Changing narrative

FROM the get-go it was BBM, designed to totally not bring the name Marcos into the arena until measured to correctly see how it would impact on candidate Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. The Junior being the only son and namesake of the father, Ferdinand E. Marcos (FEM), is definitely in a bind. 

The proclamation by Congress saw the full family in one photo with the former first lady, Imelda R. Marcos (FFLIRM), holding on and managing with all the will she could muster to walk from the gallery to the rostrum, a show of true grit after 36 years. As heard during the reception, FFLIRM mightily said, "I have two presidents." And the son replying, "para sa inyo ito." A scene recorded in the historical annals of the nation reeling from a very divisive campaign.


But by the inaugural, the seating arrangements were not as they should be, with the Marcos family relegated to the sidelines and the photo of the "official family" given more emphasis with the former first lady and the siblings of the new president playing second fiddle. Some said, "as it should be." We entered the era of what we will call the "New Marcos."


And in the 10 months since, we have seen a consistent repositioning of the Marcos brand, more focused on the family of the 17th president, since his eldest son also won a position in the House of Representatives (HoR) representing the first district of Ilocos Norte province. The House of Representatives giving ample klieg lights to the son, elected by the plenary as senior deputy majority leader, an act that highlighted how things will be in the HoR under the 19th Congress. At the Senate, the 17th has his eldest sibling, Sen. Imee R. Marcos, which seems to be a different story altogether.


The eldest daughter of FEM, Senator Marcos has been dishing out very independent positions on most issues, whether policies or programs. Even abstaining from some confirmations and hot button issues. The senator has been in every issue and has been going around quite often. Hitting the ground is connected with her advocacies and the distribution of some ayuda in various provinces. Clearly, there are differences between the first sister and the namesake, differences which are becoming very clear and are being turned into a wedge between them, further causing friction with loyalists, among themselves and with DDS, the base that allowed the 31 million votes. Interestingly, the sister appears to be similar in orientation to the father. Her vision and end goal has been defined by, "How would that affect the price of 1 kilo of rice?" An echo of the FEM tradition. But she is not male. She is not the namesake of the father. And those two lead loyalists asking her to side with the brother and defend him more often.


Senator Marcos has decided to take a stand and tell her story, her point of view. The lens clearly answered questions that were hanging. The trilogy is supposed to give everyone the full view. We decide based on how we take each narrative. It fulfills the last stories of FEM and not in support of the New Marcos. The former with hindsight and the latter as it is being dished out, observed or evolves. Definitely, it is not FEM. The role is played to the hilt, but the son is not the father.


Is Senator Marcos the designated brother's keeper? When they came back to the country, it was the mother, Imelda Marcos, who ran for the presidency in 1992; the namesake was already a vice governor in 1980, then became governor in 1983 before they left for Hawaii. The junior Marcos was elected representative of the second district of Ilocos Norte from 1992 to 1995. He was elected governor of Ilocos Norte again in 1998. After nine years, he returned to his previous position as representative from 2007 to 2010, then became senator from 2010 to 2016. It was always the Junior getting ahead and the Manang following. Was it by design? Or agreed upon? Or the patriarchal characteristics in our culture that often says, the only son should be given more leeway?


The eldest was very grounded in the sense that she founded and led the Kabataang Barangay in 1975. She soon ran for political office and won three terms in the House of Representatives (1998-2007) and three terms as governor (2010-2019) of Ilocos Norte. She was elected to the Senate in the 2019 midterm elections. She would always follow the namesake, cleaning up in the process and ensuring that the father's luster would not be destroyed or marginalized. She continues today, mindful of the father. A father's daughter, as some would time and again remind.


So, if the senator does not support the brother, who by the way is the incumbent president, is she being less of a manang or is she telling the brother in no uncertain terms, there is this option, or this scenario, or this solution to a problem? Isn't she helping out? Moving and hearing the pulse on the ground? Would a sister want her younger sibling to fail? The reactions of some of the new Marcos loyalists are incredulous. Should they speak in one voice?


There are by the way new loyalists today. Younger, social media-savvy and who do not know a thing about FEM; and there are the original loyalists that rejoiced seeing the namesake sound like the father and winning the presidential throne. It was for them liberation. Then why the schism? The younger loyalists are different from the original loyalists. The difference is fired by the new narrative, the New Marcos, while the true loyalists are all driven by the legacy of Apo, the real McCoy.


Who is trying to pit the original and the new loyalists against each other? Marcos loyalists and the DDS? Who will gain from such a break? Why so early when elections are two years away and the incumbent has not had its one year in office? Would it be due to the buzz going around that the wife of the president is interested in a Senate seat in the midterms? A Hillary in the making?


The New Marcos when pitted with the real McCoy might melt considering the real McCoy had tremendous concentration. As he noted, "you have all the qualities for a great future — except concentration. This seems to be your principal weakness. Self-application, dedication and assiduity." There lies the danger of shining on borrowed light and the inability to perform more than the role prescribed.





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