MAY 21, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 1
MAY 21, 2022
Dealing with the Second Coming of Marcos
Island Insights: May 9 Philippine Election Poll Watching
Marcos Martial Law: Never Again – A Brief History of Torture and Atrocity under the New Society
Roe V. Wade Under Siege!
2 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE MAY 21, 2022
Give Marcos Jr a Chance to Succeed, and a Strong Opposition is Also Needed to Keep Him on the Right Track
hichever side of the political fence you stand on regarding to Philippine politics, what’s undeniable is the victory of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr’s presidential campaign was certainly effective, even masterful. It’s arguable that his crushing win over his opponents is more a marketing/branding triumph than an actual political one. Some analysts say with millions of dollars (we don’t know how much he spent because the Philippines does not have strict campaign spending laws) it’s easy to pull off a victory of this magnitude. This is partially true. But we also see that money alone doesn’t win races. The examples are endless. But an obvious case in point is former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s $1 billion dollar flop attempt at the U.S. presidency. The problem in Bloomberg’s case is that he spent a mere 100days in his presidential run. It was sudden, swift, and amounted to an astonishing (the most ever spent in any US election) waste of money. So in Marcos Jr’s case (again we don’t know how much he spent) it’s highly likely that money alone did not win it for him. The argument could be made that the Philippines isn’t the US and that money in the former has more capital. That’s valid. But perhaps what’s more significant is how Marcos spent that money modernizing (some could say weaponizing) the elections process using social media. But that too, on its own, doesn’t tell the entire narrative of his victory. People should know that what Marcos Jr achieved in this election is statistically rare not just in the Philippines but internationally. To nearly double up on his closest opponent in a multi-candidates race is already statistically unheard of in a head-to-head general race like how it’s done in the US and most democratic elections. To hit a near 60% mark as Marcos Jr did beyond a head-to-head (multiple candidates) contest is almost as rare as lightning striking twice in the same spot. So we know, it took money. We know it took social media weaponizing. And the third part is where again Bloomberg failed – time. Marcos losing to Leni Robredo in the race for vice presidency perhaps marks the start of his 2022 presidential victory. Other analysts have already acknowledged that disinformation on the Marcoses was already circulating years ago. But even further, the time factor preparing to be President of the Philippines most likely begun when Marcos Jr was a child. He was primed to be president. By 23 he was already vice governor of Ilocos Norte; then a few years later governor. It is this last part where politics and power come into play beyond the “social-genius” marketing mentioned above. Any child can have dreams of becoming president, right, and have that dream not materialize. But what Marcos had is the weight of family dynasty that propelled him to the top. And this is where the opposition and his critics had every right to go after Marcos Jr and link him to his family’s ill-gotten wealth. It was that ill-gotten wealth, power and privilege that propelled him to the seats of governor, then congressman, then senator, and now president. Whether Marcos Jr came up with his marketing campaign on his own or that he was guided by advisors, we don’t have the answer to that. It’s also worth noting that his refusal to dig deep and not get lost in the weeds talking specifics on policy is also a reinvention of modern elections landing on the shores of the Philippines. This strategy – not saying much of anything in substance -- is actually very Trumpian (another marketer vs policy type politician) and very appealing to a populist demographic who love simplicity. Inversely, we see even locally in Hawaii politics that candidates (continue on page 3)
FROM THE PUBLISHER
he Philippines national election recently concluded and voters came out in record number. As in previous modern elections, this voter turnout in the Philippines comes in at an astounding 80+%. For perspective, the highly anticipated 2020 US election which drew the largest number of voters ever had recorded only 62%. And arguably this was only possible due to the pandemic enabling states to expand absentee voting. So based on their voter turnout in the Philippines, Filipinos are evidently passionate about shaping a future they believe fits best for themselves and their values. For our cover story this issue, HFC associate editor Edwin Quinabo gives us the winners for the presidency, vice president and senate races, as well as what some Philippine political experts and voters think about the results. In a somewhat expected development based off credible pre-election polls, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr scored a dominating win over his opponents by garnering a whopping 58.74% of the electorate. His closest rival vice president Leni Robredo trailed far behind with only 27.99% of votes. But read what Robredo’s next move is and how her supporters feel about the race and the future of the country. Marcos Jr also lays out some of his plans, mostly on the economy and infrastructure. The article looks at the overall integrity of this election, what it could mean for U.S.-Philippines relations under a Marcos administration, and finally how issues like human rights and freedom of the press could play out in the next six years. For the article we have a mix of Filipinos from different generations, educational backgrounds, and from those who’ve voted in the Philippines and local Hawaii respondents. Voters have made their choice and we hope the best for the Philippines under its new leadership. Keeping with this issue’s theme on the Philippines election, HFC columnist Emil Guillermo contributes “Dealing with the Second Coming of Marcos.” As his title, this write-up is evocative and a must read. HFC contributor Carolyn Weygan-Hildebrand gives us a news feature “Island Insights: May 9 Philippine Election Poll Watching” and HFC Seneca Moraleda-Puguan submits an emotive “Letter to the New Philippine President.” This is a political heavy issue. We have two articles addressing the possibility of Roe v Wade being overturned, a highly controversial development. HFC columnist submits “Roe V. Wade Under Siege!” and HFC contributor Sheryll Bonilla, Esq. writes in Legal Notes “Delaware Proves the Most Effective Way to Reduce Abortions.” Lastly, in our second editorial we discuss why this 2022 midterm election is one of the most important in Hawaii elections. Sounds cliché. Why so important? We have a non-incumbent governor’s race. Due to redistricting, all Hawaii Legislative seats are up for election. There is also far more seats that could be competitive with several incumbents in the Senate and House announcing their retirement, not to mention some who were earlier forced to resign due to their involvement in corruption. Of particular interest to our Filipino community, we also have two Filipino Americans, both highly qualified, running for Congress, one in District 1 and another (just recently announced) for District 2. Our election coverage has now commenced and we look forward to reporting the latest and relevant election news. For advertisers, the election season is a time of high visibility for publications, especially for niche market journalism that have both a print and online presence as we do. It’s a perfect time to boost your business by targeting Hawaii’s huge Filipino market. Call us for your advertising needs. Thank you all for your support. Until next issue, warmest Aloha and Mabuhay!
Publisher & Executive Editor Charlie Y. Sonido, M.D.
Publisher & Managing Editor
Chona A. Montesines-Sonido
Edwin QuinaboDennis Galolo
Belinda Aquino, Ph.D.
Photography Tim Llena
Administrative Assistant Lilia Capalad Shalimar Pagulayan
Editorial Assistant Jim Bea Sampaga
Carlota Hufana Ader Elpidio R. Estioko Perry Diaz Emil Guillermo Melissa Martin, Ph.D. Seneca Moraleda-Puguan J.P. Orias Pacita Saludes Reuben S. Seguritan, Esq. Charlie Sonido, M.D. Emmanuel S. Tipon, Esq.
Clement Bautista Edna Bautista, Ed.D. Teresita Bernales, Ed.D. Sheryll Bonilla, Esq. Rose Churma Serafin Colmenares Jr., Ph.D. Linda Dela Cruz Carolyn Weygan-Hildebrand Amelia Jacang, M.D. Caroline Julian Raymond Ll. Liongson, Ph.D. Federico Magdalena, Ph.D. Matthew Mettias Maita Milallos Paul Melvin Palalay, M.D. Renelaine Bontol-Pfister Seneca Moraleda-Puguan Mark Lester Ranchez Jay Valdez, Psy.D. Glenn Wakai Amado Yoro
Philippine Correspondent: Greg Garcia
Neighbor Island Correspondents: Big Island (Hilo and Kona) Grace LarsonDitas Udani Kauai Millicent Wellington Maui Christine Sabado Big Island Distributors Grace LarsonDitas Udani Kauai Distributors Amylou Aguinaldo Nestor Aguinaldo Maui Distributors
Cecille PirosRey Piros Molokai Distributor Maria Watanabe Oahu Distributors Yoshimasa Kaneko Jonathan Pagulayan
Advertising / Marketing Director Chona A. Montesines-Sonido
Account Executives Carlota Hufana Ader JP Orias
MAY 21, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 3
Hawaii’s Election Season is About to Takeoff Starting June 7, Stayed Tuned, Get Informed
to mention at this time: Hawaii state Rep. Patrick Branco is running for U.S. Congress, Hawaii District 2; and newcomer to politics but a serious contender Sergio Alcubilla is running for U.S. Congress, Hawaii District 1. Currently no Filipino-American has been elected to Hawaii congress so these two races are attracting considerable attention within our community; and not only because of their ethnicity but for their qualification and platform. It’s also of interest to our community that longtime Waipahu State representative (since November 2008) Henry Aquino is running for State Senate, District 19.
une 7 is the candidate filing deadline for Hawaii’s primary election which will be held on Saturday, August 13. Already we’re seeing early tremors – some that were predictable like former Honolulu mayor Kirk Caldwell dropping out of the governor’s race; and some surprising developments like U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele announcing a late run for governor. Now with Caldwell out, who many believe his supporters were caught between making a choice for him or former First Lady and businesswoman Vicky Cayetano, the big question is: “has Vicky’s chances turned blue chip?” She has already raised considerable money.
is opening doors for vertical and lateral movement of all types, and even a window for newcomers to sneak in and win a spot. Some of the more notable political migration: Sylvia Luke, chair of the powerful House Finance Committee is running for Lt. Governor; vacancies have been left by Sen. J. Kalani English and Rep. Ty Cullen over their bribery scandals; longtime Republican state Rep. Bob McDermott is running for U.S. Senate. With state senators Clarence Nishihara, Brian Taniguchi and Roz Baker all retiring, this leaves open seats at Hawaii’s highest legislative chamber. And on top of this, all 76 seats at the State Legislature are up for grabs this election due to redistricting.
