Several rights groups accused President Ferdinand Marcos Junior of not committing himself to the observance of human rights. They cited Marcos’ statement implying his non-support behind the International Court’s investigation over his predecessor’s drug war, his non-assurance of respect for the political rights of activists now threatened by the anti-terrorism law, and his aversion to discussing human rights altogether.
Probably, these rights groups forgot that Marcos Junior mentioned food security as his foremost priority right now. Access to food is one sub-field of human rights.
Marcos junior should be forewarned– he should exercise judicious use of his enormous political capital right now because, despite perceptions that the political opposition has been entirely decimated during the last electoral exercise, the political reality reveals the opposite. It is too stupid for anyone to count the political opposition as dead. Marcos should read history.
Disrespect for human rights was a couple of reasons why the regime of Marcos’ father fell. It began when Marcos senior tried to constrict the right to free expression. This constriction affected the economy, as people started to limit their movements for fear of being tagged as a rebel and summarily jailed for flimsy reasons. When most people restrict their actions, this affects the economy because there are fewer and fewer people having transactions—the fewer transactions, the lesser still economic performance and revenues.
The second phase involved the illegal invasion of corporate rights. Marcos cronies gobbled up small and medium-sized enterprises. The fact is, the most extraordinary capital accumulation and consolidation happened during the Marcos regime. When wealth accumulation is constricted, and only a few manage the country’s wealth, you already know what will happen, right? Yes, abuses will surely follow that discourage foreign and local investors from betting on your regime. Who would risk their monies if there is no level playing field out there?
And when business interests are at stake, some of those far from the seat of power would surely make their moves against your regime. The destabilization cycle will weaken your control over the state, leading to political disintegration. It is also wrong to presume or even too early to say that things are different. Yes, objective conditions right now are highly diverse. It took at least 14 years for the political opposition to get the upper hand before, and I think things would be faster now, given these technologies available to everyone.
Using aggression as a state policy against political enemies has been proven ineffective both in the short and long run. And why go that far when the state has enormous resources to prevent an escalation of tensions with civil society?
Marcos junior should be wiser than his father. Otherwise, as they say, history repeats itself–especially when those involved are ignorant of its lessons.