At least three Catholic bishops have urged Filipinos to remember the “dark years” of the Marcos dictatorship when martial law was imposed in the country in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Philippines celebrates this week the anniversary of the so-called People Power Revolution, also known as the EDSA Revolution, a series of popular demonstrations mostly in Metro Manila, from February 22 to 25, 1986.
The peaceful uprising led to the ouster of former president Ferdinand Marcos and ended his 20-year dictatorship.
“We need to remember the bitter truth of the Marcos dictatorship not to refresh the wounds that people experience, but to heal our future,” said Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani of Novaliches, one of the framers of the 1987 Constitution after the uprising.
The prelate urged Filipinos to take into consideration the past in casting their votes in the coming May national elections.
“Let us not allow a Marcos to win because until now they refuse to ask for forgiveness for what their family did to the Filipino people,” said the prelate.
Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., son of the late president, is running for president in this year’s elections.
Bishop Broderick Pabillo of Taytay also called for a recollection of the lessons of martial law and the 1986 uprising.
“It is important that we do not forget,” he said.
The bishop said that since 1986, stories of abuses during the dictatorship have surfaced.
Data from the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines and other human rights monitoring groups show that up to 3,000 people were killed, 35,000 were tortured, 77 went missing, and 70,000 were imprisoned during the Marcos rule.
“That’s why let us not be duped. Let us remember EDSA 1986. Let us give importance to truth in history,” said Bishop Pabillo.
Meanwhile, Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, advised the faithful to vote in the coming elections for leaders who value the spirit of the 1986 EDSA uprising.
“A good Christian will vote for someone who will continue to uphold the true spirit of the People Power Revolution, which restored democracy in our country,” said Bishop David during a voter education webinar on Tuesday, February 22.
“A good Christian will [also] vote for a candidate who will uphold and strengthen the country’s democracy, will follow the law, and will respect human rights,” he added.
Bishop David did not name names.
The Philippines will commemorate on Friday, February 25, the 36th anniversary of the peaceful uprising.