Election Domino Effect This election is arguably one of the most crucial in Hawaii politics in decades. Besides it being a governor’s race with no incumbent in the mix, a large contingent of Hawaii state senators and representatives are either retiring or seeking higher offices. This
Filipino Candidates in major races There are too many Filipino-American candidates to discuss them all now and the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle will be giving more coverage on them later. For now, there have been two major developments
COVID-19 response and the 2022 legislative session This midterm will also be a referendum on incumbents in office and how they’ve responded to the needs of our community during the peak periods of the COVID-19 pandemic. As elections are often a short-term memory race, this past 2022 legislative session ac-
to high places from privilege alone. He’s clearly a strategist, and a good one at that. And if he can apply that type of maneuvering to do great things for the Philippines (trying to be positive here) that would be a tremendous benefit for Filipinos. This editorial could have been a typical one that everyone has already been reading – one that criticizes what’s already known about the Marcoses, his tax evasion, and so on, all of them very credible points to raise. But ultimately all of those points didn’t stop him from getting elected. And this idea that the populist was so ignorant to not see all that’s been written about the Marcoses is highbrow and a misunderstanding of a large sector of Filipino society. What now? There should be a strong opposition to guard democracy, human rights and areas that represent the interests of the powerless. This is valiant and necessary. So Robredo and her supporters should be encouraged and backed up financially in her new NGO. There is too much
concentration of power on one side in the current Philippine political structure and there needs to be more balance. But it’s also fair, given the overwhelming support Marcos received, that he be given a chance. This is not to say that he shouldn’t be pressured on pending investigations on himself or his family. Or that the past is forgiven and forgotten. But he should be given a chance to work with the established political left to find workable solutions on critical issues from economic stimulation to social safety nets for as many Filipinos possible to benefit from. And if the political left wants to remain relevant in Philippine politics, they should learn from this experience of utter defeat. Start planning for the midterms and the next presidential election now, which is precisely what it appears like Robredo will be doing. We respect the democratic process. We wish much success to the presumptive president Ferdinand Marcos Jr. And we also support a robust opposition to keep Marcos honest and on track.
(Give Marcos....from page 2)
who are brilliant but will go too deeply into explaining policy on the campaign trail could actually turnoff a large segment of the population. Colleen Hanabusa was one example and known for that. The elections process is changing and Marcos Jr was keen enough to read the old hieroglyphics template and present a modern matrix version, one built on obscurity, deception, evasion. And he had the money, the time and dynastic clout to make it all come together to accomplish what really is a statistically rare beatdown. Going forward Some could say how Marcos Jr won the presidency at this point is an academic review and a useless exercise just to reveal what already had been done. But analyzing how he won serves two purposes: 1) as a warning what to look out for future elections; and 2) a warning of how Marcos Jr has been underestimated for far longer than people think. He cannot just be that mediocre senator that just got
complishments or lack thereof will also be heavily weighed in this midterm. Incumbents who voted for raising the state’s minimum wage, an overwhelmingly popular legislation, will get a thumbs up. It bodes well for them to capitalize on it in campaign literature and meet-and-greet sessions. For our Filipino community, many who work in the service industry, they have watched this debate for years now and with its passage finally, the minimum wage hike could be a strong deciding factor in the midterm. The increase of the state’s minimum wage will peak at $18 an hour by 2028. Hawaii’s minimum wage is currently $10.10 an hour. The bill would raise the rate in increments over the next several years, starting with $12 on Oct. 1. The powerful Native Hawaiian voting block will be pleased with this session of the State Legislature because it infused nearly $1 billion toward Native Hawaiian issues. Also as small and insignificant it is in the big picture of politics, a few voters – not passionate about politics – might see the $300 tax rebate per person (up from the original proposal of $100) as a reason to throw their support behind a candidate. For those believing that amount is paltry, this could hurt incumbents. There are legislation after legislation from expanding broadband to aquaculture (so
many budget items passed this session because of the state’s surplus, largely due to the previous session’s federal COVID-19 aid to states) that some state lawmakers can present to the public to win favor for reelection.
Eagle eyes scrutiny Even with far more opportunities to reshape Hawaii politics in this particular election relative to past years, experts believe Hawaii politics is still very much entrenched and stable. That is, of course, if those expected to win actually win. We see how federal dollars played a major role in funding state budgets and practically all aspects of societal functioning from municipal support, non-profits, and let’s not forget businesses that received major boosts in PPP and other grants. Besides the governorship as the single most transformative public office, it’s crucial that Hawaii voters look very closely at the federal races: the U.S. Senate and two congressional races. These races have far-reaching impact. The midterm election season has already commenced on the mainland with recent primaries held or soon to be held. Hawaii’s primary is relatively late in comparison. But the midterm fervor is about to get much hotter as soon as the final field of candidates is set after June 7. We’ll be keeping you posted.
4 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE MAY 21, 2022
Marcos Jr. Scores Dominating Win in Philippines Presidential Race by Edwin Quinabo
ased on voter turnout alone, the Philippines is showing the world that its democracy – while at times chaotic -- is vibrant and far more engaging than most democratic countries that post lackluster voter turnout numbers. An estimated 67.5 million eligible voters flocked to voting precincts in the recently concluded national election and Comelec officials say the Philippines is poised to break the 2016 voter turnout record of 81% with well over 90% of the votes already processed. The highest voter turnout in the world is at 87.2% in Belgium, followed by Sweden’s 82.6% and South Korea’s 77.9%. The Philippines could very well end up having the second highest voting turnout that is estimated to hit the 82+% mark. (Comparatively, the U.S. had its highest recorded voting in 2020 at 62%.) Comelec spokesperson John Rex Laudiangco said that despite the pandemic restrictions voters came out in large numbers. “Back in 2016, we had no restrictions. Now we are in a pandemic and still the Filipino people got out of their homes and voted.” MARCOS JR. WINS BIG From the most recent Comelec reporting released on May 13 with 98.35% of votes counted, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. (BBM) received 31,104,175 (58.74%) votes, followed by vice president Leni Robredo 14,822,051 (27.99%) and senator Manny Pacquiao 3,629,805 (6.85%). Rounding up the top five are Manila City mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso and senator Ping Lacson. With nearly double the votes, Marcos is the unofficial presumptive winner and will become the Philippines 17th President. “Marcos is the first presidential candidate with a clear majority since 1965, the year when his father won the presidency. He will be able to take office in June because there exists no viable threat to his presidency,” says Patricio N. Abinales, proChoosing a cabinet, focus on the economy, infrastructure What’s next? Is the most anticipated question in any race. Political experts believe the next most telling direction that could reveal a preview of what’s to come in the next six years of a BBM presidency is the cabinet he chooses, the department posts he fills and who he selects
fessor, Department of Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii-Manoa. The passion that Filipinos displayed, and fight to have a stake in their future all election season was nothing short of luminous. But ultimately that shine has eclipsed for the Robredo camp on election day and the political tug-of-war is bound to ease up, but not fully abandoned. Marcos may have won, but the opposition led by Robredo will continue to be a vigilant force and be influential, her supporters say. THE OPPOSITION, FIGHT ON Robredo said she will be launching an NGO on July 1 after her vice presidency ends called “Angat Buhay NGO” – derived from the Office of the Vice President’s Angat Buhay program. She aims for it to be the “largest volunteer network” in the country to focus on a Cabinet-like organization advocating for areas like development, food security and nutrition, universal health care, public education, rural development, housing and resettlement, and women empowerment. In Hawaii her supporters formed a new organization Hawaii Filipino Coalition for Truth and Democracy (HFCTD) that organizers say they plan to align with similar groups being formed in other cities, said HFCTD’s Rose Cruz Churma. Florangel Rosario Braid, columnist, Manila Bulletin, framer, 1987 Constitution said “the Pink Movement will be given more impetus. There is a growing realization that we should harness the creative energy in serious planning.” A MARCOS MANDATE? As for Marcos Jr. winning a mandate – this is clear when weighed against any election standards (even more impressive to receive close to 60% in a multi-candidates ballot race as Marcos did). But as a Robredo supporter Joel Tomas of Pasig City points out, 31 million of the votes Marcos received is still representative of less than one-third of the country’s 110 million population. He, like millions of others, still
as his closest advisors. During a post-election media briefing, Marcos Jr. said his intention is “to hit the ground running,” and choosing a team to manage the economy would be among the crucial first steps. “As you can imagine, the economic managers are going to be critical for the next several years because of the pandemic and economic crisis,
something that we are looking at very carefully,” Marcos said. Abinales says Marcos could land success in leading the Philippines economy if he is able to form an economic team similar to that of former Presidents Duterte, Aquino III, and Gloria Arroyo. He says, “The markets were shaky after Marcos Jr. became the clear winner. The primary reason for this is
Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
have doubts that the will of the people was truly reflected in this election’s result. So Marcos has a lot of confidence-building to do, according to Marcos critics. Audie Alegre, NCR, 66, Domagoso supporter, echoes the same sentiment. “Technically, the majority of voters will have prevailed, but they cannot claim the result is the will of the real majority of Pinoys [those who did not vote and those who voted for other candidates combined]” Braid said, “not all Filipinos will accept Marcos as winner but eventually, they would as VP Leni had asked supporters to respect the democratic process. While many are dismayed and disheartened, they are however doing a lot of serious reflection.” Given who Marcos is and his family’s sketchy past, he has perhaps twice the work ahead to win over a skeptical, angry, even afraid opposition, political observers believe. This could be a motivating factor toward grander achievements, on the positive side. If he is in fact serious about winning his critics approval and having a more unified country, as he has repeated as mantra during his campaign. Marcos himself has asked the world to judge him by his actions, not by his family’s past according to Victor Rodriguez, chief of staff and spokesperson for Marcos Jr. “To the world, he says: Judge me not by my ancestors, but by my actions.”
