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University of the Philippines unveils new subject on the Marcos dictatorship to counter historical revisionism

The subject was offered 33 years after the downfall of Marcos

By Karlo Mongaya

A new General Education (GE) subject that will tackle the dark years of military rule in the Philippines during the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship will be taught at the Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines (UP), the country’s premier state university.

Philippines Studies 21 (PS 21) tackles the historical experience of repression and resistance under Martial Law as a way of countering attempts by political allies of the late dictator Marcos, including the incumbent Rodrigo Duterte government, to whitewash the crimes, corruption, and rights abuses under the martial law regime.

The new subject will focus on the language, culture, and literature from the Martial Law era. The course title PS 21 was taken from the date of the declaration of Martial Law on September 21, 1972. Then President Ferdinand Marcos imposed dictatorial rule for 14 years until his overthrow by a popular uprising at EDSA in 1986.

The new subject has stirred controversy as the Marcoses complained that it may be “one-sided” against their family while the armed forces raised the alarm that it would be used as a recruitment tool for “communist rebels”.

Instituting PS 21

PS 21 has been in the works since 2014 when it was first proposed by Philippine Studies professors at the UP Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature (DFPP).

But efforts to institutionalize the subject gained renewed impetus late in 2018 when the issue of UP President Danilo Concepcion dancing with Senator Imee Marcos, the eldest daughter of the dead dictator, at a function in the university was reported by the media.

The UP Diliman University Council issued a statement calling for stronger efforts to educate the public on the horrors brought about by the Marcos dictatorship, including the creation of additional subjects in the university.

After passing several steps in the rigorous academic process for approving subjects, PS 21 finally made it through the UP Diliman University Council last September 2019. The proposed syllabus of PS 21 has been uploaded online.

Asked by media about the subject, Senator Imee Marcos appealed that her family’s side of the story be included in the course. The PS 21 proponents assured her that the late dictator’s speeches and writings legitimizing military rule are indeed part of the subject.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, who served as counsel for the Marcoses in their cases on their ill-gotten wealth, said the subject is a good idea: “Every student should know and learn any subject that concerns governance.”

Contentious history

The Martial Law era remains a contentious topic in the Philippines today. On the one hand, many Filipinos continue to seek justice for those whose rights were violated — the tens of thousands who were imprisoned, tortured, killed, disappeared — by the Marcos regime.

Marcos’ debt-driven development programs and massive corruption favoring his family and cronies have been cited even by mainstream economists for the many ills facing Philippine society today.

On the other hand, human rights activists said that the failure of post-Marcos administrations to convict the dictator’s family and his cronies has allowed the Marcoses to return to power. The dictator’s son and namesake Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. almost won the vice-presidency in the 2016 elections. His sister Imee Marcos currently occupies a seat in the senate.

President Duterte, who has openly expressed admiration for Marcos, and his officials have been blunt in calling on the public to “move on” from the horrors of dictatorial rule while his officials tout those years as the “Golden Age” of Philippine history.

A propaganda video released by the state-managed Philippine News Agency (PNA) against activist organizations as part of the government’s counter-insurgency campaign, for example, praises the Marcos era as the highest point of the country’s economy.

Duterte moreover allowed the burial of the body of the dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) on November 18, 2016 sparking indignation and nationwide protests.

Students listen as proponents explain the rationale and contents of the PS 21 subject during its launching held in UP last September 18, 2019. Photo by author

Target of red-tagging

Ironically, the subject that tackles abuses of the dictatorship is itself now subjected to Marcos era-style repression. PS 21 is yet to be taught but the new subject is already in the cross-hairs of the Duterte government and its armed forces.

The UP Rises Against Tyranny and Dictatorship (UPRISE) network recently condemned the Philippine military for falsely red-tagging the new subject as a recruitment tool for “communist rebels” in a lecture at the Isabela State University Cauayan campus.

