U.P. History professors slam Bongbong’s call to revise Marcos regime accounts in textbooks

MANILA, Philippines – Professors of the University of the Philippines (UP) Department of History denounced the call of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr to revise accounts of his father’s two-decade regime in school textbooks.

“Mariing tinutuligsa ng UP Departamento ng Kasaysayan ang mapanlinlang na pahayag ni G. Bongbong Marcos tungkol sa pagrerebisa ng nilalaman ng mga textbook sa Kasaysayan. Isa itong malinaw na pagkutya at pagbabaluktot sa katotohanan. Wala itong ibang layunin kundi ang tuluy-tuloy na pagtakpan ang di-mabilang na mga paglabag sa karapatang pantao at katiwalian sa ilalim ng diktadurang Marcos mula 1972 hanggang 1986,” the UP History professors said in a statement on Friday, January 17.

(The UP Department of History strongly denounces the deceptive statement of Mr Bongbong Marcos about revising the contents of History textbooks. This a clear mockery and distortion of the truth. This has no other objective than to continue covering up the countless human rights violations and corruption under the Marcos dictatorship from 1972 to 1986.)

The late Ferdinand Marcos first became president in 1965 and stayed in power until he was ousted by the 1986 People Power Revolution.

The UP History professors reckoned the Marcos dictatorship from 1972, the year he declared Martial Law.

The Marcoses have long sought to sanitize their reputation and even have the late dictator be hailed as a hero, which Bongbong Marcos would use to bolster his attempt to reinstate his family in Malacañang in the 2022 presidential elections, the professors said.

They reiterated their call for a comprehensive evaluation and rationalization of textbooks’ contents to reflect the country’s true history, including a critical appraisal of Marcos’ Martial Law.

Accounts should include the era’s economic crisis and widespread poverty, repression of civil rights especially free speech, rise in criminality despite an iron-fisted regime, rampant plunder of the treasury by the Marcoses’ relatives and friends, and the family’s unexplained amassing of billions of dollars in Swiss banks, on top of hoards of paintings that the anti-graft court Sandiganbayan considered “unlawfully acquired” wealth that needs to be returned to the treasury, the professors said. 

In fact, the Supreme Court ordered the return to the government of $658 million from the Marcoses’ secret Swiss bank accounts, they pointed out.

“Beyond teaching the truth in the textbooks of History that corruption and violence reigned during the Marcos dictatorship, the country ought to make the Marcoses explain their criminal wealth and to have them answer for the rampant human rights abuses from 1972 to 1986,” the professors said in Filipino.

They then called for greater commitment to oppose “self-serving historical revisionism” that flies in the face of those who suffered atrocities during the Marcos years, and to uphold the truth.

Last week, Bongbong Marcos told a gathering of the National Press Club that school textbooks that talk about the abuses and excesses of the Marcos dictatorship should be revised.The recent dismissal of a number of his family’s corruption cases at the Sandiganbayan, he said, was proof that his family had only been victims of a smear campaign.

However, local and international court decisions, and independent investigations have established that the Marcoses amassed an up to an estimated $10 billion or P500 billion in ill-gotten wealth, of which the government had recovered around P170 billion by 2018.

Recent dismissals of the family’s corruption cases were on technicalities.

In November 2018, the Sandiganbayan found former first lady Imelda Marcos guilty of 7 counts of graft, but the police have not implemented an order to arrest her.

Bongbong Marcos lost his vice presidential bid in the 2016 elections and have since protested the result. In October 2019, his opponent, Vice President Leni Robredo, ended up gaining even more votes after an initial, partial recount of ballots sanctioned by the Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.

Members of the Marcos family hold key local and national government positions, most notably Senator Imee Marcos, Bongbong’s sister. – Rappler.com

JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.

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