because of the family’s notorious record of corruption. So the only way a Marcos Jr. administration can assure investors that it does not plan to plunder the state revenues is to form an economic team consisting of technocrats and corporate types with good reputation.” There is encouraging news for Marcos, Jr. on the economy heading into his inauguration.
The Philippine Statistics Authority reports that the Philippine Gross Domestic Product (GDP) posted an 8.3 percent growth in the first quarter of 2022. Compare that to the first three months of 2021 when the economy contracted 3.8%. According to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua, the country’s (continue on page 5)
MAY 21, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 5
COVER STORY (Marcos Jr.....from page 4)
growth rate for 2022Q1 is the fastest in East Asia. Economic growth in the Philippines slowed from 2017 through 2018, reached a high in 2019, turned negative in the pandemic year 2020, and started to rebound by mid-2021 as pandemic regulations begun to be lifted. Key to economic growth and something Marcos Jr has articulated as one of his priorities is improving the nation’s infrastructure. Churma of HFCTD anticipates the “build, build, build” campaign will continue. “If Mr. Marcos is smart, he will support infrastructure projects that truly help the country--the templates to do so are already existing. However, if he does not show accountability and continues to work on his disinformation campaign as opposed to building trust between the people and the government, investors will pull out and put their money elsewhere. Those privileged will find ways to survive, but the poor will suffer,” said Churma. Braid says it’s not just about picking the right economic advisers. “BBM must put together a cabinet that is credible to all sectors. Because his purpose is to unify, he must search for candidates who are independent – come from academe, business and NGOs that are acceptable to a majority. She adds, “For the BBM administration to be respected and accepted by the Filipino people and the global community, he must at the beginning establish a government that is open, participative, tolerant, and inclusive.
Major Boost from Sarah Duterte, next vice president Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, the daughter of populist outgoing leader Rodrigo Duterte, provided a major lift to the Marcos campaign, most Philippine political experts believe. Her lead in the vice presidential race is even more commanding than Marcos’. Duterte-Carpio obtained 31.55 million votes (61.29%) while Robredo’s running-mate senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan placed second with 9.230 million votes (17.19%).
Senators, Magic 12 Potentially more disconcerting to Marcos critics is in addition to having a vice president ally, the Marcos-Duterte alliance will get a fresh slate of pro-administration senators, most of whom are political family dynasty members or celebrities. Of the 12 senators-elect all are either supporters of the Marcos-Duterte duo or are independent. Only one senator-elect Risa Hontiveros comes from an opposition party. These pro-administration senators will join an already heavily pro-administration Senate whose members were elected in the 2019 midterms. This one-sided concentration of power could potentially green light whatever Marcos Jr wants in the way of policy, perhaps not immediately, but as his confidence solidifies each year while he is in office, political experts speculate. Making the magic 12 to be installed as new senators are Robin Padilla 26,454,56247, Loren Legarda 23,992,76143, Idol Raffy Tulfo 23,166,44941, Win Gatchalian 20,376,00936, Chiz Escudero 20,050,37736, Mark Villar 19,210,28034, Alan Peter Cayetano 19,079,58134, Migz Zubiri 18,582,96233, Joel Tesdaman Villanueva 18,300,95533, JV Estrada Ejercito 15,688,99328, Risa Hontiveros 15,273,59427, and Jinggoy Estrada 14,966,88727. Integrity of elections, not entirely fair and not clean The conventional wisdom is that Marcos Jr won the 2022 elections simply because of his enormous lead (practically impossible to rig by such a wide margin) and that the outcome was similar to the lead he possessed in pre-election surveys conducted by reputable pollsters. But the election was hardly clean, according to Marcos critics. In addition to typical complaints as expressed in previous Philippine elections like vote buying, lost ballots, voter fraud, long lines, most of the 2022 election gripes had to do with technology, namely the Vote Counting Machine or VCM used in automated elections breaking down, the speed
of vote counting, and the pre-election disinformation campaign on social media. Some say the results were coming in too quickly, even before some voting precincts were closed. Tomas explains, “Some voting precincts hours had to be extended due to the replacement of VCMs that encountered breakdowns. Considering the slow internet situation in the Philippines, the partial and unofficial result of the election was shown on TV even while some voting precincts have not closed. “Imagine how fast the result came, within two hours from the official closing time of election. The partial/unofficial result was already 63.77%. Very fast.. Doubt? Yes,” Tomas said. Voter Grace (name withheld), NCR, 26, believes the voting process was fair but not clean. “The counts are verified and accurate through the manual count of the PPCRV. While on the one hand, questionable malfunction of numerous VCMs, the surge of disinformation on Facebook and TikTok, and alleged cases of electoral fraud are some of the considerations on why the election is not entirely fair for me.” Braent (name withheld), Pateros, 22, said “It intrigues me how quickly they were able to process 50%-70% of the electoral transmission that fast when tons of unconfirmed reports on social media suggest that there are mishaps in the election process on numerous voting sites.” Churma said the Marcos campaign for disinformation has been strategically orchestrated even before Marcos Jr. lost the Vice Presidency in 2016. “According to credible reports from Rappler, the myth on the Tallano Gold
“Marcos Jr did not even mention his platform or vision or courses of action during the campaign period. His only narrative is unity which is basically a motherhood statement. We Filipinos will be at a lost and will keep on guessing what will happen every day. This is a democratic country, the majority wins, but it’s not necessarily true that this majority is correct. It is only a number. We have to live with it [Marcos victory] for the next six years. Still being good Filipino citizens with right values and principles, we shall respect the majority decision.” — Joel Tomas, voter,
Pasig City, Philippines
for example, associated with the Marcos family existed on Facebook as early as 2011. Apparently the Marcoses and their supporters have spread the myths to justify the wealth of the family—to discredit the fact their wealth was due to massive corruption at an unprecedented scale.” She alleges that millions, perhaps billions, were poured into a network of communication strategists that used social media to distort reality and fool Filipinos. “A full-time job managing a couple of fake accounts and reposting regurgitated lies will let you earn P2.5 million in a year. Video creators, graphic artists, and celebrities earn more,” Churma said.
