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The Brave 21 of 1978

Herbie Gomez .

AS of 11:29 am yesterday, these are the candidates who would likely occupy half of the Senate seats:

Cynthia Villar of the Nacionalista Party, “independent” Grace Poe, Bong Go of PDP-Laban, Pia Cayetano of the Nacionalista Party, Bato dela Rosa of PDP-Laban, Sonny Angara of LDP;

Lito Lapid of Nacionalista Party, Imee Marcos of Nacionalista Party, Francis Tolentino of PDP-Laban, Bong Revilla of Lakas-CMD, Koko Pimentel of PDP-Laban, and Nancy Binay of the United Nationalist Alliance.

Sen. JV Ejercito of the Nationalist People’s Alliance may or may not displace Binay who ranked 12th as of this writing.

With 97.4 percent of the reports from the elections precincts in, the chances of Sen. Bam Aquino of the Liberal Party getting in the “Magic 12” is nil.

There you go, folks, this is going to be the face of the next Senate. It tells us about what our nation has become.

***

The outcome of this week’s senatorial elections tightened President Duterte’s grip on Congress. While it is true that Poe is an “independent” and the other winning candidates come from various political parties, they have all demonstrated with their words and actions that they can be relied on by Malacañang when its occupant’s interests are at stake. Their alliance or coalition is the new Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL).

Marcos created KBL and fielded candidates nationwide for the April 7, 1978 race for seats in the interim Batasang Pambansa. The then First Lady Imelda Marcos led the KBL slate that, needless to say, enjoyed the well-oiled political machinery. As expected, it was a clean sweep in favor of KBL in the crucial Metro Manila area, and the dictator had made sure none of the opposition Lakas ng Bayan (Laban) candidates would win.

Those who won in the Metro Manila area were Imelda, Emilio Abello Sr., Estanislao Alinea Jr., Jose Bengzon, Jose Conrado Benitez, Manuel Camara, Fred Elizalde, Gerardo Espina, Alejandro Fider, Pablo Floro, Eddie Ilarde, Querube Makalintal, Roberto Oca Jr., Vicente Paterno, Waldo Perfecto, Ricardo C. Puno, Rogelio Quiambao, Carlos P. Romulo, Januario Soller Jr., Arturo Tolentino, and Rolando Zamora.

This is not meant to honor Imelda Marcos and Co. in anyway. Shame on the KBL and its candidates in 1978. On the contrary, this is to remember the Brave 21 Laban candidates of 1978: Ninoy Aquino, Monching Mitra, Charito Planas, Neptali Gonzalez, Nap Rama, Trining Herrera, Alex Boncayao, Alejandro Anding Roces, Johnny David, Tito Guingona, Noli Santos, Cesar Lucero Jr., Felicisimo Cabigao, Jerry Barican, Nene Pimentel, Soc Rodrigo, Antonio Martinez, Ernie Maceda, Primitivo de Leon, Jaime Ferrer and Ernesto Rondon.

Dictator Marcos had feared the opposition so much that he demonized it. He had this penchant for playing the bogeyman card. He had warned against what he called as “subversive elements” supposedly out to create public disorder on the eve of the Batasan elections. The plot of the subversives, he claimed, was “to wreck the Republic” but assured his administration can deal with any threat. Sounds familiar. Pastilan.

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