We shouldn’t have to keep telling people that Ferdinand Marcos was a terrible president and that the Martial Law he imposed was terrible for the country. Imagine if a significant percentage of German citizens kept insisting that Hitler was a great man and the more sensible Germans had to keep trying to educate them on why that wasn’t true and why World War II was a terrible idea and that they wanted to elect Hitler’s descendant to a position of national prominence. That’s where we are right now with all these Filipinos supporting Marcos. (Why yes, I did open a blog post immediately with Godwin’s Law, thankyouverymuch)
I have nothing personally against Bongbong Marcos, and I make no judgments on his personal track record and qualifications as a public servant. My main issue with him is that he is promoting historical revisionism of the sort that holocaust deniers are proud of. By insisting that his father was a great President and that Martial Law was actually good for the country is to demand that we unlearn the lessons of the past. Sure, the Aquinos and the succeeding administrations weren’t exactly the best either and had their faults too, but that’s beside the point. The crimes and excesses of the Marcos regime are well-documented and even international bodies have rendered verdicts against them. To deny these truths is to fool ourselves.
I do believe that at some point we need to move on from this issue. But I believe that in order to move on, there is one thing needed most of all: the truth. A friend recently asked: if Bongbong apologizes for his father’s sins and for Martial Law, would I accept that apology and move on? My answer, verbatim: “For me it’s acknowledging the sins of the father, returning the money, and telling all about the crimes of the marcos regime, including what they know about the forced disappearances and torture, the staged ambush that started martial law, the crony deals, the assassination of Ninoy, the cheating during the snap elections, etc.”
As I write this, I believe the Vice Presidential election results are too close to call. But regardless of whether BBM wins or not, the very fact that at least 13 million voters chose to accept his brand of historical revisionism should be a source of national shame.