A flawed notion of historical revisionism

"But from whose perspective?"



“What is history, but a fable agreed upon?” – Napoleon

The past week witnessed a renewed vigor among the anti-Marcos elements as the social media and some mainstream media they have influenced went abuzz with accusations against singer-actress Toni Gonzaga of resorting to historical revisionism. This was after Gonzaga, who is also a vlogger herself, interviewed potential 2022 presidential candidate, former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr.

The critics even posted commentaries on the social media reminding the actress of what they described as the horrors of Martial Law which Bongbong’s father, the late President Marcos declared in 1972, which they claimed to have resulted in large-scale violations of human rights.

This, however, could be viewed as only partly true. History, as it is being taught today, has been written by a section of the society who had deposed the former president – the victors in the 1986 uprising.

Yes, Marcos declared Martial Law and with it came the incarceration of people suspected to have plotted against his government. And so did sequestration of their properties in the name of the State. And of course, a heightened war against the Underground Left and their suspected legal fronts.

But what exactly did compel Marcos to declare Martial Law then? Lust for power? That’s what his critics claim. But one undeniable fact then was that the Left was already knocking at the door of power. In fact, what once was thought to be only another conspiracy theory rumor, is now slowly emerging to be true – that the Communist Party of the Philippines which serves as the backbone the revolutionary movement in the country, has betrayed the ideals of the revolution when it opted to collaborate with an out and out enemy of the revolution – a section of the bourgeoisie. Thus, Marcos has to do something to save the class to which he belongs – the ruling class – from the Left and that particular section of the Oligarchs.  

Former cadres of the CPP are now coming out claiming that party chairman Jose Maria “Joma” Sison had sold the soul of the revolution to the group of the late Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino in exchange for funding and arms supply. The collaboration between Left and that section of the Oligarchs – precursor to the Yellows – was even openly manifested in 1978 when the Left fielded Alex Boncayao along with other traditional politicians, including Ninoy, in the election for the Interim Batasang Pambansa under the banner of the Laban ng Bayan or Laban.

Of course, it could easily be said that Joma did that with an ultimate objective of eliminating them once they achieved their goals. But then, that could also be what’s playing on the minds of these oligarchs. 

And as the critics claim, during this time, thousands were killed and jailed, all under the name of the government’s counter-insurgency program. But they are engaged in a war, casualties are but expected. Non-Party combatants can’t seek refuge on the excuse they are not directly involved in the armed struggle, for it is the policy of the Party for its members to be prepared to be deployed in the New People’s Army anytime. They are reservists. 

Expectedly, all those killed and incarcerated were labeled as victims of human rights violation by the Legal Left. But this has to be qualified. Those waging an armed struggle against the government were not listed in any roster, wore no uniform and didn't flash any ID identifying them as armed combatants. Thus, members of the Legal Left can easily vouch for a slain combatant as their member – a civilian mass activist – in order for them to claim he or she is a victim of human rights violation.

Yes, there are excesses and cases of torture have been reported and validated. There is an ongoing war. And excesses are perpetrated not only by the government forces but even those in the revolutionary movement. And this can be attested by those who survived the bloody purging of the Left, the Oplan Missing Link and Kampanyang Ahos.

Renowned photographer Alex Umali even published a book containing photos of how the armed component of the Left, the New People’s Army executes unarmed civilians they accused of being informants for the government, having them dig their own graves before shooting them down.

Eventually, the revolution was hijacked by the Oligarchs after the Left failed to capitalize on the Ninoy assassination in 1983. 

Having seized power in 1986, this section of the Oligarchs, now branded as the Yellows, with a sprinkling of some disgruntled Left began, rewriting history to suit their interest or based on how they appreciate everything that transpired. The Marcos vilification program went on full swing. Edifices like the Manila International Airport were renamed, projects including the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant were abandoned. Those killed and jailed during the Marcos era were elevated to statuses of martyrs including those who were proven to have been involved in the armed struggle against the State. Cases were filed against the Marcoses and their suspected cronies although those cases, except for the monetary claim filed in the US and the tax evasion cases against the matriarch, Imelda, which are still on appeal, have been dismissed over the years.

Adding insult to injury, the Yellows allowed the burial of a dog at the Libingan ng mga Bayani but refused such honor for the former president.

It was because they won. As Leigh Teabing, a character in Dan Brown’s novel, “The Davinci Code,” said, “History is always written by the winners. When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books—books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe.

The Marcoses have been vanquished. For them and their supporters, history as they view it, was revised. Whatever they believed the country achieved during the Marcos time was deliberately expunged. And for the longest time, they contented themselves in local politics. Where they still feel they have the support. Until 2010 when Bongbong decided to seek a senatorial post. 

Despite some members of his party actively campaigning against him (which was expected as they are high-ranking members of the Legal Left), Bongbong won. In 2016, assuming he really was not cheated, Bongbong got to 200,000 votes short of becoming the country’s vice president. In 2019, his sister, Imee landed a senatorial seat. 

And now, Bongbong is being touted as one of the stronger candidates for the 2022 presidential race.

In short, the Marcoses are again knocking at the doors of Malacañang. Reality stings these critics as the bitter truth bites into their senses, sending them into a panic mode. History, or what has been forcefully fed to us for the past 35 years, is on the verge of being rewritten again and by no less than their most abhorred adversary – the Marcoses. Once again, the Yellows and the Left are collaborating as if there were no human rights violations and abuses committed by the Yellows. 

Resorting to the wokes’ cancel culture in demonizing Bongbong and Toni Gonzaga didn’t help their cause and even backfired on them as it seemed they were the ones being cancelled as the episode’s views reached almost 4 million in just four days, with only a handful clicking on the thumbs down button.

Martial Law is the most evil thing we ever had? Well, if not for Martial Law and if the Left had taken over, we won’t even be having this discussion as everything will be under their control. We can’t even dream of pursuing life as we prefer it to be. Those funding the Martial Law Museum won’t even have a penny to spare for even the cheapest luxury.

As former film director and scriptwriter, now newspaper editor Diego Cagahastian says: “If the Left had won, it would be the ruling class who will now be shouting human rights violations. They will be the ones protesting the killings within their ranks.”

Historical revisionism they say? From whose perspective?

Topics: Toni Gonzaga , Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. , Ferdinand Marcos
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