Target of red-tagging

Ironically, the subject that tackles abuses of the dictatorship is itself now subjected to Marcos era-style repression. PS 21 is yet to be taught but the new subject is already in the cross-hairs of the Duterte government and its armed forces.

The UP Rises Against Tyranny and Dictatorship (UPRISE) network recently condemned the Philippine military for falsely red-tagging the new subject as a recruitment tool for “communist rebels” in a lecture at the Isabela State University Cauayan campus.

UPRISE said that red-tagging is in line with President Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70 mandating a “whole-of-nation” approach that synchronizes the activities of all civilian agencies as part of the military’s counter-insurgency efforts:

This presentation was made in line with Executive Order no. 70, fronted as a talk on ensuring student safety and security, but is in essence a massive smear campaign against nationalist and critical education espoused by schools and legal organizations.

Senator Bato dela Rosa, who as former police chief was the lead executor of Duterte’s “War on Drugs”, is leading a crusade to “save students” against “communist infiltration” in schools and universities.

His Senate Committee Report no.10 proposes school administrators clampdown on “radicalization” thru increased police and military presence in campuses, regular review of academic programs, monitoring of school events, up to the filing of charges against professors.

Students, faculty, and employees hold protests last August 20, 2019 at the historic Palma Hall of the University of the Philippines Diliman against the threat of military and police intrusions on campus. Photo by author.

Conscientization amidst repression

Last October 31, 56 activists in Bacolod City, Negros and 2 in Manila City were arrested in raids conducted by Duterte’s security forces on the offices of legal people’s organizations and homes of activists in Negros and the national capital.

This was followed by an early morning November 5 raid on the office of activist group Bayan in Tondo, Manila and threats of state reprisals on legal offices of human rights defenders and progressives.

The crackdown on legal activists who have been the most vocal critics of the Duterte administration has not stopped, with various humanitarian and religious groups included in the military’s list of “communist terrorist groups”.

As the current administration intensifies the constriction of democratic spaces in the country, the new PS 21 subject hopes to be a platform for the “conscientization” of a new generation of Filipino youth on the importance of human rights, social justice and the continuing struggle for genuine freedom and democracy.

Concerned faculty in other UP campuses outside Diliman are endeavoring to institute the same subject in their respective regions. The proponents hope that the same efforts will be pushed in other schools and universities in the country. #

Disclosure: The author teaches Philippine Studies at the UP Diliman Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature.

(This article was first published by Global Voices, an international and multilingual community of bloggers, journalists, translators, academics, and human rights activists. It is republished by Kodao as part of a content sharing agreement.)

Malaking protesta sa Setyembre 20, pangungunahan ng kabataan

Nagsagawa ng press conference ang alyansang United People’s Action sa gusali ng Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas ngayong araw ng Lunes, Setyembre 16, para sa itinakda nilang kilos-protesta sa Setyembre 20 bilang paggunita sa ika-47 anibersaryo ng deklarasyon ng batas militar ng diktador na si Ferdinand Marcos.

Pangungunahan ng mga kabataan ang pagkilos na may temang ” Laban Kabataan, Laban Bayan! Inhustisya at Diktadurya Wakasan!” Nagpahayag ng suporta at pagsama sa pagkilos ang iba’t-ibang grupo.

Binasa din ni dating Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno “Unity Statement” ng United People’s Action. (Music: News Background. Bidyo ni: Joseph Cuevas/Kodao)

Activists commemorate 33rd EDSA anniversary ‘amid new tyranny’

Various groups commemorated the 33rd anniversary of EDSA People Power 1 in a protest action last February 23.

The “Tayo ang EDSA, Tayo ang Pag-asa” rally was attended by progressive groups, opposition leaders and religious sectors who unanimously remarked that a new tyranny has descended on the Filipino people once more.

BAYAN said that the rotten social system remained 33 years after EDSA that the country is still confronted with gross human rights violations.

