Malacanang's Gazette under fire for 'pro-Marcos' FB post

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 12 2016 10:01 AM | Updated as of Sep 12 2016 12:43 PM

MANILA - The Official Gazette state journal denied Monday allegations that it attempted to rewrite history when it described the rule of late former President Ferdinand Marcos during the Martial Law period.

The Gazette wrote Sunday a Facebook post commemorating the birthday of Marcos.

Describing the late strongman's political career, the publication said Marcos declared Martial Law "to suppress a communist insurgency and seccionism (sic) in Mindanao."

"In 1986, Marcos stepped down from the presidency to avoid bloodshed during the uprising that came to be known as 'People Power,'" Gazette added.

The post drew flak from critics who insisted that Marcos declared Martial Law to extend his term of office. Some people also stressed that the late strongman did not voluntarily step down from power, but was forced out of office by an uprising that involved civil society and state troops.

But Assistant Presidential Communications Secretary Ramon Cualoping III maintained Monday that the Gazette, which is "devoid of political color," was not trying to retell history.

"We are not in the business of revising history. We only convey what is documented in the official records," Cualoping said.

"We continually update materials to keep it as historically accurate as possible. The Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines is devoid of any political color and affiliations."

The Gazette has since revised its original post, removing the description of Marcos' authoritarian rule.

WHO WROTE THE POST?

Public interest lawyer Jesus Falcis has sought clarification on whether the post was written by Gazette's Marcos Angelo Cabrera, who had supposedly worked for former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, son of the late president.

On Facebook, Falcis said Cabrera's ties to the younger Marcos presents a conflict of interest as the official will be required to address issues about the late president and his family.

"The conflict of interest is so glaring and palpable. Multiple issues and events will require you to post on matters touching Ferdinand Marcos and his family - from the current issue on his burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani to future commemorations of the declaration of Martial Law and the EDSA Revolution," said Falcis, who is also a lecturer at the Far Eastern University.

If Cabrera indeed worked for Marcos, Falcis also urged him to either resign from his post or "have the delicadeza" to inhibit from issuing any official communication about the Marcoses.

Cabrera, for his part, did not directly confirm if he was behind the controversial post, but instead underscored that he had fully disclosed his employment record to his superiors.

"I was accepted to be a #PartnerForChange and I continue to work in government for this new administration with the sincerest belief that to work for President Rodrigo Duterte is a wonderful opportunity and a great cause," he added.

Cabrera also claimed that he is being harassed on social media due to the issue.

"The harassment includes threats on my life and my liberty. My friends may worry about me and those whose political views differ from mine may say that I had it coming," he said.

Cabrera said he has reported the alleged abuse to authorities and has taken measures to ensure his family's safety.

The issues come amid a legal battle before the Supreme Court on the planned hero's burial for the Marcos patriarch.

The high court last week extended until October 18, 2016 an earlier halt order it issued against the interment of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

President Rodrigo Duterte, a friend of the younger Marcos, had given the green light for the burial as part of his campaign promise.

Duterte firm on hero's burial for Marcos: Palace