This is not another column on sex videos. Sorry. O.K. if we chat instead about the axiom : “A generation which ignores history has no past — and no future.”
This came to mind when we read the Inquirer’s report: Imelda Marcos “turned on it’s head” accounts of the Marcos dictatorship’s takeover of the giant Manila Electric Company.
This wasn’t a swap for release, from martial law detention, of Eugenio “Geny” Lopez, Imelda pouted. Rather, Eugenio Lopez Sr. begged “Ferdie, three times, in 1973, to buy the family’s stake in Meralco, Imelda claimed. The patriarch said it would be their contribution to the “New Society”.
Geny and Sergio Osmena II burrowed free, on October 1, 1997, from their Fort Bonifacio maximum security cell. They drove incognito, on to a Lingayen airstrip. There, a plane, with an Israeli pilot, chartered by Lopez’s brother-in-law Steve Psinakis stood, its props ticking over.
They scrambled aboard and received fake travel papers. Both then hopscotched their way to Hong Kong, Tokyo — and life as political refugees in the US. They returned only after People Power One chased the Marcoses into exile.
Twenty two years after that escape, Marcos, Don Eugenio and Geny are in their graves, But Imelda has come up with a fairy tale: The dictatorship faked that escape.
Sa totoo lang (truth is) Geny was such a pest, as irritant, we deliberately made him kuno (like) escape,” Imelda told Inquirer. Para wala nang ngawngaw (So there will be no more problems.)
Do we laugh? Or do we cry? This admits hostaging Geny for over five years –.after they took over Meralco. It’s also a confession of manipulating events by a dictatorship to get any available fig leaf. Or does delusion blur truth?
Listen to martial law jailor Juan Ponce Enrile. He claims: Manila Electric Company was “legally” sold to government, i.e. the dictatorship.
No kidding? When? During martial law, Imelda and Enrile claim. Of course, .all laws then consisted of the dictator’s nod. Thus, Eugenio Lopez Sr. “sold” the multi-billion peso Meralco for a down payment of P10,000. Balance? “Payable when able”. This fire sale is the stuff of Guinness Book of Records.
Under the “New Society”, the number of government corporations imploded from 32 to 93, Albert Celoza notes in his book: ”Ferdinand Marcos and the Philippines –The Political Economy of Authoritarianism”. Dictatorial fiat created 62.
This bloating resulted from take-over of “oligarch companies” What were those? Business owned by Marcos opponents, Celoza wrote. Among these was Meralco. “But this was for enrichment of (Marcos) friends, rather than efficient and fair use of resource.
Enrile’s view on Meralco’s sale rehashes his Kapihan sa Sulo statement (21 Sept. 2002) He asserted then, as now, that he could document this claim. We believe him.
He was a Rolex 12 member. Marcos honored 12 men for clamping on martial law. Enrile knew the dictatorships key transactions, including Meralco.
Enrile’s troops, in fact, padlocked Geny. into Fort Bonfacio. Did throw away the key? Now, we have Imelda’s belated claim : they threw away the key for five years after the dictator took Meralco. It was only in 1997 they “engineered” Lopez’s escape. Justice was the least of their concerns. They just wanted to make the “New Society” stink less.
Gen. Gatmaitan and troops, earlier, took over Meralco. Benjamin “Kokoy” Romualdez and his team arm-twisted the Lopezes to give up the firm. The late Antonio Ayala badgered Lopez Sr. to sign papers, drafted by the dictatorship. They ranged from begging to be saved from creditors to a “desire to assist in “New Society” reforms. This is what Imelda now quotes. She doesn’t blush either.
Kokoy always dangled release of Geny, writes Raul Rodrigo in the book: “The Power and the Glory” One such session took place during his December 1972 call on Eugenio Sr, then in San Francisco exile.
Ultimately, the Lopez patriarch agreed to turn over everything Marcos wanted “in exchange for the safety of my son and family” Meralco and MSC were handed over to Kokoys men in November 1973. Roberto Benedicto took over ABS-CBN in June 1973.
But even after the Meralco ransom, the dictatorship didn’t release Geny. Even Eugenio Sir’s. July 1974 bid to visit his son, in prison, floundered. The Meralco sale was a “give away to save the life of my son”, Lopez Sr. told Philippine News reporter Nick Benosa in a New Year’s Eve interview.
In June 1975, Lopez Sr. was rushed to California’s French Hospital, for prostate cancer recurrence. Marcos ignored his deathbed message: Allow Geny to visit him under heavy guard. The patriarch died July 6, two years before his son broke free — which Imelda now claims they stage-managed.
“Duress” was how Senator Joker Arroyo described this “sale.” Duress is the polite version for a word imported from Scotland of 1555: “blackmail”. Free-booting warlords then exacted tribute in exchange for immunity from pillage.
Imelda would have us believe this shotgun sale was “legal” But there is much law at the end of a bayonet. Ask Housewife Corazon Aquino. She learned that from bitter experience.
After people elevated her to the presidency, Aquino returned Meralco to the Lopezes. Duress didn’t legalize theft, she explained. Nor has the Seventh Commandment — “Thou shall not steal” — been repealed.
Imelda hasn’t heard. She is 79 now. Is this the youth of her senility?