Rappler founder and Nobel laureate Maria Ressa said, “You cannot have integrity of elections if you don’t have integrity of facts.” She says “And what social media has done is not only make facts debatable, but to actually spread lies faster than facts. Of all the contested facts about the Marcoses, perhaps the most astonishing is that some now doubt whether they stole money at all.” Rain (name withheld), Pasig, 24, agrees, saying even if the election was a manifestation of the will of the people, “I do not believe it was an informed decision due to the rampant dissemination of misinformation and disinformation.” (continue on page 13)
6 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE MAY 21, 2022
Dealing with the Second Coming of Marcos By Emil Guillermo
s the votes in the Philippines are being finalized, I have webstered a new word in my amok lexicon. What other word can describe last week in our ancestral country, but the verb “to Bongbong.” Generically defined as “to win an election in a landslide,” you can use it in a sentence this way: “Democracy was bongbonged last week when a disreputable political clan remerged victoriously.” That’s democracy in the Philippines. And while many Ilocanos and those in Hawaii may seem happy with the bongbonging, there are more than a handful who have some concern about the future of democracy in the RP. Especially now that outgoing President Duterte has declared he’d like to kill “3-5 drug lords” before he leaves office in June. Empty threat? The United Nations puts the number of deaths by Duterte’s extrajudicial killings to more than 27,000. The country’s official
numbers are more modest at under 7,000. Either number is hard to reconcile with the tenants of democracy. And so it’s up to Bongbong whether to carry on the example of the strong autocrat. Or maybe bring attention to doing something more for the people, rather than kill the people. At this point, especially with Duterte’s daughter as vice president, we might expect more of the same. And that is what people fear. Autocracy with more money. And with an expanded target base? Why stop at drug lords? The unknowns abound when a Marcos is back in power. As Filipino Americans, we cross our fingers and hope for the best.
Remember When Trump Got Elected If you are among those worried, just recall the Trump election in November 2016. Really feel what that was like. That’s when a man who never should’ve been elected president won the presidency of the United States, and then went on to become the worst president in our country’s history. With Bongbong, we’re just
Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.
talking about the Philippines. It’s not the United States. We should all be able to live with it until the Filipinos who have the best interests of the people and the country figure out how to put their egos aside and lead Asia’s oldest democracy. But whatever happens, what’s happening in the Philippines right now is just indicative of the fate of democracies around the world. We’re finding how democracy, the great experiment, is hard to sustain, especially when politics is driven by money in an environment where media’s truth-tellers can be bypassed by social media, easily manipulated in order to manipulate an uncritical public. It creates a situation where it’s almost impossible for leaders to lead. All that’s left are identifiable political brands. People just follow logos and billboards and images down some blind path. In this case, the Marcos brand has been rehabilitated enough to win a presidency. It was never close. The pre-election polls aren’t usually wrong on a predicted landslide. Not unless people lie to survey takers. Or play some other kind of trick. At some point, you just must take the early signs as indicative of the people truly speaking out. Yes, there were some instances of irregularities, but not enough to overcome the flood of votes that came in for Marcos, Jr. The flood of BongbongMania was clear. And if you’re a political opponent, when the early votes are so dominantly one way, there’s nothing left to
do but show your love of your country. As election night came to a close, Dictator Junior, Bongbong Marcos, BBM, whatever you choose to call him, had such a lead that counting votes were a mere formality. So Leni Robredo could do nothing else but show her leadership and try to accept her fate with grace and dignity. “The voice of Filipino voters is becoming clearer and clearer,” said Vice President Robredo in an address livestreamed early on Tuesday in the Philippines on Facebook. “For the sake of the Philippines, we should listen to that voice.” There was really nothing more to say. When Marcos and his family fled the country in shame and exile on Feb. 25, 1986, millions of Filipinos were on the street. Democracy was direct and loud and could not be ignored. The people knew the difference between a dictator and a president. And the president in Malacañang was exposed. Ferdinand Marcos realized he had nothing to say to People Power. All he could do was slink away. In shame. Marcos and his family were lucky to get out alive. But now 36 years later the Marcos’ are back like a tumor. Benign? Malignant? We’ll have to see. But amazingly, Filipinos are welcoming it. It wasn’t all at once, it was gradual, over time. And surely Rodrigo Duterte had something to do with it, greasing the process by giving Marcos the ultimate penance, a hero’s burial back in 2016. That was it. And then it was the living’s turn to re-establish normalcy, Imelda, Bongbong, Imee, et al. The Filipinos let them all back in. Bongbong was not automatically embraced to get his own set of keys to Malacañang. But it says something when the best of the nation’s politicians run, including the current vice president, members of the Congress, and
local leaders, and Filipinos can’t even find someone from among the untainted. They choose overwhelmingly a name they recognized. The father screwed them over, but maybe the son will learn to be less greedy? The people went with the devil they know because the others have not delivered enough to be the devil or angel. Not even the boxing champ Pacquiao could convince the nation that he was the politician who knew what was best for them. And why? Maybe because boxing has a worse reputation for honesty and fairness than politics? And Pacquiao is far from the brightest bulb in a society prone to brownouts. Would another senator or a mayor be worth a bet, the Filipino metaphor for the backing of a candidate? Or was Robredo, with her veep experience the best bet? There’s no sexism in politics. The Philippines has tried female leadership. It knows the failure of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and even the great hope of Corazon Aquino. Robredo was arguably better than those two, but was she up to the task? She was trustworthy and competent but did not convince the voters she could lead the Philippines in the geopolitical ways of the world in 2022 and beyond. Russia and Putin are standing up irrationally to the West and maybe want to be more like North Korea than China. And China, baffled by the coronavirus is unsure of how to position itself, though it seems to want to bully the Philippines at will. Voters didn’t think Robredo was the one with the sharp elbows to play the game. They may have been wrong. The people clearly felt the Philippines needed someone with just enough “bad guy” authoritarianism in his DNA, if not resume. Bongbong is but a hood ornament. But as the second coming of Marcos, Filipinos (continue on page 9)
MAY 21, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 7
Celebrate Filipino Culture at the 53rd Annual Barrio Fiesta! By HFC Staff
njoy and celebrate Filipino culture through food, pageantry, special performances and contests at the two-day 53rd Annual Barrio Fiesta event. The event will be held at Binhi at Ani Filipino Community Center on Friday, May 27 from 5pm to 10pm and Saturday, May 28 from 10am to 10pm. This year’s fiesta is dedicated in memory of the late Agrifina “Aggie” Cabebe, the first chairperson of the Barrio Fiesta. She was also known as the “Mother of Filipino Folk Dance in Maui.” The first fiesta was initiated by the Maui Filipino Community Council on May 31, 1970. “Binhi at Ani is forever indebted to Mrs. Cabebe,”
said Alfredo Evangelista, co-chairperson of the Barrio Fiesta committee and a former dance student of Cabebe. “Mrs. Cabebe was the first president of Binhi at Ani back in 1985 when it was incorporated. Her contributions to Binhi at Ani and Maui’s Filipino community will never be matched and it’s fitting Binhi at Ani dedicates this Barrio Fiesta – the first live one in two years – in her memory.” The in-person celebration will feature traditional Filipino food, local favorite dishes and a Farmer’s Market. Filipino cultural performances from the Assumpta Choir, Dance International Production, La Galeria: Compania Baile Filipino and the Students of Aggie Cabeb will entertain the crowd. Pageantry is also a big part of Filipino culture and for this year’s Miss Barrio Fiesta
Agrifina “Aggie” Cabebe
Pageant, the contestants vying for the crown are Angel Alba, Audryanah Latayada Starmer and Kyara Tumacder. In addition, the Center will have a replica of a Bahay Kubo and other cultural villages representing several regions of the Philippines. Several special events will be highlighted at the fiesta as well such as The Santa Cruzan depicting the finding of the Holy Cross by Queen Helena
featuring the Miss Barrio Fiesta queena, the Veterans Memorial Service, the introduction of the Miss Maui Filipina contestants and the Outstanding Housekeepers Awards. For visitors up for a challenge, Filipino cultural games and special contests are offering large prizes ranging $250 and up for first place. The games include The Barrio Fiesta Voice, Barrio Wear Contest, Climb the Greased
Pole Contest, Da Pansit Eating Contest, the Sungka, Pabitin and Sabado Art Foundation Keiki Art Party. “We’re very pleased to continue with the preservation of our Filipino culture by annually having the Barrio Fiesta,” said Nora Cabanilla-Takushi, this year’s Chairperson. “The Barrio Fiesta is the longest running Filipino fiesta in the United States and we are proud to have it here on Maui. There is definitely something for everyone. And it’s a great way to continue to share our culture with all of Maui and to be with old and new friends.”
