By JONAS ALPASAN
MANILA – For survivors of the Marcos dictatorship, the midnight of February 25, 1986 signaled the end of tyranny.
“United, they ousted the Marcoses and their minions from Malacañang,” said convenors of the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law, “This is a fact that not even the best of Marcos Jr.’s spin doctors could revise. It reminds us why we should never forget the sins of the Marcoses.”
Earlier today, progressives gathered in front of the People Power monument in Quezon City for a grand teach-in to remember the horrors of the Marcos dictatorship.
This was done amid the looming return of another Marcos to Malacañang as Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son and namesake of the late dictator, leads presidential surveys less than three months before the national elections.
The Marcoses tried to run away with people’s money
CARMMA said that Marcos and the rest of his family tried to run away with the people’s money. As they fled the country, they reportedly brought crates and luggage that contained jewelry, gold bars, and racks of fur coats and designer wardrobes.
In a 1986 report published by New York Times, the value of jewelry that the Marcos family brought with them was at $5 million to $10 million.
“This evidence of plunder, along with their numerous offshore bank accounts, were the evil fruits of the unbridled corruption of the Marcoses,” CARMMA said.
Estimates of the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses during their two-decade rule is between $5 billion to $10 billion. This now constitutes the Marcos estate of which both Imelda Marcos, the wife of the dictator, and Marcos Jr. are administrators, according to CARMMA.
The group added that, to this day, the Filipino people continue to pay for these debts.
Human rights violations
CARMMA also reminded the public of how thousands were imprisoned, tortured, and murdered during the Marcos dictatorship.
Amnesty International earlier estimated that there were 70,000 imprisoned, 34,000 tortured, and 3,240 killed from 1972 to 1981. Among them are student activists, teachers, religious, farmers, opposition politicians, and the Moro people.
“Feigning ignorance, Marcos Jr. denies all these even as he and his mother stood as defendants in the human rights class-action suit filed in Hawaii by the victims. The court concluded that Marcos Sr. was guilty and required the Marcos estate to indemnify the victims for USD 1.9 billion,” said CARMMA.
They never admitted their sins
The group of martial law survivors also said that the Marcos family never acknowledged their sins. Instead, CARMMA noted that they “go to all lengths to distort history with their well-oiled machinery.”
“But, remember this: Every poster and TV, radio, and print ad, every troll account and media manipulation promoting the Marcos comeback is paid for by money stolen from government coffers and the people,” CARMMA said.
A recent report of Tsek.ph, a fact-checking initiative of 34 partners from academe, media and civil society project, showed that a heavy dose of conspiracy theory, denial of human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship, and casting of democracy icon President Corazon Aquino as a villain were among the scores of disinformation on martial law that they found online.
Marcos Jr. himself was subject to scrutiny for his attempts at whitewashing the horrors of martial law.
Human rights group Karapatan noted attempts to instead depict the Martial Law period as the so-called “golden years” of prosperity.
Selda, a group of former political prisoners, refuses to accept the “unity” that Marcos Jr. is promising this election when the son of the dictator “shamelessly refused to acknowledge his family’s sins to the Filipino people and the grave abuses during his father’s bloody reign.”