Don’t let anyone change martial law history—not even the Marcoses

It’s been 47 years since former dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in the Philippines. Supporters would say this made the country safer and better, and those who weren’t born in that era wouldn’t know what it was like.

But history never lies and we saw how people gathered to rally against martial law. Many people were also apprehended, imprisoned, and even tortured and killed just for criticizing the Marcos administration and the ill-gotten wealth they obtained through corrupt means. Although the current government still hasn’t penalized the Marcoses for the latter, the lavish events and Imelda Marcos’ shopping spree splurges, among other things, are glaring proof of these.

Today, Filipinos are still fighting to avoid the resurgence of a nationwide martial law under the Duterte administration, as well as stop the spread of misinformation regarding the events of 1972 onwards. And when we say “Never again,” this also includes the historical revisionism that the Marcoses and their allies have been attempting to do. Here are some examples:

No one was arrested due to their political beliefs?

Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile served as defense minister chief and administrator of martial law. In an interview published on Bongbong Marcos’ Facebook page last year, Enrile claimed that no one was arrested or executed because of their political beliefs. But according to Amnesty International, over 100,000 people were recorded to have been victims of torture and murder by the military and the police during martial law.

Bongbong Marcos and Sen. Imee Marcos were still too young to understand martial law?

The common argument when talking about martial law is that siblings, Bongbong and Imee, were too young to remember martial law. Supporters, including Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, usually said this to defend the Marcos children, saying they shouldn’t be responsible for their father’s actions. However, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman reminded everyone that Imee and Bongbong turned 18 in 1973 and 1975, respectively. They weren’t children. In fact, Imee was also accused of ordering to kill Archimedes Trajano in 1977 after he questioned her credentials in an open forum.

Let Marcos’ work and projects speak for themselves?

Last year, Imee Marcos urged people to move on from martial law because “we don’t need to keep hating people for a very long time.” She also said people should stop being negative and focus on her father’s work and projects. This is just one of the many ways she (and her family) has tried dismiss her father’s crimes in hopes of getting supporters to ignore the atrocities, as well as discredit the critics.

The Philippines started to fall when the Marcoses were exiled?

When martial law ended in 1986, Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda, were exiled in Hawaii. The former passed away while in exile, while the latter was allowed to go back to the country in 1991. In Lauren Greenfield’s documentary film, “The Kingmaker,” which followed Imelda during Bongbong’s VP run in 2016, the former first lady claimed the Philippines fell while they were in exile. I guess she forgot the fact the country experienced the worst recession during Martial Law.

The backlash against the Marcoses was because they didn’t tell their side of the story?

In the “Kingmaker,” Laura discovered that Imelda would do anything to make her family the good guys in 2016. Fast forward to earlier this week, Imee told reporters that martial law subjects in universities should get the Marcoses’ side because they allegedly deserve to “be given the chance to say what we believe happened.” She added that the backlash was her own family’s fault because “We got too lazy to speak and we did not share what we know.”

But how is that going to fix anything when history books and reports on human rights violations already showed what really happened? Plus the fact the Marcoses have tried to save face countless times, and Imee herself told people to move on and praised millennials who put her family in a more “positive light.” If the Marcos family told their side of the story, how is that going to change anything?

***

Forty-seven years may have passed, but we will never stop repeating this: Never again and never forget what happened during martial law. Don’t let liars and thieves change history.

 

Photo courtesy of Inquirer.net

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