An Open Letter to a Marcos Apologist
Dear Marcos Apologist,
I don’t know who you really are, but let me be frank in telling you this: you have been deceived into glorifying Marcos and his regime.
I’m writing this article because it is a week after the former president-turned-dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ body was buried in the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani. Although the issue of Marcos’ burial has already been laid to rest, the fight against historical revisionism is just warming up. And I believe that you might be harboring this revisionism that made you believe in him.
Despite the facts proving that Marcos plundered money, tortured (and killed) people and activists who voiced out the ineptitude of Marcos’ regime, and brought the economy of the Philippines at its lowest (we have only been recovering from this state in recent years), you continued to believe that his ill-gotten wealth was the result of an “inheritance”; that he sought to eradicate “communism” through an iron-fist rule; and he transformed the Philippines into a state that has reached its “golden age” in history.
You claim that he never plundered any money at all. Worse, some of you point the blame to former president Corazon Aquino and his “yellow party”. So, how do you explain the massive amounts of money in Marcos’ bank accounts that was known and verified by many independent sources? Of course, you posit that his money was an “inheritance” — a money he got from the so-called “Tallano Gold”, which he hid in various bank accounts under the name “Spiritual Wonder Boy”. I tell you, this is all a myth that you have to dispel. The story of the “Tallano Gold” never holds up in tests of credibility and reliability. Yet, some of you believe in the Phoenix Journal and the Maharlikan, but disregards reputable, academically-scrutinized, peer-reviewed sources because they are “biased” and are part of an elaborate propaganda. This, my friend, is a sign of ignorance — by saying that true, reliable sources are biased in one way or another, you ignore the facts that was independently confirmed and scrutinized by many reputable academics. Yes, it can be refreshing and mind-blowing to read to conspiracy theories, but again, you must scrutinize the arguments and corroborate the facts contained in these theories in order to determine its truthfulness.
Some of you might put the blame in the extrajudicial killings that happened on Marcos’ regime on Enrile, Ramos, et al. But there is one fact we cannot deny: Marcos’ suspension of writ of habeas corpus with his declaration of Martial Law on September 21, 1972. Why does this matter? We must remember, words contain implications that are either beneficial or harmful. In the Marcos’ case, the mere suspension of writ of habeas corpus with his declaration of Martial Law is enough to convey a meaning to those who truly did the tortures and the killings that they can arrest somebody without a warrant and subject that somebody to a “punishment”. You, the apologists, may say that Marcos should be absolved from the killings as he may not really be involved with the killings. But let me repeat: words contain implications. Marcos’ prelude to arrest without a warrant made it clear that your right to be shown a warrant before arrest could be violated — and this loophole could lead to an abuse of power among those who perpetuate the arrest.
The one who implicitly and explicitly gave the word cannot be absolved from the actions that the few did in response to who the one who gave the word. Absolving Marcos from the tortures and killings is more or less like absolving the former DILG secretary Mar Roxas from the government’s failure of an efficient response to the Yolanda victims and the distribution of funds to the affected.
Marcos sought to “eradicate” communism? Maybe, but let us remember that it was under his administration that communism in the Philippines strengthened due to the political turmoil that ensued in his regime. It was such irony that he sought to “eradicate” communism when his regime encouraged the formation of communism.
Also, let me tell you that there was never a golden age that happened during the Marcos’ regime. It was a myth that transformed into a half-baked truth, supposing that the Philippines grew under his leadership. Reputable and verifiable sources confirm more or less the downfall of the economy of the Philippines during his time. You, apologists, should look for credible and verifiable sources (I will not give any list here, but I recommend you also consult academic journals for this matter.) to know more about our economy during his regime. Stop believing the myth and the conspiracy theory that propagates in the internet (particularly, in social media) — corroborate them with other sources and criticize the reliability of the sources if you will.
I believe that some of you supports Marcos due to the illusion of our country having never seen any progress 30 years after he was deposed. But believe me, our country is heading towards progress, albeit in minuscule steps. The illusion of progress under Marcos’ regime is a propaganda that continues to be spread — much to the glorification of a dictator, murderer, and a plunderer.
I believe that some of you interprets the 1986 People Power Revolution as a battle between two families: the Aquinos and the Marcoses. Believe me, you have lost the true meaning of that fateful event in our history. The 1986 People Power Revolution was not a “yellow” propaganda nor the struggle of the Aquinos against the Marcoses. It was the story of how we, the Filipino people, rose in revolt of an oppressive regime as we upheld the tenets of democracy and freedom.
You say that we can’t easily forgive and forget, which you say that we must do for our country’s progress. Bongbong Marcos, you say, is right: that it is time to move on, and we must forgive and forget. But why will we forgive and forget? The Marcoses, as far as I know, had not apologized sincerely to the Filipino people for the atrocities that their Apo Lakay committed. So why will we forgive if they haven’t apologized? Clearly, they only want us to be ignorant of the sins and to be mindful of the “gifts” brought by their father. And why will we forget the atrocities their father committed? History has judged Ferdinand Marcos as a dictator, murderer and plunderer. Forgetting the facts of history is committing an intentional amnesia of our identity and our past — so we must not forget. Never again shall we bow down to an authoritarian who robbed us for our dignity and our future.
So no, it is not time that we — as citizens of the Philippines — move on. Rather, we must relinquish the time when our country, the Philippines, was brought into its knees by a dictator who controlled everything according to how he sees fit. Rather, we must remember those who fought in the dead of the night — giving up their very lives for the sake of our motherland. Rather, we must remind every Filipinos that Ferdinand Marcos was not a hero, but a dictator who seized the wealth and the freedom of the Filipino people in order to aggrandize himself and his family.
To end my letter, I want to say that in the end, I will respect you despite how our opinions clash. But I want to remind you that being an apologetic has its limits. Watch out — what you might say as defending and upholding the principle of what you support might be fanaticism in the making. Finally, I want to remind you that your defense of Marcos and his regime is one step closer to a blind faith in half-baked truths propagated by myths and conspiracies that you equate for facts and references.
Author’s Note: I never thought that this article would become much more relevant this 2022, especially with the upcoming presidential elections. Bongbong Marcos, the son of the reviled dictator, is now running in the race and hoping to succeed President Duterte. His candicacy, like his father’s administration, is hounded by issues of tax evasion and downright incompetency. Unfortunately, many of the things I had mentioned here still ring true to this day: lies, misinformation, and the false narrative Marcos dictatorship are being weaponized to ensure the family’s return to Malacañang.