Early this month, vice-presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos once again downplayed the dark years endured by Filipinos under the rule of his father, the late strongman, President Ferdinand Marcos. He insisted that we Pinoys "are not concerned about that" anymore.
We almost gagged on our own spit when we heard that. Surely, he must be kidding (or high on something), we thought.
He wasn't, though.
Senator Bongbong even went on to brush off the peaceful revolution that kicked their asses all the way to sunny Hawaii in 1986.
"What happened in 1986 happened already. These things have already been decided," he scoffed. "To analyze it belongs to those historical scholars...I am not a historical analyst, I am a public servant."
His statements may have stemmed from the fact that their family have since ensconced themselves back to power with former First Lady Imelda Marcos now a representative of Ilocos Norte while big sister Imee is Governor of the same province.
Add to that the seeming ignorance of the youth today. (Sorry, #KOTDS, you lost our respect with that "Bakit ba laging naka-upo si Mabini?" bit. )
An episode of "Word Of The Lourd" that aired last year showed several students apparently unaware how it was to have lived under Martial Law.
One said that it was a good thing, considering how it taught many "discipline."
What kind of discipline she was talking about we didn't totally comprehend.
According to the Akbayan Party List group, the Marcos administration was responsible for 35,000 torture cases, 70,000 incarcerations, and 3,257 murders. The government was also blamed for the arrest of more than 50,000 people, including the desaparecidos or those who simply disappeared from the face of the earth.
Well, we guess having the likes of Ninoy Aquino, Lorenzo Tañada, and Jose Diokno detained for simply speaking their minds is part of that discipline.
The kid also alleged that there were no criminals during Martial Law.
Here's what one of FHM's titos had to say about that:
"I was quite young then and was not subjected to shenanigans, but my older cousins were far from disciplined.
They were buying and selling marijuana sourced directly from the Cordilleras.
Meanwhile, an aunt and her Japanese boyfriend were caught in a sham bust while enjoying the sights at Luneta.
Apparently, the cops wanted to extort money from them.
They were accused of supposedly violating the curfew. In exchange for their freedom, they had to pay the hooligans P300."
Here's another student, who shares how "peaceful" it was during Martial Law:
Well, yeah, peaceful because everyone was dying—if not, dead already.
Actually, many of those who opposed the Marcos regime decided to retreat to the mountains to join communist rebels. From the 1,028 armed regulars in 1972, members of the New People’s Army ballooned to 22,500 by 1986.
And it's not like these people just played Tarzan up there.
Another FHM tito shared that his neighbor's son fought the rebels in the Visayas. He was a young military man, an ideologist who simply wanted a peaceful life for his countrymen. He was told that going there and killing his fellow Filipinos was the only way to achieve that.
The son was killed in battle.
He was only 24.
Another FHM tito shared that his uncle was a mayor of a town in Bicol. His uncle often told stories of residents complaining about their children being picked up by the military under the "suspicion" of being part of the rebellion.
A gay family friend of an FHM staffer was arrested in Malate just because of his sexual preference. He was made to dance for policemen at their headquarters in UN Avenue.
Meanwhile, some old timers wistfully look back at the era, noting how the value of the peso was supposedly equal to the US dollar at the time.
It should be noted that the value of the peso actually dropped from P1 = US $1 to P25 = US $1 during Marcos' term.
We've all heard our parents argue about money—how your father's salary isn't enough to feed all of you; how your mother has to find a way to pay all the bills with the cash she has; how you had to submit another promisory note to your school so you can take an exam. It happened then, and it still happens now.
And note that from just $360 million in 1962, our country’s foreign debt reached a staggering $28.3 billion by the time Marcos left in 1986, according to James K. Boyce's The Political Economy of Growth and Impoverishment in the Marcos Era.
Good times? For whom?
We are actually going to pay for those debts until 2025.
All along, Marcos and co. were buying properties left and right abroad, which according to the Philippine Commission for Good Government, include an 8.2-acre waterfront complex in Long Island, New York; a unit at the Herald Center shopping mall; a unit at the Crown Building on Fifth Avenue; and office buildings at 40 Wall Street and 200 Madison Avenue.
We don't care if old man Marcos actually made himself look like a hero by claiming to have earned a total of 33 medals and awards following World War II.
We don't care if he actually topped the Bar Exams when he took it in 1939.
We don't care about his supposed photographic memory that allows him to recite long speeches without notes.
We don't care if Imelda was hot back then. We don't care if Marcos's alleged mistress, Dovie Beams, was even hotter.
We don't care if Imee allowed for the Experimental Cinema of the Philippines, which led to us seeing Maria Isabel Lopez stark naked in Isla.
We don't care if Bongbong's Oxford credentials are true and correct as well.
We don't care if he is actually an impostor, and the real one had died a long time ago.
We don't care if the bills he filed all look damn impressive on paper.
We want the whole family to correct the erroneous belief about their time as overlords being bountiful and happy and peaceful.
We want them to return what they stole from us, which, according to reports, out of about $10 billion, we were only able to get back a mere $700 million.
We want them to actually acknowledge all their wrongdoings, and say sorry.
Election is right around the corner and if Sen. Bongbong really wants to earn at least our consideration, well, he has to man up—simple really.
We ask you this: If someone stole from you, or killed one of your family members, but eventually got away with it, would you actually let them enter your house again—even if they're asking politely?
As Roger Daltrey of The Who once sang, we "won't get fooled again."