Lack of reckoning fueling Martial Law revisionism: human rights chief

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 28 2018 04:11 PM

MANILA—Filipinos who toppled former dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986 are waging another battle today against his supporters spreading their own version of history, the country’s human rights chief said. 

Specifically targeted by this supposed historical revisionism are young Filipinos who never experienced martial law, said lawyer Jose Luis Martin Gascon.

“Dahil walang reckoning, walang accounting na naganap, nagsusubok ang ilan na baguhin ang interpretasyon ng nangyari at maaaring magtagumpay ito kung mabura nila ang katotohanan,” he told ABS-CBN News on the eve of Marcos’ 29th death anniversary Friday.

Marcos died in exile in Hawaii in 1989, but it took 4 years before his remains were allowed to be brought back to the country.

In 2016, a few months after President Rodrigo Duterte took office, Marcos was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, a move that sparked widespread condemnation from martial law victims.

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In a previous interview, torture victim Bonifacio Ilagan described the burial as part of a bigger effort to rehabilitate the Marcos family’s image with the ultimate goal of regaining the presidency. 

Ilagan, an activist and playwright, heads a group campaigning against the return of the Marcoses to Malacañang.

Gascon was hoping that the long-delayed construction of a museum and library dedicated to Marcos victims would help “ensure that the future would not repeat those atrocities.”

It will be put up at the University of the Philippines in Diliman and will include a roll containing the names of victims.

A 2013 law recognizing the victims and granting them monetary reparation also called for a “compendium of their sacrifices” to be made available online.

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Gascon rejected a previous appeal by the late dictator’s daughter, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imme Marcos, for Filipinos to “move on.”

“Hindi pupwede yung sinasabi nilang move on,” Gascon said.

“Importante ay meron tayong pag-ako ng katotohanan at paghahanap ng katarungan at makakatulong kung ang pamilya Marcos ay imbes na magbigay ng alternative facts or alternative history ay umako na lang na nangyari at naganap ito at humingi ng kapatawaran.”

Loretta Ann Rosales, a former human rights chairwoman, said the public should not forget that Marcos’ “weaponization of the law” to “justify and legitimize one-man rule” was still being felt today. 

“The one-man rule, which we inherited from Mr. Marcos, up to now, finds its traces in the way government is run,” she told ABS-CBN News.