It seems that many were surprised how Bongbong Marcos, the son of the former dictator who allegedly caused the downfall of the Philippines, received massive support from the Filipino people and almost won the Vice Presidential race during the recent Philippine Elections.
Many suspect that this is a product of intergenerational gap that made this generation fail to remember the horrors of the Martial Law. The hashtag #NeverForget is coined by anti-Marcos citizens in support of placing another Marcos back in power (now even closer to the presidency).
But why is it that despite the campaigns against the Marcoses; the historical accounts against the Martial Law; and the continuous propaganda and allegations against the Marcos' family stealing massive amounts of taxpayers' money, the Marcoses continue to get the support of many Filipinos?
While many continue to scream for justice and for the Marcoses to return the wealth they allegedly stole from us, it seems that almost as many continue to believe in the merits of Marcos as well. While a lot of people cannot seem to fathom why that is so, this article aims to understand why a lot of Marcos apologists came to be.
Here are three things that perpetuated the Marcos support:
1. Aquino- Marcos Dichotomy
Philippine politics has somehow been divided to two big names. When the EDSA revolution went down, it was either you were an ally of the Marcoses or an ally of the Aquinos. The political division went on for years up to this date.
The dichotomy may be illogical but it's apparently a reality. People are under the impression that if you are anti-Marcos, then you have to be a supporter of the Aquinos and vice versa. This isn't surprising considering that one's political identity is greatly shaped by how great his affinity can impact and forward his political cause.
For example, in the United States, there are many existing political parties but we all know that there are two that dominate the political arena, namely the Democrats and the Republicans. People also operate on the similar dichotomy- if you're not a democrat, you're most probably a republican, and vice versa. And if you're neither, you're most likely apolitical, a hippie, or a crony-either which, your personal politics is taken less seriously, or has the minimal avenue for impact.
(Photo credit: rappler)
The similar dichotomy happens in the Philippines as well. The media has painted the Marcos legacy to be the grim dictatorial regime while the Aquinos were supposedly the crusaders of democracy. A lot of people do not believe in the probity of the Aquinos thus by virtue of the political dichotomy they tend to adjust their biases and support the Marcoses instead.
It's easy to concede that whoever a person supports, may it be the Aquinos or the Marcoses, the recognition of imperfection is present but so is a moral compromise. To a Marcos Apologist, Marcos ends may have justified his means, and it is more reprehensible to support the Aquinos because of all of the economic potentialities they shut down because of their pride, or for all their hypocrisy.
2. Robinhood Mentality
In the Philippines, it seems that people are rather forgiving to people who give back. A good example would be how despite the legion of allegations against Binay and Erap, they continue to get massive support from the electorate. Why? Because according to these people, they've done a lot, they have given back so much to the people. It seems that they have forgotten that giving to the people is not a special distinct quality but a bare minimum for public servants. Another example would be Jaguar Diaz, a known Drug Lord in Cebu City. During his funeral, many citizens and supporters mourned and sympathized for him. Diaz was known to have helped many people in Cebu by giving financial aid, scholarships among other things. So despite being a tycoon that exploited on people's weaknesses, people are very forgiving, because again, he has given back so much to the people.
It seems that the people of this country truly suffers a great deal that it has an ambiguous moral fiber. It's hard to blame people especially those victimized by poverty for this moral compromise. The easiest logical route to take is to blame poverty. The source for the moral compromise is the economic alleviation provided by these personalities, hence it is safe to assume that if people were getting these alleviations from the right channels, they wouldn't be reliant and thankful for blood money.
The circumstances are always great factors that determine a society's moral compass. Say for example, when Yolanda hit Tacloban, many would argue that given the dire state, it was justified for people to loot in order to survive. That is an example of a shift due to moral compromise. Perhaps in this case, because many people are poor, and the sitting administration does very little to help them, people shift to become more forgiving of those who may have faulted them but did a lot to help.
3. The Victor Writes History Narrative
It's true that our textbooks are pretty much uniform in portraying Marcos as the evil dictator who claimed many lives just to remain in power. While many believe this historical narrative, many also attempt to reveal "the true story", or a counter story that says otherwise.
This article is not attempting to put a debate on which historical account is factual. At best, we leave it at a deadlock. We may never know what truly transpired, and how it all happened but there is one thing that we are sure of- that people have started doubting.
However, it's an existing trend to refute historical accounts using "the victor writes history narrative". This has greatly affected the United States in terms of intervening in the affairs of the Middle Eastern States. Many critics have demonized the US intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan claiming that threats were fabricated by the victors to justify their actions.
READ ALSO: US sources prove Marcos Sr. not a hero
People have seen so much of cover-ups, of politicians capitalizing the media to shape societal perception, that they have now started believing otherwise.
Many up to now continue to believe that the Aquinos have exaggerated in demonizing the late President Marcos in order to assume power and overthrow the regime. If we take historical accounts into the picture, the late President Cory Aquino never really won the election against Marcos and had to march on the streets to overthrow Marcos.
Many political analysts would argue that Cory's presidency was one of the most unconstitutional in Philippine History.
Many supporters also argue that the Aquinos invested too much in order to wipe out any traces of the Marcos Legacy. When the Bataan Power Plant was shut down, it cost the Philippines millions of potential income and savings. Up to now, there is no viable explanation as to why the power plant was shut down. People only suspect that it was to discredit the Marcoses of any kind of good.
The Aquinos have also been implicated in many crimes, the greatest of which, the Hacienda Luisita Massacre, of which until now, the lives claimed are deprived of Justice. Because of this hypocrisy, this manipulation of power, people are more incentivized to impugn "historical accounts" and have started believing the alternate stories.
If Marcos was truly the horrendous tyrant we all claim he is and if people really believed that, then his legacy should have died down along with him. While it is true that apologists and loyalists would always exist, it's unusual for it to be this plenty. Many would argue that the Aquino's zeal to wipe all traces of his legacy in hopes to discredit him is exactly why people have started not believing.
READ ALSO: A collection of stories on Marcos treasury
This probably answers the question why people do not heed #NeverForget, because truth is, they haven't. They remember, but they have started not believing and worse, they have started to be okay with it.
So contrary to the allegations of the people being forgetful and indifferent, the truth is, people are mere victims of poverty and the culture of political division. - SK, Kami Media
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Kami.com.ph.