackling the following:

Would he abolish or allow the Presidential Commission on Good Government to continue to run after the Marcos family’s ill-gotten wealth?

Would he finally pay the government of his income tax and the ballooning Marcos estate tax, estimated at P203B, or would he continue to ignore it?

Would he pardon his mother who is convicted by the Sandiganbayan of graft with a jail term of 6-11 years?

On foreign affairs, would he pursue a cozy relation with communist China like his predecessor despite China’s blatant aggressive incursion in the country’s sovereign waters. Or would he rather take shelter under the US military might on the light of the country’s Mutual Defense Agreement with the superpower?

Certain ignominious irritant at personal level, however, discourages embracing the US option: he is facing an arrest in the USA over a standing contempt of court judgment in connection with a human rights class suit against his late dictator-father.

Marcos Jr. is being held in contempt in US courts for “contumacious conduct causing direct harm to [a class of human rights victims].” Accordingly, since the contempt judgment was issued in 1995, the amount involved for continuous contempt already reached $353 million in 2011. Marcos Jr. has been evading paying the order, the penalty, of which, may skyrocket over time.

While he may be spared under international law from arrest in an official visit to the US as head of state, his presence in the land he long avoided may yet cause tremendous embarrassment to him and to his host.

This contempt of court issue is apparently the reason why he took his family to a vacation in Australia after the concluded elections rather than in the US.

Aside from the above sword of Damocles hanging over his head, Marcos Jr. has also to contend with the economic woes that is engulfing the country. He needs a magic wand to curb the spiking cost of fossil fuel; the  cost of basic commodities that rises so high getting farther away from the reach of common wage earners; low agricultural production and unemployment; and the untamed corruption in government, which, together with the pandemic; has worsened the grinding poverty of the population.

Often, economic crisis spawns spontaneous surge in criminality and social unrest. Would Junior use an iron hand, like his father, in quelling these challenges in governance?  Possible, but clearly lacking the sinister genius of the senior, he might yet crumple easy, and history might repeat rather early. 

The truth may very soon dawn on Marcos Jr. that it is easier to win than to reign.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)

-- ad here--