BAYAN warned that the people will not allow and will resist a repeat of the Marcos dictatorship under the signboard of “Duterte”. (Video by: Maricon Montajes and Carlo Francisco)

EDSA at diktadurya

“Tayo ang EDSA! Tayo ang pag-asa, ang totoo at ang pinakamakapangyarihang pwersa laban sa diktatura!“–Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. during a commemoration of the first People Power Uprising at EDSA last Saturday, 23 January.

PNP profiling of ACT members part of Duterte’s fascism, teachers group says

Efforts by the Philippine National Police (PNP) to extract a list Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) members are part of the Rodrigo Duterte government’s fascist schemes, the teachers’ group said.

Reacting to visits by police operatives in schools and Department of Education (DepEd) offices last week to ask for a list of ACT members, the group accused both the PNP and the President of creating another “tokhang” list.

“This is part and parcel of the Duterte regime’s grand fascist scheme to suppress all forms of opposition to its tyrannical rule, further legitimized and strengthened by Duterte’s Executive Order 70 which converted the civilian bureaucracy into a fascist machinery,” ACT said in a strongly worded statement.

“This involves profiling, surveillance, identification, and neutralization of organizations critical to the current regime’s anti-people acts and policies,” one of the largest teachers’ organization in the country added.

A copy of a PNP-Zambales memorandum ordering the profiling of ACT members in the province. (ACT photo)

ACT Teachers Party Representative France Castro revealed through a series of social media posts over the weekend that police operatives went around schools and DepEd offices to demand lists of ACT members citing a PNP memorandum as basis.

The operations appear to be nationwide in scale and points to the top PNP leadership as the main source of the order, the group alleged.

ACT said the PNP memorandum on the inventory and profiling of ACT members is very similar to the police’s list of drug users and peddlers, tens of thousands of whom ended up dead in nightly police raids all over the country.

“The PNP will have blood on their hands, and the fascist State shall be held responsible if anything untoward happens to any ACT member. We are not afraid. We have been through this time and again,” ACT national president Joselyn Martinez said.

Militant mentors

Founded in 1982, ACT is a nationalist and militant alliance of teachers and education workers that has attracted members due to its consistent struggle for higher salaries and benefits.

Its successes in the last decades enabled the group to create an allied political organization. ACT Teachers’ Party has two sitting legislators at the House of Representatives.

Its teachers’ union, the ACT Union has chapters nationwide and is recognized as a sole bargaining unit of teachers and education workers in several regions, including the National Capital Region.

“ACT is a legitimate teachers’ organization with a long history of service to professional teachers, education support personnel, and the Filipino people in general,” Martinez said.

ACT is known for fighting for higher teachers salaries and benefits. (ACT photo)

As a militant organization, ACT, however, has been the subject of attacks by police and military agents for being a “communist front.” Several of its members and organizers have been killed and jailed throughout the years.

‘Dastardly, illegal’

Profiling operations against ACT members is a Gestapo-style operation, ACT said of the latest PNP scheme against the group.

“The PNP has no business meddling in the affairs of teachers’ organization…Their dastardly act of profiling ACT members is maliciously casting unnecessary doubt on the legitimacy of ACT as an organization,” the group said.

The group also denounced DepEd officials who acceded to the PNP memorandum, “thereby inviting harm to their own employees and even their students.”

It urged DepEd officials to oppose the “unconstitutional” police operations that may violate teachers’ rights.

“DepEd must order the withholding of any information about ACT members which may be used by the PNP to intimidate and harass teacher-unionists who fight for decent salaries and benefits, for the people’s right to education and other basic services, and for the rights and well-being of the people,” it said.

As of this writing, the DepEd has reportedly ordered its officer in charge in the Manila Division of City Schools to rescind her order supporting the PNP memorandum.

