Never again


A day of infamy. If the United States has one in Dec. 8, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan, the Philippines has its own in Sept. 21, 1972, when Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law and shoved the country into a dark, traumatic path from which it has yet to fully emerge.

Quite a number will disagree with that last assertion, and many of them have found the new platform of social media, with its freewheeling, ad hoc nature, as the perfect venue to propagate their alternate take on Philippine history. Here, in slickly made videos and in commentaries, Marcos’ reign is presented as the best thing that happened to the nation: The economy was second only to Japan in Asia, crime was low, the streets were clean, the people disciplined; human rights abuses were a collateral result of the fight to save the country from godless communists; and if there was thievery in government, only the top honcho was doing it—unlike today when it’s every grubby man and woman for themselves. The “New Society,” in short, is being packaged as an unappreciated and all-too-brief  belle  epoque  in Philippine history.

This is not, unfortunately, a fringe view, or one espoused by extremists and Marcos diehards. An informal survey conducted among students, street vendors and workers last year, two weeks before the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the martial law declaration, showed that many ordinary citizens were at best ambivalent about Marcos’ imposition of authoritarian rule. The chaos of democracy, the breakdown of law and order, the riot of corruption scandals, and the grinding, never-ending poverty that metastasized after the 1986 Edsa revolt have made some people nostalgic for the narcotic effects of Marcos’ strongman rule.

And this is not the older generation alone talking. Young people tend to have a minimal grasp of history, if at all, and if the chatter on social media is any gauge, they are some of the most vociferous in disseminating a rose-colored view of the Marcos era. That clueless revisionism comes with the simultaneous task of trying to demolish the heroism of Ninoy Aquino and the thousands of activists and freedom fighters who risked their lives to bring the horrors of martial law to light.

It’s easy to blame teachers and educators for the sorry ignorance of students and the young about recent Philippine history. But if something is wrong with the educational system in its inability to teach the lessons of the recent past to its young wards, it’s also true that it takes its cue from the larger civic environment—one characterized by a casual forgetfulness that can be described as pathological.

Students may be taught in school that the Marcoses did enormous damage to the country—but why will they believe that when, outside of their campuses, they see that the public has apparently forgotten and all too easily forgiven the family? Not only have Imelda Marcos, her children, and their cronies and underlings escaped any meaningful prosecution for having run the country to the ground in their time, they’ve also waltzed back to power on the strength of an approving electorate.

The landmark bill signed by President Aquino last February that mandates reparations for Marcos victims of human-rights abuses tries to address this collective amnesia with a laudable component. It requires that the Department of Education work “to ensure that the teaching of martial law atrocities, the lives and sacrifices of [victims of human rights violations] in our history are included in the basic, secondary, and tertiary education curricula.” But until now, Malacañang has yet to constitute the claims board that will compensate the victims. That means the separate commission that will establish a memorial, museum and library for remembering martial law is even farther from becoming reality.

In this historical vacuum, the dictator’s heirs are daily chipping at the country’s already feeble capacity for reflection. Recently, Imelda said she wants her son to run for president in 2016. This being a magic-realist country where even convicted plunderers can stage spectacular political comebacks, there is obviously no stopping them—except a public that hopefully recovers its memory, self-respect, and sense of right and wrong in time to say: Never again.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • pinoynga

    “Never again–a day of infamy.” Unfortunately, tyrants and tyranny have many faces, many fathers. On the other hand, freedom and justice are both struggling orphans being adopted by shameless fathers.

    Hitler and Mussolini from our not too distant past, and today’s most recent tyrants like but not limited to, Kim Jong Il, Robert Mugabe, Hosni Mubarak, Bashar al-Assad, and of course, Imelda’s BFF, Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, are tyranny’s classical models. And Filipinos, never wanting to be outdone, have our most distinguished representative, Ferdinand Edralin Marcos!

    And in the Philippines’ own “day of infamy,” among many other such incidents, we have quite a few copycats–about P10 billion worth of them tyrants. Of course they will pale in comparison to the world’s top, but nevertheless, shameless tyrants in their own very respective rights. Bottomline, they take away pennies even from the most unfortunate who do not even pay taxes, because they practically live on scraps and on karitons!

