Ascent of the martial law babies

July 22, 2010

At Large: By Rina Jimenez-David
Philippine Daily Inquirer
July 22, 2010

SHOULD SEN. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan succeed in snagging the Senate presidency, he would, together with President Noynoy, signal the final, long-awaited ascendance of martial law babies in Philippine politics.

Martial law babies are today’s adults who were either children, teens or young adults during the reign of the “Conjugal Dictatorship” (half of which is now a representative of Ilocos Norte). The babies’ political ascendancy in late middle-age is but the result of the stunting of the normal generational change that should have taken place from 1972-1986, when the Marcos dictatorship kept political opponents in jail, silenced them with threats or extra-judicial killings, or co-opted them.

Being a martial law baby also carries with it a particular mind-set: distaste for absolute power, openness towards debate, and a penchant for “thinking out of the box.” I hope our senators see fit to make room for a martial law baby like Pangilinan who has shown a capacity for waging novel and brave campaigns and championing almost-lost causes.

Now, if Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile would be the chosen one, then I hope our senators are aware of the irony of returning, in this day and age and once again, a martial law enforcer to power.

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