CNN Philippines also reported Monday that PNP chief Oscar Albayalde has ordered the relief of intelligence officers over the “leak” on the profiling of ACT members in Manila, Quezon City and Zambales Province.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) expressed alarm over the PNP’s operations against ACT and called on the police to adhere to the rule of law.

“Reports of alleged profiling of members of ACT are alarming as it violates rights to privacy and association, which are guaranteed freedoms in the Constitution among others,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia in a statement said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

HR defenders denounce police crackdown in Negros Oriental

As a fact-finding mission on the killings in Negros Occidental was being restricted in Guihulngan City, human rights defenders in the National Capital Region held a protest activity in front of Camp Crame to denounce the police crackdown.

Six civilians were killed in quick succession in the said province in recent days.

The Philippine National Police said the victims were drug users and peddlers but the activists said they were land reform advocates who were summarily executed by state forces.

Last month, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered intensified military and police operations in the province through Executive Order 32. (Video by Joseph Cuevas)

Martial law victims want Imelda behind bars

Martial law victims and activists held a picket protest outside Sandiganbayan office in Quezon City to demand for the arrest warrant for Imelda Marcos following its guilty verdict against the former First Lady.

Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) welcomed the conviction and asked the court to immediately put Marcos behind bars.

The group also reacted to the statement of PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde that Imelda might not be arrested because of her age and health conditions.

Albayalde’s statement did not surprise the martial law human rights victims since the Rodrigo Duterte government has been giving the Marcos family special treatment, SELDA said.

SELDA added that Sandiganbayan’s guilty verdict is a landmark decision that should be upheld.

SELDA called on the Sandiganbayan to stand by tits decision and not be cowed by the Marcoses’ alliance with Duterte. # (Report by Joseph Cuevas / Video by Carlo Francisco / Featured Image by Jinky Mendoza-Aguilar)

Panayam kay Dan Balusio ng BAYAN Bikol sa ika 46th na Komemorasyon ng Martial Law

Setyembre 21, 2018 – Panoorin ang panayam kay Dan Balusio, Secretary-General ng BAYAN Bikol hinggil sa kalagayan at panawagan ng mamamayan ng rehiyong Bikol tungkol sa Martial Law mula noon hanggang ngayon.

Para sa kabataan, ang pumikit ay kasalanan

Sanaysay at mga larawan ni Denver del Rosario

Umulan ma’y hindi nagpatinag ang sambayanan, at kanilang isinigaw ang patuloy na panawagan, “Never again!”

Sa hiyaw ng madla’y nangibabaw ang isang sektor ng lipunan na walang-sawang kumikilos at nagmumulat para sa kalayaan ng bansa. Halos limang dekada na ang nakalipas mula sa pinakamadilim na bahagi ng ating kasaysayan, ngunit hanggang ngayo’y kasama pa rin ito sa laban. Patuloy sitong nagpapaalala sa mga kasalanan ng lipunan at kumukontra sa pagbubulag-bulagan sa panahong inaapakan ang mga karapatan ng mamamayan.

Ika nga ni Lean Alejandro, patuloy na babalik ang kabataan.

Muling gumawa ng kasaysayan ang sambayanang Pilipino noong nakaraang Biyernes, kung saan kasama ng kabataan ang iba’t ibang sektor ng lipunan upang gunitain ang ika-46 anibersaryo ng batas militar sa Pilipinas sa ilalim ng diktador na si Ferdinand E. Marcos. Taas-kamaong pinagpugayan ng sambayanan ang mga taong naglaan ng kanilang mga buhay upang labanan ang diktadurya at tiraniya noong panahong iyon.

Isa si Andrew Mencias, 20, sa naitalang labinlimang-libong nagprotesta sa Luneta. Kasama ang kanyang mga kaibigan mula UP Diliman ay tumungo siya sa Luneta upang sumama sa mas malawak na hanay ng mamamayan. Kasabay ng pag-alala sa kamatayan ng demokrasya ay ang pagkundena sa nagbabadyang pagbabalik ng pamilyang Marcos sa mas mataas na kapangyarihang politikal at ang patuloy na pagtapak sa karapatang pantao ng kasalukuyang administrasyongRodrigo Duterte.

