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“HISTORY is the playground of great men and of traitors. But only fools pretend to know history.”

September 21 is never an-echoic of the anachronism of Ferdinand Marcos who overstayed 13 years beyond his original mandate.

Indeed, the wisdom of public service in the concept of constitutional governance is one of limited terms and confined offices, since human nature is better seduced when in the comfort of unchallenged realms and unrestricted power.

In brief, there can only be a leader for every season, but never a leader for all seasons. There is however in every man an evolution and a dichotomy which time may set apart as a guidepost – Marcos of 1965 and of Sept 21 – to better comprehend and perhaps appreciate the stirring ironies within his persona both in his private and public life.

The president elected and re-elected in 1965 to the 1970’s exuded vision, brilliance, sharp political instincts, and an over-arching ambition.

It is said that on the first day of his Cabinet Meeting he informed everyone the next campaign had begun. He endeavored to seek out similar intellectuals which he recruited in his official family.

He fondly spotted those displaying brilliance in their chosen profession, as well as, raw talent sans a completed education.

There were cabinet members that were not college graduates. As president, he believed in, “Keeping your friends close, but your enemies closer”.

So he had identified communists in his government, just to know what they were thinking. “True power was not in one’s ability to use friends, but enemies”.

In the decision who would be an ideal opponent in 1969, Osmeña’s LP nomination was guaranteed by his funding. In cabinet meetings, the operative question was, “Mr. President, is this still open for debate?”

If it was, the best minds would argue, and Marcos would sit quietly, at times asking questions. If it was a “decided matter”, the Cabinet would discuss all the possible downside of the issue, and prep answers way ahead publicity.
(Erik Espina)

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