Human rights lawyer scoffs at historical revisionism aided by 'selective memory or vulnerable ignorance'
MANILA - Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos on Wednesday expressed admiration for "millennials" who have an "exciting reassessment" of the legacy of her father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, a revision of history that victims of the strongman's repressive regime have many times decried.
In a forum Wednesday, Marcos said the more favorable look at their family's legacy, seen among the youth who did not experience martial law, can also be seen in recent surveys.
"Ang nakakagulat e 'yung mga millenials at 'yung bagong pananaw sa aking ama. The legacy of my father is reassessed in a vigorous and exciting way," she said.
"Nakikita ko kung minsan, may mga survey-survey diyan, sino daw 'yung best president. Sasabihin 'yung tatay ko daw pinakamatalino, pinaka-competent, pinakamahusay," she added.
The governor credits this new perspective to the 20-year rule of her father - otherwise recalled for killings, enforced disappearances, abuses and plunder - to what she calls the youth's resourcefulness in researching history in the internet.
"Kung kami inuugnay sa kung ano-anong kasalanan, inuugnay din naman kami sa ano-anong kabutihan" said Marcos, who admitted that February is not her favorite month.
It was in February 1986 that her father was ousted in a peaceful revolt.
'HISTORICAL REALITY': MARCOS A 'SCHEMING AUTHORITARIAN'
Edre Olalia, a human rights lawyer who has represented martial law victims, scoffed at Marcos' statement, asserting the "historical reality" that the strongman was "a scheming authoritarian, a fascist ruler, and an unmitigated megathief long memorialized in history and validated by local and international jurisprudence."
"To reinvent him as the smartest, most competent and best president is to turn things on their head either by selective memory or vulnerable ignorance," Olalia told ABS-CBN News when sought for comment.
Not all "millennials" subscribe to the positive view of the Marcos regime that the Ilocos Norte governor had painted, as thousands of youth led the protest when the late dictator was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery) in 2016 in rites shrouded in secrecy.
Martial law under the Marcos regime was marked with corruption and atrocities with at least 3,257 people killed and some 35,000 others tortured.
The Marcos family's ill-gotten wealth is estimated to reach $10 billion, according to the Philippine Commission on Good Government. Only P170 billion has been recovered in 30 years.
Despite these abuses and the lack of an apology from the Marcoses, the late strongman's widow, Imelda, and children, Imee and former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., continued to command a following.
Imelda Marcos is Ilocos Norte Representative, daughter Imee is the province's governor, while the late dictator's namesake, a former Senator, is still challenging his loss in the May 2016 Vice Presidential race.
The Marcoses have also seemingly found an ally in President Rodrigo Duterte, who has openly expressed admiration for the late dictator, even allowing his burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Duterte's late father Vicente served in Marcos' pre-martial law cabinet.
With the current "Marcos-friendly" environment, as Martial Law human rights victim Etta Rosales called it, critics fear the possible return of the Marcoses in Malacañang.
-- report from Jorge Cariño, ABS-CBN News