    How I wish Filipinos, someday soon, can really say, “never again” . . . because we too have a “dream” that one day our three little children Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, will not be judged by the color of their money, but rather by the strength of their characters.

    And Pinoys, where ever you are today: Don’t you ever forget this “day in infamy!”

  • mad_as_Hamlet

    * * * * * * * * *
    Mr. Sen. Marcos singing the first stanzas of
    the song “Let Me Try Again,” as amended—

    “We know you thought that we were leaving
    But we just didn’t mean good-bye
    It was only self-protecting
    To walk away from but a few
    When many really trusted you

    We learned how everyone must pay
    We’ve learned and we are back to stay

    We will try again – let me try again
    Think of all we had before – let us try again
    We can have it all – you and I again
    Just forget them and let us rise – please let us try again.”

    (The People answering with the next stanzas
    of the same song, as amended)

    “We were fools we didn’t hang you
    To think you’d leave us all alone
    Your gall and lies they condemn you
    Now you must cease to exist
    We rue about the chance we’ve missed

    To hang you is an easy task
    And burn you with your mocking mask

    Don’t you try again – don’t you try again
    ‘Twon’t be like before – don’t you dare once more
    We will hang you all – no mistake again
    Just forget it or you’ll die – so don’t you try again.”
    – – -


    The best teacher is experience. Perhaps what were pleasantly experienced before by ordnary folks were story told over and over as years pass by. No wonder some youth today believe that the Marcos administratiom was almost like Camelot In my case I was better off before during the iron fist rule.

    • Eustaquio Joven

      Who isn’t better off during FM’s rule? At least the masses were. Now only the elite are better off, and are even growing better by the hour. The reverse is true of the masa.

      • TGM_ERICK

        You are correct as supported by rising GNP that does not benefit the poor. What do we need for apresident? An economist or an AB course graduate or an engineer that can use math to see through everything.

      • Eustaquio Joven

        I think we can’t just pick and unknown from nowhere and expect he/she to win. I would rather go for track record and exposure to local governments, actual or vicarious, instead of educational background. I choose Cong. Leni Robredo. How about you?

      • TGM_ERICK

        Sorry, Cong. Robredo would be another Cory in my view. I would rather go for Poe or Imee if the latter could really show their remorse on what happened in their father’s regime. Going after their “ill gotten” wealth is now water under the bridge. So many tales of corruptions has crept into it. With Imee’s brilliance she could lead our country to prosperity provided that she would not think of her own family’s interests. The only thing is that if she makes a move to get to the bottom of Ninoy’s killer she wouldn’t be believed for it is an in-law of the Aquinos who masterminded it in collusion with others in their mad scramble for power. One proof is the distant relationship that is now prevailing between the Aquinos and the Cojuangcos. Only both could not come out with the truth to keep Ninoy on the pedestal.

      • Eustaquio Joven

        Sorry, but Leni is not your ordinary housewife. She’s a lawyer. Apparently, she’s the woman behind Jesse’s success. Poe would likely ape Cory. What has Imee got to show? Her name and money are both positive and negative factors.

      • TGM_ERICK

        You have apoint only Leny though a lawyer is a nephyte in government.

      • Eustaquio Joven

        She is the woman behind the man. What would Jesse be without her?

      • TGM_ERICK

        Ok, I agree.

      • Eustaquio Joven

        Hahaha. Is it because I touched someone’s ego.

      • PunyeteroKa

        Imee? Brandishing about her Brazilian male model toy? Truly her mother (& father’s) daughter! Mahirap ang ganyan, minsan mas nanaig ang bogli kesa isip!

      • TGM_ERICK


      • PunyeteroKa

        HAHAHAHA!! Yan ang magandang sumagot! Peace!!

  • ashleybulls

    So why are they free after Edsa 1? What’s the use of our jails? The past governments were a failure as an institution. So will the current government be a failure too? So title your editorial as “Never Again?”…


    The widening gap between the rich and the poor is the real reason why the Marcos administration is still longed for. The succeeding regimes have failed the majority who unfortunately are as poor as mice. Can knowing the atrocities of the past feed a hungry nation? Unmitigated and indescribable looting of our government coffers has jolted us to the reality that even there were corruptions then during those times, it is nothing compared now. Notoriety in all facets of life is in existence. Crimes that are committed are more heinous, every street corner has a drug addict, Peace and order is still elusive where more lives are being lost. Even natural phenomena like typhooms are more menacing. Before, when one looked for a job people would say, nagbibilang ng , poste. Ngayon tumingala ka na lang sa langit .