8 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE MAY 21, 2022
MAY 21, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 9
Island Insights: May 9 Philippine Election Poll Watching By Carolyn Weygan-Hildebrand
inawagan kami kahapon.” (They called us yesterday.) This was the curt response of a couple after casting their ballot last May 8 at around 5 pm. This writer asked why they chose to vote on the final day of voting instead of mailing their ballots. Them receiving a call was a new twist in the final two days of the overseas voting period. The Philippine Consulate began calling voters based on (CANDID PERSPECTIVES: Dealing With....from page 6)
must think he could scare the world. Filipino scarecrow? But we don’t really know. BBM didn’t debate. He had trolls do his bidding. And his record of political accomplishments shows no real capacity to lead the Philippines out of or into anything good or bad. He’s the dictator’s son. He’s not even Kim Jong Un. He’s got a name and a nickname. What’s he stands for besides the brand. And Filipinos went with a brand. Is that so unusual? To her credit, Robredo is at least being mindful. The people have spoken. Nothing left but to keep working for the good of the country. With that loyal opposition perspective, Filipinos there and their relatives around the world must shoulder on. And just like Americans found out under Trump, this moment will be over before you know it. Bumpy, yes. But it too will pass. The big test at the beginning, is how will Marcos deal with the autocratic legacy of Duterte? But we’ll all be watching. A Marcos is back in charge. EMIL GUILLERMO is a veteran journalist and commentator. He was a member of the Honolulu Advertiser editorial board. Listen to him on Apple Podcasts. Twitter @ emilamok.
a new list. Asked to clarify the new list, Consul Grace Ann Bulos described two lists with different numbers. She said: “Per our advisories on incomplete/care of Consulate packets, 554, while the return to sender packets are 899. It’s the Consulate that prepares these lists. The incomplete and/or c/o the Consulate packets are based on the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) mailing list, while the Return to Sender list is based on what is returned
The official results from the VCM as signed by the three officials. They reported all six precincts even if the last one had zero ballots.
to the Consulate by the US Postal Service. The Consulate contacted/replied to those who reached out to our office either via email or phone.” On the last days of vot-
ing, there was fluidity in COMELEC decision-making. Towards the final days of overseas voting, the COMELEC released an advisory allowing those who did not receive their
ballots to come to the Consulate for onsite voting by 4 pm on May 8. According to Consul Bulos, the COMELEC added 18 new names to the initial certified list of voters. The additional list of 18 contains those who had requested for transfer and change of address during the registration process. Finally, the COMELEC approved more frequent ballot-feeding on the final week of voting, a method where casted ballots are read by vote-counting machines (VCM). Unfortunately, the communication about these advisories was not extensive and did not include contacting the news media. At midnight on May 8, (continue on page 14)
10 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE MAY 21, 2022
AS I SEE IT
Optimism, “Will to Fight” Keep Zelenskyy in Contention By Elpidio R. Estioko
s the Ukraine-Russia war enters its third month, both camps think they will win the war. Both staged their own version of victory day. When Russian president Vladimir Putin was celebrating his Victory Day, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy also announced his version of Victory Day and declared in his address that his country would eventually defeat the Russians. “Very soon there will be two Victory Days in Ukraine. We are fighting for freedom, for our children, and therefore we will win,” Zelenskyy said. Putin, on the other hand, staged a victory parade in Moscow’s Red Square, but is
there a victory to celebrate in the first place? According to an Associated Press report, “Putin marked his country’s biggest patriotic holiday Monday without a major new battlefield success in Ukraine to boast of, as the war ground continues on through its 11th week with the Kremlin’s forces making little or no progress in their offensive.” Actually, the victory parade was honoring the Soviet Union’s role in the 1945 defeat of Nazi Germany, not the current Ukraine-Russia war. However, Putin used the occasion to make his citizens believe that Russia is winning its special military Nazi operations against a “hostile” enemy nation, indirectly referring to Ukraine. “The danger was rising by the day. Russia has given a preemptive response to ag-
gression. It was forced, timely and the only correct decision,” Putin said. He didn’t even mention Ukraine in his speech and generalized the war against Nazism, but his message was indirectly in reference to the Ukraine-Russia war. After encountering massive resistance from Ukraine forces in its effort to occupy Kyiv, Russia was forced to abandon its attack on the capital city of Ukraine and shifted its military efforts to capture the Donbas, Ukraine’s eastern industrial region. Phillips P. O’Brien, professor of strategic studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland tweeted: “Without concrete steps to build a new force, Russia can’t fight a long war, and the clock starts ticking on the failure of their army in Ukraine.” Putin needs to massage his constituents to support him and understand that it was not a war, but a special operation against hostile Ukraine. Nigel Gould Davies, former British ambassador to Belarus said: “Russia has not
won this war. It’s starting to lose it. Unless Russia has a breakthrough, the balance of advantages will shift steadily in favor of Ukraine, especially as Ukraine gets access to growing volumes of increasingly sophisticated Western military equipment.” The will to fight keeps Ukraine on its third-month war vs Russia. Unlike Crimea which succumbed to Russia’s invasion in 2014 without resistance, Ukraine is resisting Russia’s unprovoked war against the former through guts and the will to fight… the will to win! With proper support from the US, NATO and the European Council, Zelenskyy is carrying on the war to the very end even if it will cost his life and the lives of his countrymen he said. With Finland wanting to join NATO of late and starting to support Ukraine, it will enhance Zelenskyy’s optimism to win the war. Zelenskyy refused to go into exile while the Ukraine-Russia war is going on, unlike most world leaders do but stayed in his country fighting side by side with his people. In 2018, RAND pub-
lished two reports for the US Army describing the “will to fight.” Arguably, the publication noted that “the will to fight is the single most important factor in war. “Will to fight” is the disposition and decision to fight, to keep fighting, and to win. The best technology in the world is useless without the force of will to use it and to keep using it even as casualties mount and unexpected calamities arise. “Will to fight” represents the indelibly human nature of warfare.” Ukrainians’ will to fight derailed Putin’s timetable to occupy Ukraine originally planned to last for a few days, which forced him to change strategy to go back into contention. Ukraine’s will to fight is transforming its perceived weak military capability by many into a very strong resistance army trying to weaken, if not defeat, a strong adversary such as Russia. Can we have a real victory parade soon? ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and an award-winning journalist in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
MAY 21, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 11
Roe V. Wade Under Siege! By Perry Diaz
t all began when a Supreme Court draft opinion leaked out that Roe v. Wade will be stricken
down. Justice Samuel Alito’s “sweeping and blunt draft majority opinion” striking down Roe v. Wade and the constitutional right to abortion remains the Supreme Court’s “only circulated draft in the pending Mississippi abortion case.” And there are no dissenting draft opinions circulating among the justices, which means that national abortion rights appears imminent. With six conservatives on the high court right now, it’s conceivable that Chief Justice John Roberts – usually a swing voter – would cast a dissenting vote that would end in a slim majority 5-4 vote. However, he could introduce an amendment that would water down the ruling and lessen the impact of the decision. He might even be able to convince another justice to go along with his amendment; thus, ending up with something that is palatable to the liberal justices. That’s just the way politics at the Supreme Court work. But still, it’s politics at play. Roe v. Wade was a landmark decision passed in 1973 in which the Court ruled that the Constitution of the United States protects a pregnant woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction. The decision struck down many US federal and state abortion laws. Alito’s draft opinion In Alito’s 98-page argument, he wrote that Roe v. Wade should be overruled because the Constitution “makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional
amendment, including the one on which defenders of Roe … now chiefly rely – the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states: “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” Alito then went on to differentiate between abortion and other rights guaranteed by the 14th Amendment, writing that the procedure is “fundamentally different… because it destroys… what the law now before us describes as an ‘unborn human being.’” Clearly, the mention of abortion would immediately spark controversy, regardless of which side you’re with. Majority of American women are very protective of their reproductive rights while a small minority driven by their religious beliefs are against abortion. Abortion rights bill fails In an attempt to pre-empt Alito’s anticipated opinion, Senate Democratic leaders introduced a bill – Women’s Health Protection Act – that would enshrine abortion rights in federal law. The bill failed in a 49-51 vote with all 50 Republican senators, along with Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin opposing. But even if all the Democrats had voted for the bill, it would still fail to pass because it didn’t have enough support to overcome the 60vote filibuster threshold. If passed, the bill would have protected abortion access across the country and ensured the procedure remains legal in every state without additional restrictions. Manchin, an abortion opponent who represents a conservative state, said he voted against the bill because it went further than just codifying Roe v. Wade into federal law.
