Please don’t forget
In his “A Memoir of Martial Law and Edsa 1,” National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose asked why the Marcoses and their cronies are back. He wrote that what little good his fellow Ilocano Ferdinand Marcos did had been nullified by the plunder of billions that the family stashed abroad, the destruction of many businesses, and the imprisonment, torture and killing of thousands, aggravated by moral decay.
Marcos’ widow and children are here to stay with their tall tales. And their cohorts are also back with them, for a show in sheep’s clothing. It’s such a painful insult to the intellect of freedom-loving Filipinos.
Their continuing presence in the political realm underscores our vulnerability and short memory. After years of lording it over the nation and leaving an empty treasury, they are back in power and feeling more sinned against than sinning. How could others be so gullible as to believe their paid mouthpieces and write off the conjugal dictatorship they had mapped out?
When they snatched our freedoms like those of the jailed oppositionists and journalists, and the thousands of others arrested, the tortured young and old suspects of rebellion, the murdered “enemies of the state”?
When to seek freedom became a sin but to stash a $10-billion loot (as immortalized in the Guinness Records) was not, to sustain the family’s extravagant appetites? Imelda Marcos landed in Cosmopolitan magazine’s list of 10 richest women in 1975, a mere three years after martial law was imposed; bought a posh apartment on Park Avenue, New York, for $9.5 million in 1981; acquired 700 pieces of jewelry worth $5-$8 billion; and pushed the national airline’s debt to $13.8 billion in 1986, by dint of her jet-setting rides?
When 33 percent of the national budget, which should go for the benefit of the poor and the unemployed, is allocated for the servicing and $5.25-million interest payment of their $28-billion debt legacy?
While the family bluffed and told a “penniless” tale, Imelda said they practically owned all the businesses in the country in 1998; Bongbong tried to withdraw $213 million from Switzerland’s Credit Suisse Bank in 2011; Imee contributed hugely to the Duterte presidential campaign chest in 2016 (as said by Mr. Duterte himself); and lately, Bongbong blithely paid P36 million to the Presidential Electoral Tribunal for his election protest.
The Marcos heirs have indicated an intention to turn over part of their loot, and yet they have yet to apologize and seek forgiveness for the depredations during martial law. The blood of the victims of martial law is still on their hands.
To not remember and be duped by them again, to be fooled and robbed blind again, will forever place us on the world map as a race unworthy of respect.
British investigative journalist Nicholas Davies wrote in The Guardian (5/7/16): “Although a handful of other autocrats in that era — in Haiti, Nicaragua, and Iran — were also busy stealing from their people, Marcos stole more, and he stole better. Ultimately he emerged as a laboratory specimen from the early stages of a contemporary epidemic: the global contagion of corruption that has since spread through Africa, South America, the Middle East and parts of Asia. Marcos was a model of the politician as thief.”
The 2004 Transparency International Global Corruption Report listed Marcos second to Suharto of Indonesia as the most corrupt leader, and the Guinness Records described him as the greatest thief in Asia.
There is time yet to heal this unkindest cut. Let us not forget the sacrifices of the patriots and victims of martial law, and of Ninoy Aquino; let us not forget the crimes of this family as well as their loyalists, trolls and protectors.
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Pit M. Maliksi is Most Outstanding Professor for 11 years of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Santo Tomas, Batangas, of which he is the municipal librarian, and an alumnus of the University of Santo Tomas and Central Texas College.
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