artists and writers for freedom and democracy, circa 1986

katawatawa that on facebook a statement from duterte apologist rebecca añonuevo and other “concerned writers” supporting SEC’s takedown of rappler has been judged “unoriginal” and “pathetic” — as if the statement by let’s organize for democracy and integrity in support of rappler / press freedom were any less pathetic?  read press freedom for what? press freedom for whom?

worse, anoñuevo daw might as well have re-issued na lang a “pro-dictatorship pro-marcos paid advertisement” of jan 28 1986.  LOL.  obvious naman na pilit na pilit ang paghahalintulad ng dalawang isteytments, the cause of SEC vs. rappler being quite puny in comparison with the cause of COWAFD (pilit na pilit rin ang COWARD, guys, seeing as they were more like losers after the fact).  halata namang ibig lang halukayin (at pahiyain? as if?) ang signatories ng 1986 declaration na mostly luminaries, including national artists no less.  though in either case it would be interesting to see the signatures mismo (even if forgeries are a possibility, too, alas).

but thanks anyway for resurrecting the COWAFD (parang covfefe) declaration that reminds of what it was like 32 years ago in the run-up to the snap elections that paved the way to EDSA.  the ad came out 10 days before the snap elections that had newbie cory aquino with former senator and member of parliament (MP) doy laurel challenging the dictator ferdinand marcos and former senator and MP arturo tolentino for the top posts of the land.

the opening paragraphs are obligatory preliminaries, romanticizing diversity of opinions, claiming openness to “alternative national futures.”  nothing on the joys of censorship, of course, rather, on the need to stand up, and be identified, for the dictator.  or else.  or else?

but the whole of it is a precious artifact, a document of historical interest wherein the best and the brightest, our most privileged of artists and intellectuals in the time of martial law, clearly articulated what exactly they feared about the prospect of cory and doy replacing marcos, AND even dared envision an “enlightened and transformed national leadership” under the marcos-tolentino team.

“When great issues are joined in the life of a people and life-and-death choices present themselves in political terms, the writers and artists must take a stand and must not seek refuge and false comfort in total political anonymity.

“We believe that the special presidential elections on February 7, 1986 present us with one of two choices: to reestablish Philippine democracy on a new and more enduring level, with its guarantees of individual freedom and social responsibility, or to risk a future dominated by the spectre of unending social strike (sic; strife?), hate, vengeance and perhaps a bloody fratricide the ferocity of which has never been known in our history.

“The plain and simple fact is that we, as writers and artists, have serious apprehension about the candidates of the opposition. We are apprehensive about the fact that they have nothing to offer than a dubious promise of sincerity and an even more dubious promise to hand government over to an unidentified cadre of advisers. These are no more than niggardly excuses for a lack of a coherent program of government.

“In view of the crises that threaten the economic security and the cultural serenity of our nation, we can only regard such representation from them as symptomatic of a reluctance to come to grips with reality and an indifference to the need for wisdom and maturity.

“As such, this coalition seeks to preserve what has already been achieved in terms of cultural advancement and to proceed further under an enlightened and transformed national leadership equipped to face the pressures of change and advance our national and spiritual progress. We believe that the leadership of President Ferdinand E. Marcos is out only guarantee for survival at this point.

“Indeed, we believe we can best achieve our national interests and realize our aspirations of writers and artists with the triumph of the Marcos-Tolentino team.”

hindi ko iyan nabasa noong 1986.  my parents and i, and my in-laws, too, were big fans of ninoy (dilawan kami noon) so we must have dropped the hans-menzi-marcos-crony-owned manila bulletin by then in favor of the feisty eggie apostol’s philippine daily inquirer.

at kahit pa nabasa ko ang paid ad na iyan, it wouldn’t have changed my mind about voting for cory and doy.  yes, on sheer faith.  there was no paying attention to marcos shrugging off cory as a mere housewife.  e ano kung walang karanasan, andyan naman si doy, a laurel, tutulungan siya, aalalayan siya.  we were so naive.  on that and a lot more.

but so also were the artists and intellectuals, the best and brightest.  naive.  imagine, promising an “elightened and transformed leadership” under marcos, the only one  “equipped to face the pressures of change and advance our national and spiritual progress.”  even, that he was “the only guarantee for survival” at that point.

parang hindi nila alam na malubha ang sakit ni marcos noon.  even if he had been reelected, unquestionably, in feb 1986, marcos was going to be replaced anyway, if not by enrile with the backing of fvr’s integrated national police (honasan had twice postponed that coup d’etat), then by imelda with the backing of ver’s afp.

parang naniwala rin sila sa sariling propaganda about the nation’s “economic security” (matagal nang bagsak ang ekonomiya, na lalong lumubha nang patayin si ninoy, thanks to capital flight atbp.) and “cultural serenity.”  cultural serenity?  susmaryosep.  jorge arago must have sniggered snickered simpered at that, if he really signed it, that is, and he may have.  at the time he and i were putting out environmentalist junie kalaw’s journal Alternative Futures (Vol. III Decentralization).  i suspect that he was responsible for getting “alternative national futures” into that declaration, maybe an ex-deal for his signature, haha.  he was like that.  for the record.