For some generals, Ferdinand Marcos Senior was a hero, worthy of that spot in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Marcos was a soldier. Marcos fought the Japanese. He was a former president, and he ruled this country for a very long time.
Meanwhile, CNN right now has just nominated Efren Penaflorida once more as one of the CNN heroes. Penaflorida was thrust into the global limelight when he pioneered the pushcart education concept. He goes out of his way to teach streetkids using just a pushcart complete with educational materials.
Marcos and Penaflorida---heroes?
Penaflorida made it his life's quest to reach as many young minds as possible and teach them. He thinks that by doing so, he is helping them escape the lethal fangs of poverty.
Marcos meanwhile, made it his life long dream to be accepted as one of this country's elites. He was intelligent---he topped the Philippine bar, he defended himself against murder charges heaped against him by his father's political enemies and he crafted laws that until now, are affecting the lives of each and every Filipino.
Marcos went out of his way and became a Governor, a Congressman, a Senate President and eventually a President. His life was extraordinary, something like how John F. Kennedy lived his---he partnered with a beauty queen, and got the adulation of the people.
Marcos made it his life long ambition to keep most Filipinos poor because doing so means he, as a politician was relevant---the more social ills, the more the people need politicians like him who animates their lives every single day, with dreams, with promises of salvation. And the poorer Filipinos become, the more foolish they are, and the more vulnerable and weak they think they are. Hungry Filipinos know no law, says Erap. Marcos says, the hungrier Filipinos are, the better for them to be governed.
Penaflorida gave hope to those who think they don't have one. Marcos gave hope to those like him that they can be rich and even richer and more powerful than any Cojuangco, Tan, Sy, Ayala or Zobel by just pioneering a pushcart full of billions of pesos worth of gold bars straight to Swiss banks.
For Penaflorida, life's success is full of struggles and heartaches. For Marcos, it is as easy as declaring oneself Overlord, of a country full of people conditioned to fear authorities, and making laws that apportion the country into economic enclaves of his family, their close relatives and even their drivers and yayas.
Penaflorida taught kids of Cavite how it is to live an honest life---honest living means honest pay. For Marcos, he taught us how to regard those with guns as more superior than us, he taught us that everything he built came from his own pocket and he definitely taught us that stealing billions from our very own pockets, is okey for as long as it is done systematically, by law, and the amounts run to the billions. If you steal other people's monies, steal big.
Just think--two people who belong to two different generations, one pushing a cart filled with hope, the other pushing a cart full of gold bullions, bank certificates and shitload of pesos, while wielding a big baseball bat in one hand swatting people like flies, and backed by a throng of people wearing their Pradas, Gucci, Hermes and being shielded from the midday sun by people with umbrellas.