He said the proposal “expands abortion.” He said he had been “pro-life all my life” but did believe in some exceptions to abortion bans. Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who said they support abortion rights and have offered a more narrowly tailored piece of legislation to codify Roe, also voted against the bill. The vote demonstrated the Senate’s inability to pass important legislation like the Build Back Better bill, which failed on a 49-51 vote that didn’t require a 60-vote filibuster threshold. Again, it was Manchin who dealt a blow. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, 13 states with so-called trigger laws, poised to go into effect if the Supreme Court strikes down Roe v. Wade, the time of restricted access to birth control is unfolding in states that narrowly define when life begins. Some states are even considering legislation that would limit the kinds of birth control residents can acquire. Some conservative lawmakers wasted no time signaling
they were looking into restricting or banning certain types of emergency contraception, such as Plan B and certain types of intrauterine devices – IUDs – could be restricted, or other morning-after pills that can be used within 72 hours of intercourse to prevent pregnancy. In Louisiana, legislation was introduced that would classify abortion as a homicide and define “personhood” as beginning from the moment of fertilization. Anything that would prevent a fertilized egg from turning into a pregnancy and being born into a baby could be considered a homicide. And abortion providers would be prosecuted as criminals. With all the maneuverings in the Senate, the Women’s Health Protection bill doesn’t have a chance of seeing the light of day. It has unnecessarily become too controversial that Republican women senators junked the bill. So, what’s next?
At this point in time, it doesn’t seem that Congress would ever pass anything that resembles the Women’s Health Protection bill, which means that the Supreme Court’s draft opinion to strike down Roe v. Wade will soon be deliberated by the justices. Unless Chief Justice John Roberts can come up with a anti-abortion ruling that can get the support of one more justice, which would give them a slim 5-4 majority decision. Otherwise, if the Supreme Court fails to fashion a palatable anti-abortion decision – like something that would legitimize abortion of pregnancies caused by rape or incest. At the end of the day, unless the Senate gets its act together, Roe v. Wade will soon cease to be the law of the land. Yes, Roe v. Wade is under siege in America! PERRY DIAZ is a writer, columnist and journalist who has been published in more than a dozen Filipino newspapers in five countries.
12 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE MAY 21, 2022
Marcos Martial Law: Never Again – A Brief History of Torture and Atrocity under the New Society By Rose Cruz Churma
he first page of the book contains a poem from the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. written while he was in prison during Martial Law. The last stanza notes: “Many are called but few are chosen/ Fewer still are those gifted/ with the rarest privilege of MARTYRDOM.” Ninoy Aquino is the most well-known martyr of Marcos’ Martial Law, his death on the tarmac of the international airport in Manila would trigger an upheaval that would topple the dictatorship. But there are numerous other martyrs whose names are only known to their families and friends, and those who simply disappeared. This book tries to explain and make sense of that era. The introduction consists of three articles: the first one is on the kidnapping, torture and murder of Luis Manuel Mijares, the son of Primitivo Mijares, a Marcos confidant who became a whistleblower and exposed Marcos’ plot to grab power, his human rights abuses and his corruption. (Mijar-
es also published a 499-page book—The Conjugal Dictatorship available in PDF.) The second article was on Hilda Narciso, then a 37-yearold teacher trying to set up basic Christian communities in Davao among the very poor; she was gang-raped and tortured for her advocacies. The third article is about “the victims the nation forgot.” Almost three decades after the dictator was toppled, the Philippine Congress finally legislated the “Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013” and created a board to receive and verify claims of martial law atrocities and as of 2016, the board has verified 75,730 claims. In the first chapter, the book tracks the “advent of the New Society” and the road to Martial Law during the presidency of Ferdinand E. Marcos. It also includes a brief biography of Marcos and cites the two infamous murders that marked his life. He was convicted and sentenced to 17 years in prison for the murder of Julio Nalundasan, a newly elected assemblyman from Sarrat, Ilocos
Norte, Marcos’ father’s political opponent. Marcos was then a law student at UP Diliman – was allowed to graduate and placed first in the bar exam of 1939. In 1940, the Supreme Court overturned the judgment and set him free. According to the Mijares, this was due to the intercession of Justice Laurel who felt “the country couldn’t afford to lose a person of such potential.” If this first murder case shot him to prominence, the second – that of Ninoy Aquino – led to the regime’s collapse. Out of the eight chapters in the book, four are devoted to torture and how atrocities were legalized. Chapter 2 proves that “Marcos was in charge” and that he approved and sanctioned the torture but was masked with a “ facade of legality and confused hierarchy.” All of these would be confirmed by the class action suit filed against Marcos in Hawaii, where he fled in exile. Chapter 3 documents the history of torture in the Philippines – a tradition going back centuries, first documented by its Spanish colonizers in 1582. Chapter 4, titled “The Torture Theater” notes that torture was a “deliberate policy,” part of state-controlled machinery to suppress dissent and an integral part of the regime’s security strategy. Chapter 5 called “Islands of Fear” notes that the youngest political prisoner ever arrested was a 10-week-old baby
boy. The chapter also describes a separate secret archipelago composed of detention camps, security cells, bartolinas, “rehabilitation centers” and safe houses – and within these “islands” lived thousands of prisoners – making Marcos the first president associated with the wholesale construction of facilities dedicated to the violation of human rights. Chapter 6 “Crescendo and Collapse” chronicles the last few years of the Marcos era, the extent of the plunder and the uprising that propelled the exile to Hawaii. Chapter 7 “Amnesia, Impunity and Justice” discusses the aftermath. The 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution “had chopped down the Marcos political tree” but its roots spread out far and wide in the Philippine bureaucracy. All the Marcoses needed to do was to nurture the roots and wait for the tree to grow back. It has – with technology and social media helping it along, and countless trolls. The author notes that those who were tortured will forever be scarred, “yet what they underwent has almost been forgotten, buried by amnesia far beneath the public’s awareness.” Ironically, there is a Marcos museum long before there was one for human rights martyrs – this speaks volumes about the Filipino’s collective memory and their historical sense. The author posed a question: Is this how Filipinos value human rights? In the preface, the author says “this book was difficult for me to write.” It is also difficult to read. Not because of its literary merits, but its contents. I had procrastinated reading the book, but due to the results of the last Philippine election, I felt it was time to remember those years and write about them. This book is a study of the strongman rule that the Philippines once had, to serve as a warning that giving up
our freedoms in exchange for promises of unity and prosperity will exact terrible consequences affecting many generations. It is not surprising that the author dedicates this book “for all human rights victims of the Marcos dictatorship whose sacrifices we are building on today, and for the unborn generations who might be asked one day to make the same sacrifice.” Aside from the main text, the book contains several sidebars (i.e.“How the Marcoses and their Cronies Plundered the Philippines”), photographs and illustrations. The sidebar and accompanying photograph that is unforgettable was the one taken by John Silva (now the Executive Director of the Ortigas Foundation Library) when he went to Negros Island with Oxfam, an international relief agency. The photograph shows an emaciated nine-year-old girl who died soon after – a victim of the crony capitalism and sugar monopoly in Negros. The book contains exhaustive endnotes that cite the documents referenced for each chapter (Appendix 1). It also contains the security and spy network of the Marcos Regime and its chain of command (Appendix 2). Appendix 3 are facsimiles of how certain foundations were set up to benefit the Marcos family while Appendix 4 & 5 are the sworn statement and affidavit of Rolando Gapud, the self-styled “financial adviser” of Marcos. Appendix 6 is the transcript of the testimony of Ambassador Stephen Bosworth at the class action lawsuit in Hawaii. The book also includes an extensive bibliography and an index. ROSE CRUZ CHURMA established a career in architecture 40 years ago, specializing in judicial facilities planning. As a retired architect, she now has the time to do the things she always wanted to do: read books and write about them, as well as encourage others to write.
MAY 21, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 13
Letter to the New Philippine President By Seneca Moraleda-Puguan
irst of all, I would like to congratulate you on winning the elections and becoming the 17th President of the Philippines. The majority of the Filipino people gave you the mandate to lead the country. I will be honest with you. I did not root for you. I desperately wanted someone else to be the next leader but when you won, I wasn’t surprised. I have a lot of friends and even family members who firmly believed in you despite the many issues surrounding the name you carry. I saw democracy at work even if the results didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to. Because of this, I respect the decision made by the many. Unity is the main message of your campaign, but it was the last thing I saw during the elections. Friends have canceled each other. Families have turned against each other. Hurtful words and accusations have been hurled at one another all over social media because of differences in political preferences and ideologies. Mr. President, I am not here to condemn you. Just like you, I am flawed and imper-
fect so who am I to judge? I have been called to honor and submit to authorities even if I disagree with them or even if they fall short, and this I will fulfill. But I hope you hear my pleas. The very moment you take an oath as the President of the Philippines, I hope you remember the more than thirty million people who supported you, who believed your message and your call for unity. I have watched on TV how millions of Filipino people patiently exercised their right to vote. They endured the long queues, the intense heat and exposure to the virus just to be able to cast their valuable votes. Even Senior citizens, disabled citizens and pregnant women endured all these because they knew how important their votes are. Please do not disappoint them. Please be true to your promises. Honestly, I don’t fully know and understand your platforms and agenda for the country. But now that you are the leader of the land, I pray that you will be clear with your message and plans for the country, that you will listen to the plights of your countrymen and you will not dismiss the many questions that we, your people, need answers to.
