by Emmanuel S. Tipon, Esq.
“My destiny is to be in love with you, Makes no difference what you say or do.” crooned Singer Billy Eckstine in “My Destiny”. But an Ilocano playboy does not believe in destiny when it comes to success in love. He believes it is timing. How about success in politics? Is it destiny or timing?
On May 9, 2022, Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Romualdez, Marcos, Jr. won the presidency of the Philippines in a landslide with more than 31 million votes. His closest rival Maria Leonor Robredo had about 15 million votes. “It’s his destiny to be president,” remarked a spectator as we watched the votes being announced on a television monitor at a hotel in Ilocos Norte.
“Bong Bong won because he ran at the right time,” I commented.
What happened in 2015-2016?
In 2015, we visited Bong Bong’s mother, the former First Lady, Mrs. Imelda R. Marcos. We asked whether Bong Bong would run for president. Mrs. Marcos said she wanted him to run to continue the legacy of his father, the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
She revealed that they had been talking with Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte for him to run as Bong Bong’s vice president. Nothing definite came out of the talks. (According to a kibitzer, she should have brought a duffel bag with 100 million pesos and tell Duterte “We will finance the campaign. Here’s 100 million to start with.”)
I visited a religious leader whose Church has millions of members, known for voting solidly during elections. I asked: “Kapatid, puwede po ba natin tulongan si Bong Bong sa pagka presidente? (Can we help Bong Bong for president?”). “Hindi naman tayo tinatawagan” (“He does not call us.), he replied.
I rushed to see Bong Bong at his Senate office and told him about my visit. “Here’s his phone number if you want to call him,” I said. “I have it, I will call him,” Bong Bong replied.
Next door to Bong Bong’s office was Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero’s office. Chiz’s father, Salvador Escudero, was Minister of Agriculture when Bong Bong’s father was president. I stopped by Chiz’s office. We are fraternity brothers – Alpha Phi Beta. “Brod, I just came from Bong Bong’s office,” I greeted Chiz. “Kumusta siya?” Chiz asked. “I think he is considering running for president in 2016. Would you run with him as vice president?”
“2016 will be the 30th anniversary of EDSA. Martial law will be a big issue against him,” Chiz remarked.
If Bong Bong had run for president in 2016, he would have faced formidable opponents. Duterte, Mar Roxas backed by the Aquinos and the Liberal Party, Jejomar Binay, Miriam Defensor Santiago, and Grace Poe.
Bong Bong eventually ran for vice president. He “lost” but filed a protest alleging cheating. The Supreme Court dismissed the protest. I had given Bong Bong a copy of my book “Winning by Knowing Your Election Laws” before he ran for vice president. I wonder if the result might have been different had he passed it on to his lawyers and they read it?
Right timing in 2022
This year the 64-year old Bong Bong ran for president and won easily.
He had very weak opponents. Maria Leonor (Leni) Robredo was running as an independent after eschewing the Liberal Party, the Aquinos and the yellow color. The other candidates were Manila Mayor Francisco Domagoso, Senator and boxing champion Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, and Senator Panfilo Lacson.
Bong Bong is a charismatic leader, with a ready smile. He is approachable. People flock to him. They want to touch him, hug him, or have a selfie with him. His father did not evoke this kind of reaction when he was campaigning for the presidency.
We were in Batac, Ilocos Norte on the day of the election – May 9. Bong Bong voted in the same polling place where his father had been voting across the street from their home in Batac. He was surrounded by thousands.
We saw him vote, took his picture, and congratulated him.
Most of the voters were not even born or were too young to remember martial law which was the main issue against Bong Bong. These young voters voted overwhelmingly for Bong Bong. They did not believe that martial law was that bad or that Marcos, Sr. was an evil person.
When I visited President Marcos in Makiki Heights in Honolulu where he was a virtual prisoner, I asked him if he was going to fight the alleged martial law victims who had filed a class action lawsuit against him. I told him that I had read their complaint and that a class action was improper because there was no “commonality” among their grievances and that the U.S. courts had no jurisdiction because the alleged acts took place outside the United States. He replied with a wave of his hand “Bay bay amon” (“Never mind”). He said that he never ordered any body to be harmed during martial law. “I do not even know these people,” he exclaimed. “If I wanted to harm any body I will go after those fighting me like Salonga or Tanada. But I have not done so.”
Right minded people who supported Bong Bong believed in the Bible that the sins of the father (if any) should not be visited on the son.
People sympathized with Bong Bong for having been a victim of cheating (reportedly the “Switikmatic” election machines) when he ran for vice president in 2016.
Bong Bong observed what we often preach: “Less talk, less mistake. No talk, no mistake.” He avoided debates and press conferences.
He ran on a platform of “Unity”. People hearkened to the message.
Supporters of Bong Bong utilized Facebook, YouTube, Messenger, TikTok and other social media to the fullest. They posted scenes of large crowds at his campaign rallies. They posted the speech of President Marcos during his visit to the White House, his singing duets with Mrs. Marcos, and other episodes favorable to the Marcos family. Bong Bong’s admirers posted his playing the saxophone, his spirited singing of the Beatles song “Hey Jude” and Jamming with Bloomfields. www.bongbongmarcos.com. One commentator said “Bravo sir Bongbong. Hindi lang pang presidente kundi pang rock star pa.”
Bong Bong was proclaimed President of the Philippines by Congress on May 25, 2022 and took the oath of office on June 30, 2022.
Congratulations again President Ferdinand “Bong Bong” Romualdez Marcos, Jr. We pray that you succeed in your goals for the sake of the Filipino people.
Was Bong Bong’s victory a matter of Destiny or Timing? If destiny, did Bong Bong control his destiny?
ATTY. EMMANUEL SAMONTE Tipon was a Fulbright and Smith-Mundt scholar to Yale Law School where he obtained a Master of Laws degree specializing in Constitutional Law. He has a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Philippines. He is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, New York, and the Philippines. He practices federal law, with emphasis on immigration law and appellate federal criminal defense. He was the Dean and a Professor of Law of the College of Law, Northwestern University, Philippines. He has written law books and legal articles for the world’s most prestigious legal publisher and writes columns for newspapers. He wrote the best-seller “Winning by Knowing Your Election Laws.” Listen to The Tipon Report which he co-hosts with his son Attorney Emmanuel “Noel” Tipon. It is considered the most witty, interesting, and useful radio show in Hawaii. KNDI 1270 AM band every Thursday at 8:00 a.m. Atty. Tipon was born in Laoag City, Philippines. E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: https://www.tiponlaw.com.