The candidates in the May 9, 2022 national elections are already on the road, well ahead of the Feb. 8 to May 7, 2022 official campaign period, and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and the courts are unable to do anything about it.

However hard it is to enforce the law against premature campaigning by candidates, it is even harder to enforce it on non-candidates who campaign prematurely through the social media for or against certain candidates. One candidate who is getting loads of it from these online campaigners is former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas (PFP).

Candidate Marcos is digitically mauled by the Left who regard his father, Ferdinand, as the unvanquished enemy, long after he passed on, after he was ousted by a military revolt in 1986. The young Marcos is savaged not for any crime he might have committed as vice governor, governor or congressman of Ilocos Norte or as a member of the Philippine Senate, but rather for crimes reportedly committed by his late lamented dad.

The first of these is Marcos’s martial law declaration in 1972. The declaration thwarted a possible communist takeover of the Philippine government. It also allowed Marcos to amend the Constitution more than once and to extend his presidency until 1986. But 35 years later, the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/ National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) remains — at war with the Philippine government.

To Marcos’s political enemies and critics, his martial law regime remains a “crime” which he has not fully atoned for. So his children must now atone for it, pursuant to the old adage that the “sins” of the father are visited upon his children. Many seem to believe that we could have been among the happiest people on earth had Marcos simply caved in to the CPP/NPA/NDF menace and allowed Joma Sison and company to take over. However, others would insist that had Marcos not acted as he did in September 1972, the Philippines might have become an outright Chinese communist satellite state today.

Now, if Bongbong Marcos were to be held accountable for the “sins” of his father, why was he never asked the same questions he is being asked today, when he first sought elective office in Ilocos Norte in the 80s or 90s, or when he ran for the Senate in 2010 or for vice-president in 2016? Why was his elder sister, Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos, never asked the same questions when she first ran in Ilocos, and then for the Senate in 2019? Why now?

Among the nation’s political families, are they not the only ones being singled out in this manner? The Aquino family has already produced two presidents—Cory, Ninoy Aquino’s widow, and their son, B. S. Aquino III—and three senators—Agapito “Butz” Aquino, Ninoy’s younger brother; Tessie Aquino Oreta, Ninoy’s youngest sister; and Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, Ninoy’s nephew, son of Ninoy’s brother Paul.

Even President Diosdado Macapagal’s family has already produced one other president. In 2001, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Cong Dadong’s daughter, installed herself in office by removing the popular Joseph Ejercito Estrada in a judicially assisted coup, without the benefit of an impeachment trial. She later continued in office as a member (and Speaker) of the House of Representatives, without having to explain anything about her peculiar ascent to the presidency. She is running again for a new congressional term, but no one is raising any issues about it.

The same with the Aquinos. The late National Assembly Speaker Benigno Aquino Sr., Ninoy’s father, “collaborated” with the Japanese during their occupation of the Philippines. But he died while watching a boxing match at the Rizal memorial coliseum before the People’s Court could try and clear him of the charges. His “sin” was never visited upon his children.

At a tender age Ninoy got involved in the abortive Permesta revolt in Indonesia against President Sukarno in 1957. According to the 1995 book, “Subversion as Foreign Policy: The Secret Eisenhower and Dulles Debacle in Indonesia” by Audrey Kahin and George Mc T. Kahin, quoting the late former senator Jose Wright Diokno, the young Ninoy helped the CIA to bring arms from a third country to Indonesia, set up a radio station for the rebels there, and open up Hacienda Luisita for the training of Indonesian rebel pilots. However, the anti-Sukarno operation was called off after the Indonesians shot down the American CIA aviator Allen Lawrence Pope, who upon interrogation spilled the beans on the US operation.

In the 1978 Batasan elections, then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile raised this issue with Ninoy, who was then running for assemblyman while under military detention. Ninoy denied the allegation, saying he only worked with the CIA, but never for them. To some observers, it was a clever distinction without a difference.



In 1971, a grenade attack nearly decimated the entire Liberal Party leadership at the Plaza Miranda LP political rally. Nearly all the LP personalities on stage were injured, the late former Senate president Jovito Salonga being the most seriously injured. Ninoy Aquino alone, the LP secretary general and most popular opposition senator, was not on stage. His absence was never satisfactorily explained. Before the 96-year-old Salonga passed in 2016, he said Ninoy “had something to do” with the attack, which was conclusively established to have been the work of the communists. But Ninoy tried to blame everything on Marcos, who had absolutely nothing to do with it.

No member of the Aquino family is running for president today. But the bright and charming former senator Bam Aquino is running the campaign for Vice President Leni Robredo, as independent presidential candidate. Leni’s late husband Jesse died in a mysterious plane crash in 2012 while running an errand for President B. S. Aquino III as his secretary of the interior and local government. In 2016, Leni ran for vice president as PNoy’s candidate, and prevailed over Bongbong in his post-election protest. With Bam Aquino running the show now, the presidential face-off between Leni and Bongbong (despite all other contestants) could take the form of a rerun of the 1986 snap presidential election between Ferdinand Marcos and Cory Aquino, with Leni acting as an accidental proxy for the Aquinos.

I do not see Marcos’s enemies slowing down on their attacks on the Marcoses. Responsible third parties will have to intervene to raise the level of the debate. But if there is no chance of this, Marcos may have to return the favor of his adversaries. His retrainers could begin asking questions not necessarily about Leni, but about the real forces (seen or unseen) trying to move this contest.

In 2012, President B. S. Aquino III bribed 19 senator-judges to convict and remove then-Chief Justice Renato Corona after an unbelievable impeachment trial. He also paid off members of Congress to enact an unconstitutional and anti-Catholic reproductive health law at the behest of a foreign government. Bongbong Marcos was one of the three senator-judges, together with the late Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago and Sen. Panfilo Lacson, now running for president, who took no bribe money from any source. But Lacson voted to convict Corona with the 19 other senator-judges, even as the late Sen. Joker Arroyo joined Bongbong and Miriam in trying to acquit the poor chief justice.

In my book, “All Is Grace”, (Solidaridad Publishing House, Manila, October 2021; Europe Books, London), I say this bribery of the senator-judges should have voided the Senate impeachment trial, led to the impeachment of President B. S. Aquino III, and the dissolution of the Senate. However, none of these happened. Why not? Someone in the Aquino camp, or Bongbong Marcos himself, or both should now tell us.