(COVER STORY: Marcos Jr. ....from page 5)
Baby Neis, Makati City, 67, said there were reports that the results were rigged. “Some of my friends in Bulacan observed this.” Pio (name withheld), Cainta, 23, believes Marcos shouldn’t have been allowed to run in the first place. “It was never a fair electoral process in the first place, regardless of whether the May 9 polls were rigged. This election was dubious the moment the COMELEC decided to allow a family with a history of human rights abuses and corruption to run for some of the country’s highest positions.” Belinda A. Aquino, professor emeritus at the University of Hawaii-Manoa and founding and first Director
Many say that you are a tax-evader and a thief. I hope that you will disprove the accusations thrown against you. As the head of the nation, I pray that you will exemplify integrity and honesty, that you will make wise decisions and conduct transactions with a clear conscience. Your family is one of the most talked-about families in the nation. Because of Martial Law, many despise your name. You probably want to clear your family’s name. I hope that as you now rule over the land, you will not revise history in favor of your family, but you will correct the wrong things that have been done and redeem your name tarnished by the things of the past. May your agenda be not just for the benefit of your family, but for the families of those who have put their trust in you. Many say to never forget and never again to the atroc-
of the Center for Philippine Studies, said the Leni-Kino campaign ran a very vigorous and decent campaign, “not the mudslinging type and disinformation that the Marcos-Duterte tandem employed, which had both the tactics, resources and techniques that they used to manipulate and cheat in an effort to win the elections.”
an impossible feat.” Besides that, he places some blame of the success of online disinformation on the educational institution in that “scholars failed to write a history of the modern Philippines that includes a substantive section on martial law. So there is no textbook like that to teach young Filipinos.”
Battling institutional machinery Abinales said “Robredo was fighting a powerful machine composed of the Marcos family ($10 billion or thereabouts), the Duterte family, the top political dynasties (from the Chavit Singson family in Ilocos to the Muslim clans), and Chinese tacit support. It’s
US-Philippines relations going forward What could be interpreted as a reset in relations between the US and the Philippines after a tumultuous period under President Duterte, specifically during the Barack Obama administration, Churma notes that Marcos Jr. did invite Pres(continue on page 15)
ities committed at the time of your father’s leadership. I plea that you will reach out and take the time to hear the stories of the people who suffered and hear the anguish of their hearts. I hope that you will be a leader who displays repentance and serves in humility. With your victory, a lot have declared that they have lost their hope for a better future. Will you prove them wrong? I appeal that you will do your best to dispel the thick cloud of hopelessness in our nation through your leadership and service over the next six years. With your actions and decisions, may you cause your constituents to have that deeper sense of Filipino pride. May you win the hearts of the next generation and provide them with reasons to keep hoping and fighting for their future. May you prove to the Filipinos overseas that the Philippines is still worth coming home to. As I have said, I did not root for you but as the mandated leader of the land, I honor you and I submit to you. I know that during your governance, you will make a lot of mistakes, you will fail and you will disappoint just like the many past leaders that have gone before you.
But I can look forward to the years up ahead, despite the uncertainties, because my hope is not in you. My confidence in the future is not dependent on you. As a human, you are frail and limited. My eyes are fixed on the One who is all-knowing and perfect, the One who sets up kings and kingdoms. I have peace knowing that there is a God who is sovereign over the Philippines, whoever is the elected head of the state. My full hope is in Him. My trust is anchored in Him. Great are the plans that He has for our beloved nation. I pray that you will also look to Him and seek His guidance as you lead the country. President Marcos, all eyes are on you. You will be held accountable for every action you do and decision you make. But know that as you have been chosen to hold the highest position in the land, God’s grace will be sufficient for you. Indeed, He is the God of many chances. He has given you this opportunity to be the leader of the nation. Please don’t waste this chance and make things right and make the Philippines better. I pray that your love for your nation, and not your selfish agenda, will be your fuel to lead the Philippines. My family will be praying for you.
14 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE MAY 21, 2022
Delaware Proves the Most Effective Way to Reduce Abortions By Sheryll Bonilla, Esq.
ant to bring down the incidence of abortions? Start with the obvious – not getting pregnant in the first place. One word: contraception. It works. Delaware accounts for 0.2% of all abortions in the US, according to a 2022 report by the Guttmacher Institute. Delaware has the lowest abortion rate in the country, even though it ensured that abortion
is accessible and available by doubling the number of clinics providing the procedure. How did Delaware accomplish this? Increased access to contraception. Unplanned pregnancies make up almost half of the 6 million pregnancies in the U.S. each year, and result in most abortions. In 2009, Delaware had the highest unplanned pregnancy rate in the country. Newly elected Governor Jack Markell – a Democrat, repeat, a Democrat – set out to change that. His goal was to reduce unplanned pregnancy by increasing access to contraception so that women can have more
control over when they become pregnant. His administration made contraceptives affordable and universally available. In a whopping three short years, Delaware’s abortion rate dropped steeply, 37%, more than four times the national decline, even though at the same time it increased abortion clinic access by 33%. That is a statistic worth repeating. Markell’s Democratic approach to this issue sharply cut abortions by 37% even though it increased abortion availability by 33%. That proves that women would rather prevent the pregnancy in the first place and not have an abortion. Markell’s success –
without bans or restrictions – proved that the universal affordability and availability of contraception is what prevents abortions. It is a remarkable success, and it is a Democrat success. The US Supreme Court could point out Delaware’s effectiveness in reducing the number of abortions to show that the goal of reducing abortion can be accomplished by less restrictive means. Courts regularly review cases and decide based on methods that achieve goals through less restrictive means. There’s no fanfare in what Delaware did, no drama, no air of moral superiority. The worst result of Ali-
to’s Dobbs opinion is that a complete ban forces rape and incest victims to endure the psychological horror of daily remembrance of the sex crime committed on them. It’s difficult enough to live with the emotional pain of the attack without an ongoing reminder of that dreadful experience. Resistance to universal access to contraception counteracts the goal of reducing the incidence of terminating pregnancies. Be realistic: people don’t have sex because they got contraceptives. They do it for all the regular reasons – hormones, social pressure, media influ-
issue. The morning turned out to be a long waiting game for good satellite signals. Additional consulate staff was outside the Consulate building, holding umbrellas over the satellite signal detector. The certifying and transmission of results were done by precinct. It was a morning of sending and resending results until the VCM signaled successful transmission instead of failure. The officials were getting weary, and I got sleepy as well. The darkness outside turned into light, and the second precinct results were still not transmitted. As the sun came up, the transmission speed changed literally like day and night. The 5th precinct result was certified at around 9:18 am and transmitted successfully at 9:25 am, indicating how little time it took if satellite signals worked a hundred percent. The Board’s process of certifying each precinct result included printing 30 copies of the resulting printout from the VCM, officials reviewing them, and affixing their thumbprint and signature on each receipt. By 10:20 am, the officials were tired and asked COMELEC in Manila whether the 6th precinct, which had zero ballots, needed to be certified. The 6th precinct result
transmission, and the final transmission, took place and were declared successful at 10:30 am. By 10:34 am, the Board packed the VCM and sealed the results. Although no one other than me was there to witness, Consul General Fernandez read the results they had just certified. “It is required by law,” he said. Indicating that some have been watching the election results, a Hawaii voter reported Hawaii results within a few seconds after the final transmission. It is a testament to what is different about this election – information goes out faster, and a writer can be the last to know. The election results are posted on a COMELEC webpage, https://2022electionresults.comelec.gov.ph/#/er/0// OAV/. A check at this writing shows that it does not report the certified results of the 6th precinct. Beyond reporting who won and lost, the results also offer a few cases of overvoting, especially in voting for senators and partylist. There was far more under-voting reported, especially also in the case of senatorial seats and party lists. A press release from the Consulate reported that voter turnout improved from the last presidential election, and
the change was not much, and turnout remains in the lower 30 percent. Meanwhile, a post-election pulse reading at the Waipahu Festival Marketplace went along the lines that revealed the big issue of ignorance (paraphrasing): Customer: “… Sino ngarud nangabak?” Vendor: “Ni Marcos ah.” Customer: “…Ket addu met ti agririri.” Vendor: “Dagidiay komunista dagiday.” The satellite transmission stood out as the issue on May 9, but these insights continue to beg the question about other matters.
