(PHOTO CAPTION: In the “Hall of Orphans,” a child holding a picture of a missing loved one in the Journey Toward Light museum in Manila, Philippines on life under Martial Law. Photo by Eloisa Lopez)
While the success of Rodrigo Duterte to be president is evident as this point, Ferdinand Marcos Jr still hopes he will win the vice presidency over Leni Robredo who apparently leads the recent counting of votes. Duterte, despite being known to be a tough crime fighter made a promise in his campaign that he is far from implementing martial law.
In the midst of the cry of millions of the young Marcos’ supporters that he is a victim of cheating, many have forgotten that his name sake was synonymous to power and martial law. He is being looked at now as an underdog.
In one of his campaigns, Marcos said he is not ready to say sorry and would say sorry if he knew what he had to be sorry for — referring to the more than two decades of military ruling under his late father’s so called dictatorship regime. He believes he does not need to apologize, on behalf of his late father, to the many people (or their families) who were imprisoned, sexually assaulted, tortured or just disappeared during martial law years when freedom of the press was also suppressed. It is agony up to this very moment for people, like a personal friend I know, whose sister, a university student in the mid 70s, disappeared because she openly criticized the government.
I grew up in a small-town household that knew only Marcos. My parents were both dedicated and law-abiding government employees and public servants who spoke only but praises of the ex-president. History books never mentioned anything about human rights violations because the government run the public school.
In this age of facebook and twitter, martial law for sure has no room in the Philippines, but while many believe the sin of the father is not the sin of the son, it seems that people do not care anymore about the hidden wealth. And while many know about the pains inflicted during the martial law years, some believe that a tough punisher like Marcos was essential in cleaning the country off from criminal elements at those times. For the victims, the lost lives and broken dreams, and for loved ones that never came back, there is no healing. Only horror and pains.