Fears of historical revisionism resurfaced with the announcement by Ferdinand Marcos Jr. that he is appointing Sara Duterte to be Secretary of Education.
The reaction came out in social media in relation to a 2020 CNN article that Marcos Jr. wants to revise Philippine textbooks because these were “teaching children lies.”
Marcos Jr. said in the CNN article that it’s about time for educational institutions to revise the content of history textbooks, which have depicted their family in a bad light.
Marcos criticized the opposition for its prolonged “political propaganda,” which supposedly revised historical information about that Marcos family that is being taught on today’s youth.
“We have been calling on that for years. What has been proven wrong is that they continue to contend — essentially, you are teaching the children lies,” said Marcos Jr. “I think this is the very definition of revisionism. That is one important takeaway. We always knew that these were not true.”
Fake news refers to the general and widespread misinformation or disinformation by various media. Social media play a key role in influencing topics and information ranging from politics, health, belief, religion, current events, aid, lifestyle, elections, and others
Marcos Jr. lamented that he was at the receiving end of widespread disinformation and was victimized by fake news.
However, the Supreme Court’s pronouncements on the Marcos dictatorship can not be considered fake news.
It is a “well-entrenched plundering regime of 20 years,” thus ruled the Supreme Court in PCGG v. Peña (GR No. L-77663, April 12, 1988) in relation to the ill-gotten wealth cases where it noted the “magnitude of the Marcos regime’s ‘organized pillage’ and the ingenuity of the plunderers and pillagers with the assistance of the experts and best legal minds available in the market.”
Former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban enumerated some of the Marcos assets found by the Supreme Court to be “ill-gotten”:
US$658 million (Republic v. Sandiganbayan, (G.R. No. 152154. July 15, 2003)
PLDT shares (Yuchengco v. Sandiganbayan, GR NO. 149802, Jan 20, 2006
US$3.37 million (Marcos Jr. v. Republic, G.R. No. 189434 April 25, 2012
collection of jewelry (Estate of Marcos v. Republic (G.R. No. 213027January 18, 2017)
The cases applied the legal principle that “whenever any public officer or employee has acquired during his incumbency an amount or property which is manifestly out of proportion to his salary as such public officer or employee and to his other lawful income and the income from legitimately acquired property, said property shall be presumed prima facie to have been unlawfully acquired. (Sections 2 and 6 of Republic Act 1379 )
Marcos supporters argue that the era of Marcos’ reign was a “golden age,” offhandedly saying that martial law was beneficial to the country because Filipinos during that time were the most disciplined they have ever seen.
However, many Filipinos fail to see and understand what really went on behind the “discipline” that the Marcos administration forced upon every individual — curfew, veiled threats, detention, torture, disappearances, and even death.
Life under the dictatorship was deadly, especially for those who stood against Marcos.
In the case of Mijares vs Ranada (G.R. No. 139325 April 12, 2005), the Supreme Court said: “Our martial law experience bore strange unwanted fruits… the colossal damage wrought under the oppressive conditions of the period. The cries of justice for the tortured, the murdered, and the Desaparecidos arouse outrage and sympathy in the hearts of the fair-minded, yet the dispensation of the appropriate relief due them cannot be extended through the same caprice or whim that characterized the ill-wind of martial rule.”
In Dizon vs Eduardo (G.R. No. L-59118 March 3, 1988), the Court noted that “the martial law imposed in September 1972 by Marcos destroyed in one fell swoop the Philippines’ 75 years of stable democratic traditions and established reputation as the showcase of democracy in Asia.”
In Marcos vs Manglapus, (G.R. No. 88211 Sept. 15, 1989), the Court said that “the accumulated foreign debt and the plunder of the nation attributed to Mr. Marcos and his cronies left the economy devastated xxx We cannot ignore the continually increasing burden imposed on the economy by the excessive foreign borrowing during the Marcos regime, which stifles and stagnates development and is one of the root causes of widespread poverty and all its attendant ills.”
Secure at all cost the history books, particularly the Marcos-related books, that you can before they are taken out of the shelves.
The danger of historical revisionism is lurking.
Atty. Dennis R. Gorecho heads the seafarers’ division of the Sapalo Velez Bundang Bulilan law offices. For comments, email [email protected], or call 09175025808 or 09088665786