Why the local communists hate President Marcos

Saturday January 07, 2017 ()
Ferdinand Marcos

At the height of the controversy surrounding the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to allow the burial of ex-President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Filipinos identified with the communist ideology and their red supporters in public office and in the private sector collectively spoke up against it. For them, Marcos does not deserve getting buried in a heroes' cemetery because he was responsible for the proclamation of martial law in the Philippines in September 1972.

On cue, the Reds invited the so-called "ghosts of martial law" to stalk the national stage and anger the people, the youth in particular, about alleged abuses committed by the military establishment during the years the country was under martial law. Ex-detainees as well as politicians opposed to Marcos "recalled" before the news media their "unpleasant experiences" during those tumultuous years. "Never again" became the mantra espoused by the reds to suggest that those were wicked times.

This anti-Marcos mantra promoted by the reds was quickly echoed by the Liberal Party (LP) and other allies of ex-President Benigno Aquino III, who is known to hate Marcos. His father, the late ex-Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., was a staunch Marcos critic during his time. Ninoy was detained in a military stockade at Fort Bonifacio from 1972 up to 1980, when Marcos allowed him to seek medical treatment in the USA.

The late ex-President Corazon "Cory" Aquino, mother of Aquino III, hated Marcos to such an extent that when the ex-strongman wanted to return to the Philippines from his Hawaiian exile and face the charges against him in Philippine courts, Cory ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs not to issue a passport to the exiled ex-president. That order was validated by the Supreme Court, which was by then completely composed of Aquino appointees.

While the Aquinos strongly dislike Marcos, the local communists harbor a more intense hatred for the latter.

The historical record reveals that towards the latter part of the 1960s, the local communists had infiltrated the ranks of organized groups, particularly those of student activists. Enamored by communist organizers with a romanticized description of a revolution against the existing order, many students were easily enticed to attend Maoist indoctrination sessions called "teach-ins," and to skip classes and attend anti-government rallies in downtown Manila. The choice was quite easy for them to make: attend classes and do homework, or skip classes and rally against the incumbent president, Ferdinand Marcos.

News footage broadcast on national television at the dawn of the 1970s showed student activists engaged in violent attacks at the gates of Malacañang, amidst placards and streamers bearing the image of Communist Chinese leader Mao Tse-Tung (he is now called Mao Zedong). Chants like "Mabuhay si Mao Tse-Tung!" made by red rabble-rousers with bullhorns were repeated in cadence. The news footage was even aired on ABS-CBN and ABC-DZMT, both owned by anti-Marcos oligarchs.

Equally alarming was the defection of Lt. Victor Corpus, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), to the local communist movement in December 1970. Before defecting, Corpus led a group of rebels in a raid on the PMA armory. After seizing 41 firearms and crates of ammunition, Corpus and his red guards fled to Isabela.

1971 was a midterm election year. When the proclamation rally of the LP at Plaza Miranda in the Quiapo district of Manila was bombed on August 21, 1971, several people were killed or injured. As expected, the LP blamed President Marcos for the incident, an accusation that was easy to peddle to the electorate because almost all of the top LP leaders were at that proclamation rally—except for Ninoy Aquino, who arrived at the scene minutes after the bombing was over.

President Marcos blamed the communists, but the LP claimed otherwise. Marcos will be vindicated more than a decade later when it was revealed by ex-communist cadres that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) led by Jose Maria Sison planned the bombing incident, confident that the public will put the blame on Marcos.

Incidentally, when ex-senator Jovito Salonga, who was among those seriously injured at Plaza Miranda, found out about the truth, he took back his earlier accusation that Marcos was behind the bombing incident.

At any rate, the Plaza Miranda bombing prompted Marcos to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, and this was sustained by the Supreme Court. Withal, the government was able to round up numerous troublemakers identified with the reds, and in record time. In January 1972, Marcos restored the privilege of the writ.

Be that as it may, opposition leaders and their allies from the left branded the suspension as a prelude to authoritarian government. They were, however, conveniently silent as to why the 1935 Constitution, which was the charter then in force, allowed the president to suspend the privilege of the writ, if suspending it was, according to them anyway, something antithetical to freedom.

Nonetheless, the reds had good reason to get dismayed—the suspension of the privilege of the writ led to the capture of communist cadres who were determined to overthrow the constitutional government by force of arms. From a tactical point of view, therefore, the red plan to bomb Plaza Miranda backfired.

Despite the Plaza Miranda bombing, the senatorial sweep the LP expected at the polls in November 1971 did not materialize. Of the eight senatorial seats up for grabs, six went to the LP and two went to Marcos' political party, the Nacionalista Party (NP). By January 1972, the NP was the majority in the Senate. This meant that Marcos still enjoyed the support of the electorate. It also meant that the communists failed to dilute Marcos' support in the Senate.

Indeed, because President Marcos was proving to be a formidable obstacle to the grand plan of the local communist movement to install a communist government in the Philippines, the reds had to resort to more desperate measures.

Sources:

  1. Why the Reds hate Marcos by Victor Avecilla, January 7, 2017, Manila Standard

(This article is adapted from the source listed above. We are unable to grant permission for any kind of reproduction other than social media shares.)


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