Catholic and Protestant Church leaders warned Filipinos about what they described as “an attempt to distort and reframe history” to paint a different picture of the years of martial law under former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
“With the election season upon us, we underscore that every Filipino should assess and consider carefully what is true: Marcos is no hero,” read a statement released by the ecumenical group “One Voice.”
“Let us not be misled by any attempt to distort and reframe history,” read the statement issued on the fifth anniversary of the “hero’s burial” accorded by the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to the late dictator in 2016.
The group said “evidence of the dark days of martial law are before us,” citing the reported torture, imprisonments, and killings of people that continue to proliferate in the country, and “the widespread poverty and massive corruption.”
“We encourage everyone to discern the truth of our history and to apply such wisdom to present realities,” read the Church leaders’ statement.
“We applaud those who have seen and led the way ahead for unity and harmony in the earnest intent to achieve common desires for peace, justice, and truth to flourish,” it added.
The statement was signed by Catholic Bishops Broderick Pabillo of Taytay, Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos and Protestant Bishops Reuel Norman Marigza of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines, Rhee M. Timbang of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, Rex Resurreccion B. Reyes of The Episcopal Diocese of Central Philippines, and Emergencio Padillo of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.
Brother Armin A. Luistro, FSC of the Lasallian East Asia District, Sister Rowena Pineda, MMS, of the Sisters Association of Mindanao, and Sister Ma. Lisa Ruedas, DC, of the Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation also signed the statement.
The Church leaders called on Filipinos to “embrace the truth” that “Marcos is no hero,” saying that “those whose hands are bloodied by killings and tainted by death and destruction are not worthy of emulation.”
They denounced “the evil of martial law and raises the dangers of allowing its resurgence through candidates of the same fabric of lies, tyranny and human degradation.”
Several supporters of the former dictator, including his son — former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. — are running for public office in next year’s national elections.
“The Marcoses have funds at their disposal to engage in all manner of disinformation or spread of untruths, true to their unrepentant form,” read One Voice’s statement.
“Their wealth was stolen, their stories are false, and they continue to peddle lies and unscrupulous methods of self-aggrandizement and public influence,” it added.
In a separate statement, human rights group Karapatan “declare[d] our strongest conviction against the comeback of the Marcoses to the highest seat of power in the land.”
The group called on Filipinos to let “historical facts of atrocities and realities resound and reverberate louder and clearer.”
Karapatan said that Marcos “may have been buried, but the horror lives on” with his son who is “poised to snatch the presidency in 2022.”
“When many of the martial law survivors have not lived on to see this coming, we call on the succeeding generations to take on the task of rejecting the evil alliance of Marcos and Duterte,” said the group.
Sara Duterte, mayor of Davao and daughter of President Duterte, is running as “guest candidate” for vice president of Marcos in next year’s elections.
“We oppose how the Marcos-Duterte alliance seeks to amalgamate the whole state machinery, and their cohorts among the ruling classes, to further oppress and exploit the Filipino people, to the desires of their foreign masters,” read Karapatan’s statement.