“Pumunta ako ng Luneta dahil naniniwala ako sa kahalagahan ng sama-samang pagkilos,” ani Mencias. “Para sa akin, maraming bagay tayong dapat nating natatamasa pero hindi natin nakukuha.”

Nagkataong itinakda din noong nakaraang Biyernes ang Pandaigdigang Araw ng Kapayapaan, ngunit isa itong malaking kabalintunaan sa ating bansa. Sa araw na ito’y binabalikan ng sambayanan ang taong 1972, kung kailan tinanggal ang kalayaan ng mamamayan. Kung iisipi’y ilang dekada nang lumipas, subalit muli itong nagiging tampok ngayon kaugnay ng pamamalakad ng administrasyong Duterte, na inihahalintulad ng mga grupong sektoral kay Marcos.

Patuloy ang pagnupuna at pagkukundena ng iba’t ibang mga grupo sa kasalukuyang administrasyon dahil sa kawalang-respeto nito sa karapatang pantao at ang patuloy na pagsasabatas ng mga anti-mamamayang polisiya. Aktibong lumalahok sa mga pagkilos ang kabataan—kasabay ng pagsama sa iba’t ibang mobilisasyon ay ang pagsulong ng kanilang mga adbokasiya bilang tugon sa iba’t ibang isyung panlipunan.

Katulad na lamang ni Mencias na nakikiisa sa laban ng kabataan para sa libreng edukasyon, na itinuturing niyang pundasyon ng isang progresibong lipunan. Habang malayo na ang narating ng kampanya, patuloy pa rin ang mga dagok na humahadlang upang makamit ang edukasyon para sa lahat.

“Nakakalungkot na pangit yung quality ng maraming public schools dito sa atin,” ani Mencias. “Nakakulong pa rin tayo sa isang sistemang wala tayong napapala.”

Kamakailan lamang ay napagtagumpayan ng kabataan na tanggalin ang Return Service Agreement mula sa Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) ng RA 10931 o ang Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017. Matagal nang pinupuna ng mga estudyante ang probisyong ito—ayon sa National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), ang edukasyon ay karapatan at dapat walang kapalit.

Gayunpaman, sa maliliit na hakbang ay patuloy pa rin ang mga banta sa karapatang ito, katulad ng nagbabadyang budget cut sa edukasyon at ang pasuweldo sa mga guro na hindi pa rin sapat.

Isa pa sa isinusulong ni Mencias ay ang karapatan ng pambansang minorya, na patuloy na binubusabos ng kasalukuyang rehimen. “Higit sa lahat, sila yung pinaka-apektado ng mga batas, at hindi rin naman sila pinoprotektahan ng military,” ani Mencias.

Ayon sa Save our Schools (SOS) Network, kamakailan lamang ay pitong kabataang Moro ang pinatay ng mga militar sa Patikul, Sulu sa ilalim ng batas militar sa Mindanao—bukod pa dito ay ang serye ng mga pagbomba sa mga katutubong komunidad at mga kaso ng puwersahang pagsuko sa kamay ng mga puwersang gobyerno, isang manipestasyon na patuloy pa rin ang paglabag ng estado sa karapatang pantao.

Isang patunay si Mencias sa libo-libong kabataang patuloy na nakikibaka para sa tunay na pagbabagong panlipunan at tumatangging kalimutan ang ating masalimuot na nakaraan. Patuloy nilang ginagampanan ang kanilang papel bilang mga pag-asa ng bayan. Ang sabi ng iilan, huwag nang mangialam ang kabataan, hindi naman kayo buhay noong mga panahong iyon.

Ngunit sila’y hindi magpapatinag.

