By Alex P. Vidal
“I don’t think there’s ever a winner in a feud. It’s about emotional pain and an inability to conquer the pain.”— Ryan Murphy
IF I were a paid political strategist, I would ask my client or clients running against former Senator Bongbong Marcos to disregard the suggestion made by another former Senator Serge Osmeña to “hit” Bongbong’s father, the late former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. instead of the candidate son.
“Hit the father and the son will fall,” was the 78-year-old Cebuano politician’s uncanny suggestion in a recent nationwide televised interview with ANC News’ anchor Christian Esquerra.
I watched the interview on YouTube and was intrigued by Osmeña’s eerie display of antagonism and antipathy toward the dead Marcos.
I thought, with his stature, he would exhort all the presidential candidates and their supporters to level up and do away with gutter campaign and character assassination.
I thought he would act as a paragon of harmony and calmness by urging the candidates to highlight only during the campaign period their platforms of government and concrete plans for the future of the 109.6 million Filipinos.
“Hit the father” means quarrel, bickering and disunity.
The Bible tells us to “love thy enemy”, but Osmeña was fomenting hatred and altercation.
Soliciting hostility and coaxing the people to attack the dead can be tantamount to desecrating the late dictator’s memory and may be considered sacrilegious.
Osmeña believes it is less effective to lambast survey frontrunner Bongbong, who is Team Unity’s standard bearer, as the voters appear to be unperturbed by the negative issues leveled against the only son of the late dictator, deposed from power in the 1986 EDSA revolution.
If Bongbong’s rivals and critics will hit the father, who became infamous for declaring Martial Law in the Philippines from 1972 to 1981, many young voters, especially those who have no knowledge about the atrocities committed by the Marcos regime during the military rule, “will open their eyes” and reject Bongbong, Osmeña theorized.
The retired Cebuano politician, who was incarcerated during the Martial Law, said many of those who are 55 years old and below today don’t have sufficient knowledge about Martial Law.
He admitted that some of Bongbong’s admirers and probably voters on May 9, 2022 are younger Filipinos.
He wants them to study history, especially how the nation reportedly suffered under the “dark years” of the Marcos regime.
Osmeña is only one of the many victims of Martial Law still alive today who harbor a lifetime grudge against Bongbong’s father or the entire Marcos family for that matter.
It’s understandable why he has an ax to grind against the Marcos family.
He was probably one of those tortured by the Philippine Constabulary Metropolitan Command (Metrcom) during his stint inside the jail as a political detainee.
As a son of Marcos’ political rival, Osmeña was imprisoned in 1972 and embarked on a hunger strike along with his cellmate, Eugenio “Geny” Lopez, Jr., to protest the unjust detention of thousands of innocent Filipinos in November 1974.
The hunger strike resulted in the release of 1,022 political prisoners in December 1974. Osmeña and Lopez escaped from their maximum security prison cell in Fort Bonifacio on September 30, 1977 and their exploit was enacted in the 1995 movie, Eskapo.
Let’s hope Osmeña will realize his rather wrong choice of words in trying to make the Filipinos avoid or hate Bongbong and the Marcoses and correct it while the issue is still fresh in the minds of those who saw the interview.
If he thinks Vice President Leni Robredo will win as what many Ilonggos and Cebuanos, including this writer, believe, there’s no need to slander the dead who had nothing to do with the son’s candidacy.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)