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Of cunning designs

There was once a rumor that when Ferdinand E. Marcos took up the subject “Philippine Government” and studied the Constitution of 1935 in UP, he told some of his classmates. “If I could become President under this Constitution, I can perpetuate myself in power.”

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Marcos though being one of the brightest graduates of UP, was probably just taken for granted by his classmates at the time.

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Probably, they did not take seriously, the provision of the said Charter that provides for the President as Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces to declare Martial Law under certain circumstances.

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And Marcos eventually became President. It was reported that years before, he told his Ilocano compatriots, “Today, Ilocos, tomorrow, the Philippines,” thus forming the Solid North as the latter rallied behind his aspirations.

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And when he ran for President, he sounded the slogan, “Forward the Filipino! This nation can be great again.”

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Marcos knew how to excite and motivate people. And being an Ilocano, one of the most clannish people in the country, he was able to unify everyone in the region to make him a President they can be proud of.

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And since 1966 when he assumed office, little did people know that he began positioning Ilocanos in the four major services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

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By 1969, when he ran for a second and last term, most of the key positions in the AFP were Ilocanos, among them his cousin Fidel V. Ramos.

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And he had for a Secretary of National Defense, one from another big Ilocano region, Juan Ponce Enrile of the Cagayan Valley.

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As history would later tell, Marcos did not intend to retire after the end of his second term. The rumored will to perpetuate in power had to come true.

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And many thought that organizations which started violence in the country were all secret creations of Marcos, done through people who can easily be manipulated: New People’s Army founded in 1968, Kabataang Makabayan that started violent campus activism, private Armies like Baracuda and the Blackshirts and finally the Moro National Liberation Front.

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Even Media was used to magnify government corruption and abuses all to agitate the people against the government and create the conditions that would qualify the circumstances within which Martial Law can be declared.

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Today, those things should not happen again. The advance means of mass communication must not be allowed to fool the people and sow discord in the country.

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Never again should dictatorship be reborn.

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