“Hanggang ngayon naman, nararamdaman pa rin natin ang mga ginawa ni Marcos, ngayon pang gusto nilang bumalik sa mataas na kapangyarihan,” ani Mencias. “Dapat naman talaga nating binabalikan at pinag-uusapan ang kasaysayan, para maisakonteksto natin yung sitwasyon na meron tayo ngayon.”

Kung babalikan ang 1970, ang kabataan ang nanguna sa panawagang baguhin ang sistemang pulitikal at pang-ekonomiko ng bansa. Sa Sigwa ng Unang Kwarto, kabataan ang nanguna sa paghingi ng pagbabagong panlipunan sa ilalim ng administrasyong Marcos, na nagpapakita na ng mga tendensiyang diktaduriyal. Maraming kabataan ang nagbuwis ng buhay upang ipaglaban ang kinabukasan ng inang bayan.

Halos limang dekada na ang lumipas, ngunit muli nilang pinatunayang patuloy silang lumalaban kasama ang sambayanan.

Hindi pa rin nagbabago ang lipunang ginagalawan—sa ilalim ng administrasyong Duterte, kinikitil ang mga pag-asa ng bayan at pilit pinipinturahan ito ng estado bilang “collateral damage”. Nariyan si Kian delos Santos, si Carl Arnaiz, at daan-daang kabataang biktima ng pambubusabos at paglabag sa karapatang pantao ng kasalukuyang liderato.

Ganoon pa rin ang sistemang pulitikal at pang-ekonomiko na patuloy na pinoprotektahan lamang ang interes ng makapangyarihang iilan. Patuloy ang pagtatangkang baguhin ang kasaysayan at ilagay sa pedestal ang diktador na kumitil ng maraming buhay at binaon ang bansa sa utang na hanggang ngayo’y pasanin ng mamamayan.

Patuloy pa rin ang laban.

Madalas na tinuturo sa mga paaralan na nakamtam muli ng sambayanan ang kalayaan matapos nilang pabagsakin ang diktadurya noong 1986. Ngunit alam ng kabataang hindi pa tunay na malaya ang bansa—mahaba lang ang tanikala. Sila ang patunay na hindi maaaring magbulag-bulagan ang mamamayan, lalo’t harap-harapan ang paglabag at ang pagsasawalang-bahala.

Ilang buhay man ang kunin, patuloy silang babalik at lalaban. #

Method in its madness

By Luis V. Teodoro

Despite the bluster of President Rodrigo Duterte and his equally loud lieutenants, yes-men and accomplices in the Cabinet, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Supreme Court, his regime is in reality completely without anything that even approximates a rational and coherent platform of governance. It is making things up as it goes along, and patching together ad hoc attempts to make it seem as if it were addressing the urgent problems that haunt the nation, most of which are of its own making.

But there is some method in this seeming madness. Devising the right solutions to the country’s problems is not only beyond the regime’s capacity; it is also the last of its priorities. What it craves most is absolute power and political dominance, to achieve which it uses the most absurd and politically self-damaging means to silence and suppress its critics as well as anyone else opposed to — among its legions of offenses against this portion of humanity — its lawlessness and contempt for human rights, and the terrible cost in lives of its savage “war” on drugs.

To achieve that dominance it has demonized and threatened the independent press, and elevated as policy the use of coercion against dissenters including the manufacture of various forms of deception to imprison its perceived enemies.

Both are failing, however, and have become counterproductive. The threats on the press are uniting much of the media community behind the imperative of defending its constitutionally-protected freedom as well as free expression. Its latest attempt to jail another political opponent, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, has instead enhanced Trillanes’ status as a leader of the political opposition by keeping him in the media limelight and providing him a forum from which to address the public and condemn the many failings of the regime that’s persecuting him.

