Lagman, Makabayan solons vow: We won’t allow historical revision
MANILA, Philippines — Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman and members of the Makabayan bloc vowed to stop attempts to revise history concerning late former president Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s martial law regime, noting that the Marcoses appear more intent on whitewashing rather than apologizing to Filipinos.
Lagman delivered a privilege speech during the House of Representatives session on Wednesday — the 50th anniversary of Marcos Sr.’s martial law declaration — where he discussed intensively why Filipinos need to remember the wrongs of the martial law era.
Toward the end of his speech, he noted that it seemed the Marcoses were more concerned about their image than providing reparations and apologies to victims of the military rule, citing President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s insistence that his father was not a dictator.
“It seems that instead of apologies and repentance, the main beneficiaries of martial law are determined to whitewash these blood-stained and repugnant years as they continue to encourage negative historical revisionism by purging the sins of Marcos Sr., his cronies, and the Marcos family by sweeping them under the filthy rug of historical perfidy,” Lagman said.
“Last September 15, it was reported that President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. denied that his father was ever a dictator because of so-called ‘consultations’ regularly conducted by his father in Malacañang,” he added.
Lagman reminded the House and the public that these consultations were merely a “farce” as he consulted favored sectors only, adding that Marcos Sr. even padlocked Congress and gave himself legislative powers.
“In the context of the Marcos martial law, when dissent was conveniently stifled, consultation inevitably was a farce. It should be recalled that upon his declaration of martial law, Marcos Sr. padlocked Congress and exercised legislative powers by issuing a series of executive issuances that have the force of law without any consultation with the people or concerned stakeholders,” he explained.
“It must be conceded that the President has the right to his own opinion but he does not have a right to his own reality. For as long as President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. persists in denying the undeniable dictatorship of his father, then Marcos Jr. will forever be known as the ‘Son of the Dictator Marcos,'” he added.
After Lagman’s speech, lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc lauded him for speaking out on the issue, saying that they would also not allow any revision of what happened during Marcos Sr.’s tenure — considered by many as a dark period for the country.
“In the commemoration of the 50th year since Marcos Sr. declared martial law, we remember, and we praise all the women and the people who fought to frustrate the dictatorship. We also strengthen our resolve for the continuous fight and push for true democracy and freedom,” Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas said in Filipino.
“We will never forget the thousands slain and jailed under the Marcos dictatorship. We would still seek charges; we would shout for justice. Never again. Never forget,” she added.
Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel also thanked Lagman for speaking up, promising they would continue to remind the youth about history lessons.
“The youth of today will not forget and will continue to study the lessons that have been imparted to us by past generations who fought for democracy in our country, and who tried to push for the rise of our people so that these are protected from any types of threats or attacks,” he said.
Alliance of Concerned Teachers Rep. France Castro meanwhile said that it is important to bring back the teaching of Philippine history as a separate subject in high school.
“The widespread proliferation of disinformation and historical distortion paved the way to historical amnesia of the atrocities that occurred during the Martial law of the late dictator,” she said.
“This is why it is very important to bring back Philippine history as a separate subject in high school to ensure that the Filipino people do not forget the lessons of the past and not let the sins of those in office in the past against the people will not be repeated,” she added.
On Wednesday, several human rights groups and activists commemorated the 50th anniversary of Marcos Sr.’s martial law declaration. Several activities were lined up for Wednesday, in remembrance of the people who died during that period.
Groups staged demonstrations, moving from several key protest areas like Plaza Miranda, Commission on Human Rights grounds, and inside the University of the Philippines – Diliman.
Marcos Sr.’s tenure was marred with human rights abuses like extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, illegal arrests, and massive plunder and cronyism. The criticisms eventually led to a peaceful revolution in 1986, which forced the family to go on exile in the United States for several years.
Eventually, family members would return to the Philippines, reestablishing their foothold in Philippine politics. They would also claim that the martial law era was a golden age for the country.