    • aristeosj

      Just because life is more miserable now does not follow that we have to seek or long for(as per your statement)the services again of a family(the Marcoses) who bled this country dry and left her for the dogs.

      Instead,we should unceasingly search and motivate people and leaders who have the genuine heart for this country and its people(though few and far between),and not ‘long for’ the ‘recycled politicians’ whose only aim is to perpetuate themselves in power and continue to fool the people with their ‘undying rhetoric of professing their love to the nation’.

      Can knowing the atrocities of the past feed a hungry nation,you asked.Probably not,but it is an eye-opener and we, at least, can hopefully learn from it(like what is being flashed in our headlines now).

      No!!Never again shall the atrocities of our so-called ‘leaders’,past and present,be inflicted on us.

      • TGM_ERICK

        No never again, but it is happening. Some politicois after Marcos are not as brazen as marcos but more potent for the are killing ussoftly with their robbery. They are all like Marcos except with his martial rule. They are all thieves.

      • Eustaquio Joven

        Yes, I agree. What Never Again are they talking about? The evil side of Marcos has returned with a vengeance. It was reincarnated by Cory herself in her kamag-anaks, in almost all elected officials, in our courts and even in the cabinet of her son. Perhaps, the only thing that Cory democratized is corruption.

      • TGM_ERICK

        Hehehe! True my friend.

      • Eustaquio Joven

        If, as you say, Marcos bled this country dry, why were we better off then than now?


    >>>Never again<<<

    NEVER AGAIN. Never again will we see the country rid of MAGNANAKAWS, MANDARAMBONGS, and MANGUNGULIMBATS so long as the FRUITS of the MAGNANAKAWS, MANDARAMBONGS, and MANGUNGULIMBATS continue to be in our presence. Fruits from the trees of like Marcos, Enrile, Estrada, Binay, Arroyo, Syjuco, Cojuangco, Tantoco, Cuenca, Morato, Genuino, Garcias, Ligot, Suarez, Angara, Hernandez, Mendoza, Ebdane, Esperon, Revilla, Sotto, Lapid, and Villafuerte.

    Habang ang ugat o pugad ng mga MAGNANAKAW, MANDARAMBONG, at MANGUNGULIMBAT ng mga yan ay namamayagpag sa kapaligiran natin na tila cancer na kumakalat sa katawan, NEVER AGAIN na maasahan natin na maumunbalik ang dating kapayapaan at katinuan ng ating mahal na bansa.

    TANGGALIN ang TNL na mga CANCER na yan….at PAGBUBUNUTIN ang mga UGAT…. at IPUKOL sa bangin ang mga PUGAD ng mga MAGNANAKAW, MANDARAMGONG, at MANGUNGULIMBAT sa pinakalalong madaling panahon.


    Why not?
    If they have that economic vision and not leaving the poor behind, why not?
    If they can control the OLIGARCHY which sucks the nations wealth, why not?
    We have tried the ways of the yellows for quite some time and the Philippines is still economically behind and the poor are left behind.
    So, why not?


    We can see why the oligarchs are heavily financing on campaign to discredit the opposition because of that “NEVER AGAIN” will they be deprived of their OLIGARCHIC RIGHTS (which is pampered under the yellow legacy).

  • chimney45

    Never again, but the shadows of corruption and abuse have never ceased, Filipinos were weak ,so much political storms battered us but we still weak to confront the real problem that sicken this country.Marcos is gone but political dynasties is alive and sucked the wealth of this country. Now too much corruption have been committed even by neophyte politicians, they have no sense of patriotism they were clinging to their wealth while millions of Filipinos were digging their own graves because of hunger, no medicine, wars, uncontrolled crime, poverty etc.if we will cling to arm revolution maybe we can change the future of our country.

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks

May 22, 2015

China versus Edca

May 21, 2015

Right thing to do