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(NEWS FEATURE: Island Insights....from page 9)
the Philippine Consulate was lit up, but no more voters appeared to cast their ballots. The utterly quiet scene was quite a contrast to the long lines in many voting precincts in the Philippines, and there were no lines. At 1 am on May 9, the parking lot of the Consulate was empty, indicating the absence of any media or poll watcher. Only three media organizations sought and were granted accreditation to watch ballot-feeding and election result reporting. Only the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle was present to witness the final ballot-feeding and processing of election results. Because the last ballot-feeding took place at 9:30 am on May 8, the final ballot-feeding was expected to be very quick and involved only the ballots received on the final day of the overseas election. At 1:03 am, a Consulate staff brought in six boxes to the Sentro Rizal area where ballot-feeding occurred. There were six precinct bins where the ballots went after VCM scanning. “That’s for the open ballots,” Consul General Emil Fernandez explained when I noted that there were only five precincts bins the last time I observed or one precinct for every 2,000 registered voters.
No further clarification was sought on what open ballots referred to, but results pointed to a 6th precinct with 16 voters with no voter casting a vote. This election’s Special Board of Election Inspectors consisted of Consul General Emil Fernandez, Elaine Aldaya, and Joel Bulos. Only Bulos was in Honolulu during the last Philippine election of 2019. Throughout the processing of election ballots and results, it was noted that the Board members frequently referred to a written manual or called COMELEC through their smartphones. Unlike reports from the Philippines, the VCM did not “misbehave,” and ballot-feeding went smoothly. “We are ready to transmit the results,” Consul General Fernandez declared at around 1:56 am. He referred to the satellite submission of results to the Board of Canvassers based in Washington. However, the transmission of the results of the first precinct was not completed until around 4 am. The satellite signal proved spotty due to clouds and rain in the Pali, and the Board did not expect the delay. Aldaya shared that there were transmission concerns in New York and Chicago because of the tall buildings, but the matter of clouds and rain in Hawaii did not come up as an
CAROLYN WEYGAN-HILDEBRAND has written cover stories, feature articles and news stories for the Hawaii Filipino Chronicle. She crafted the monograph, “A Snapshot About Filipinos in Hawaii” and provided an asset-based framework to understanding Filipinos. She is an honors graduate of the University of the Philippines and an East West Center degree grantee when she earned her master’s in economics from the University of Hawaii. She has worked in government and non-government sectors as a planner and analyst. Her career portfolio includes livelihood development, workforce development, affordable housing and homelessness, transportation, corrections, and mental health. She is an active community leader and volunteer, with a current advocacy around food and health self-sufficiency.
MAY 21, 2022 HAWAII FILIPINO CHRONICLE 15
COMMUNITY CALENDAR FAST, HEALTHY & ONO ASIAN DISHES | AARP Hawai`i | May 26 at 5pm | This virtual cooking series features Windward Community College Chef Dan Swift cooking healthy Asian recipes such as Korean meat jun, Thai red curry and Indian chicken tikka masala. Chef Dan will also teach the three French foundation sauces: bechamel, tomato and velouté. The cooking webinars will be streamed via Zoom and facebook.com/AARPHawaii. To register, visit aarpcvent.com/ HIcooking. FRAUD WATCH FRIDAY | AARP Hawaii | May 27 at 10am | This class aims to help kupuna and those who care for them fight against fraud. Webinars are free. To register,
visit states.aarp.org/hawaii/events-hi. PROJECT GRAD 65 AND VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE | Hawaii State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) | May 27 at 10am to 11am | Project Grad 65 is a virtual presentation on May 9 designed for kupuna turning 65 and “graduating” into Medicare. The virtual house open on May 27 will present the benefits of joining Hawaii SHIP. To register, contact Wanda Anae-Onishi at (808) 225-9239 or wanda.anae-onishi@ doh.hawaii.gov. FREE COVID-19 VACCINATIONS | FilCom Cares | May 27 at 10am to 12pm and May 29 at 10:30am to 12pm | Coral
Creek Golf Course, Ewa Beach and Our Lad of the Mount Church, Honolulu | Free vaccinations with all doses available including second booster for Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. Bring your photo ID, medical insurance card (if you have) and vaccination card. Wear a mask and social distance. For more information and appointments, call FilCom Cares at (808) 369-5380. 53RD ANNUAL BARRIO FIESTA | County of Maui, Binhi at Ani | May 27 at 5pm to 10pm and May 28 at 10am to 10pm | Binhi at Ani Filipino Community Center, 780 Onehee Ave, Kahului, Maui | Celebrate Filipino culture with food, pageantry, contests and special events at the Annual Barrio Fiesta.
Hawaii Lawmakers Pass Filipino Curriculum Resolution passed HCR56, a Filipino Curriculum project that urges the arlier this month, both state Department of Education Hawaii House and Senate to create Filipino history and
By HFC Staff
culture social studies classes in high school. In time for May’s Asian American and Pacific Islander
(COVER STORY: Marcos Jr. ....from page 13)
ident Joe Biden to his inauguration. “This is probably part of a diplomatic move to mend ties,” she said. Biden, in turn, did call Marcos Jr to congratulate him on his victory. During Duterte’s administration, there also has been a shift to cozying up to China while icing the long tradition that the Philippines enjoyed with the US. Abinales said “as long as the Marcos administration does not interfere on the military’s long-term relationship with the US military like what Duterte did during his term, then Marcos. Jr., can kiss the hand of [President of China] Xi Jinpeng as many times as he wants.” China congratulated the “leading candidates” and the Philippines for the smooth conduct of the elections. In a statement Beijing said it looks forward to committed “neighborliness and friendship,” even as the two countries have been embroiled in territorial disputes in the South China sea and West Philippine Sea.
Real threats Where many Filipinos have serious concerns is the continuation of human rights violations and harassment and intimidation of the Philippine press. The US State Department did emphasize that US-Philippines re-
lationship should be grounded on respect for human rights and the rule of law. “We look forward to renewing our special partnership and to working with the next administration on key human rights and regional priorities,” U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said. Marcos critics point to his inability to recognize his father’s human rights abuses as a foreshadowing of neglect in this area and possibly a willingness to use it as a tool politically as how his father did. “As someone who attended ZERO debates, it is obvious Marcos fears the press asking him accountability questions. During martial law, the government controlled every message that went out. Should he resort to a gag order to avoid questions that exposes the truth, this will kill democracy and send a chilling effect to the community,” Churma said.
Array of other challenges Marcos Jr faces other major challenges that critics say were dodged entirely or superficially addressed during his campaign, including the Php12 Trillion debt, specifics on corruption and drugs, jumpstarting agriculture, power sources, housing, health, food security, government transparen-
Heritage Month, the passing of the resolution is “a historic achievement,” says the team behind Filipino Curriculum project. The group cy, the pandemic, unemployment, consists of disinformation, revisionist histoFilipino high ry, government accountability, the school stuPhilippine Commission for Good
Government (PCGG) which are constitutionally-mandated bodies, social programs, government response to nepotism and graft, the ongoing Muslim separatist crisis. Marcos critics express amazement that with so many issues glossed over and ignored by the presumptive president that he still managed to win so decisively. Avoiding issues, avoiding the media and controlling pressers, did Marcos Jr just lay out a roadmap for other politicians with name recognition and dynastic family connections to win in future elections? Tomas said, “Marcos Jr did not even mention his platform or vision or courses of action during the campaign period. His only narrative is unity which is basically a motherhood statement. We Filipinos will be at lost and will keep on guessing what will happen every day. This is a democratic country, the majority wins, but it’s not necessarily true that this majority is correct. It is only a number. We have to live with it [Marcos victory] for the next six years. Still being good Filipino citizens with right values and principles, we shall respect the majority decision.”
(LEGAL NOTES: Delaware Proves....from page 14)
ences, dirty minds, etc. Prevent the unplanned pregnancy and you prevent the abortion. Contraception works. A quick sidenote: poor women are often unable to buy menstrual pads so can’t work during their periods, making them poorer.
Helping women afford their reproductive needs helps them and their families. Delaware accounts for 0.2% of all abortions in the United States. Delaware achieved this amazing result by helping women with their reproductive health.
You want to be pro-life? Do it the right way, like Delaware did under Democratic Gov. Markell, with competence, sensibility, and respect. Make contraception universally affordable and available. Its stunning success is undeniable.
dents who connect with Hawaii lawmakers to bring the Filipino curriculum to their high school classrooms. HCR56 is currently preparing the foundation of the course before implementation to Hawaii schools. To support the course, visit @filipino_curriculum on Instagram to learn more.
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