In obvious recognition of how much its mindless attack on Trillanes has earned him near-unprecedented media mileage, the regime launched a media campaign that began with that misnamed September 11 “tête-à-tête” between Mr. Duterte and his legal counsel. In the public mind that event seemed so much like a conversation solely between Mr. Duterte and himself that few took seriously even his claim that there was a conspiracy afoot to oust him from power.

Its obvious and desperate attempts to preserve and enhance what it mistakenly believes should be permanent citizen approval of anything and everything it says or does, and its egregious failure to even begin to address the problems its own lack of vision and ineptitude created, have led some observers to conclude that it’s only a matter of time before the regime collapses from the dead-weight of its own blunders and ineptitude.

There is indeed that inviting possibility. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the regime capacity to inflict irreparable harm on this country and its people before it finally goes. For if at all it has any semblance of a plan, it is to transform the Duterte dynasty from a petty rural tyranny to a national dictatorship — a process that thanks to the perverse character of Philippine elections as a media and popularity contest began in 2016, when the electorate catapulted a provincial despot to national office. Only by putting the entire country under authoritarian rule can it protect and preserve the dynasty’s long-term interests.

A third of the Philippines is still under martial law 32 years after the fall of the Marcos terror regime in 1986, and despite the lessons from that dark period that every Filipino should have learned by now.

Because Mindanao is the laboratory in which the regime is testing the feasibility of placing the entire Philippines under one-man rule, martial law has twice been extended by a Congress and Supreme Court dominated by landlords, their hirelings, and by bureaucrats with neither a sense of history nor concern for the rights and liberties of the people. It is likely to be extended for the third time on the argument that it is needed to check the violence it has failed to prevent — and of which its military and police implementors are often the perpetrators.

As distressing as this may be, what is even more abhorrent is the growth of the myth that the Marcos version of martial law ushered in some kind of Golden Age in the troubled history of this Republic. There is also the growing popularity of the dangerous notion that the nationwide imposition of martial rule is a legitimate government option, and its acceptance by regime partisans as a supposed means of ending criminality and the drug problem that Duterte the candidate promised in 2016.

The by now conventional view is that these delusions are among the consequences of the failure of those who lived through the terrors of the Marcos dictatorship to pass on to succeeding generations what authoritarian rule meant to the hundreds of thousands who were its victims as well as its immediate and long-term impact on the present and future of this country and its people.

There is much that is true in that explanation. But those falsehoods are also the results of a campaign in which the Marcos, Arroyo and kindred dynasties are not only willing collaborators but also the driving forces, to prettify fascist rule and pass it off as the only means of bringing about the changes that have eluded the Filipino people for centuries.

This is the context in which the current President of the Philippines has been making his frequent promises to resign. Is the goal — and Mr. Duterte has hardly tried to conceal it — for him to relinquish the Presidency once Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. is declared by the Supreme Court, while sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), Vice President in place of Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo?

If this is indeed the plan, Marcos, Jr. would be interim President until 2022, from the commanding heights of which he could then complete Mr. Duterte’s march to despotism, thus clearing his daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio’s path to the Presidency.

The catch in this seemingly clever scheme is that the Marcoses’ agenda is entirely different from that of the Dutertes. Marcos, Jr. as well as his mother Imelda, his sisters, and the rest of the Romualdez and Marcos clans have made it abundantly clear that they want “Bongbong” to be President to complete their return to the pinnacles of power, from where they can foist upon the people their version of what happened during the 21-year rule of their late patriarch.

Therein lies the fatal flaw in this conspiracy against the country, the Constitution and the Filipino people. There is every likelihood that as in times past, the alliances of convenience forged among the ruling cliques in this vale of uncertainty will come apart under the pressure of their unremitting greed for pelf and power.

Their differences can find expression in the armed confrontations and assassinations that still characterize much of local politics, and which have numerous times spilled into the national arena. The ensuing violence would then be part of the already bloody legacy the Duterte regime will leave behind once it passes into history.

(First published in BusinessWorld. Photo from PCOO)