Filipinos give Philippine history’s ‘bad’ guy a second look due to lack of progress

Former Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos passed away in 1989 but seeing the way people are talking about him lately, it’s as if he is still alive today. This is evident in the way some members of mainstream media keep reliving the “horrors” of the Marcos years. There are quite a number of articles highlighting the same things with one so-called “investigative” journalist admitting it was easy for the Marcoses to slip right back into politics like they never left. Never mind that it was the voters who put them back in power anyway.

It’s a real mystery why so-called “experts” who claim to know a lot about the alleged crimes during the Martial Law years can’t or didn’t even file a case against the perpetrators so the issues could finally be resolved. Had the cases against them been tried in court, the parties involved could have found justice and the Filipino people could have had peace and moved on. Instead, the issues continue to be ‘highlighted’ even after they had dragged on for decades.

Even after two Aquino presidencies, Marcos's alleged 'crimes' remain unresolved.
Even after two Aquino presidencies, Marcos’s alleged ‘crimes’ remain unresolved.
One can be forgiven for thinking that the accusers do not really want closure so they can continue pointing the finger at someone to blame for the lack of progress in the country. Perhaps the late former President Cory Aquino herself wanted it this way because she did not really want to know and pursue the people responsible for her husband’s death.

A “Never Again” movement on social media is even actively advocating taking a stand against Marcos and his heirs. The movement aims to remind Filipinos about the atrocities during the Martial Law years in an effort to prevent a repeat of the same experience. Although for a group standing against tyranny and dictatorship, their discussion on the social networking site Facebook is not open to public scrutiny. Likewise, people with opposing views are not welcome. So much for the freedom of expression they supposedly hold so dear.

Despite the efforts of the “Never Again” advocates at reminding Filipinos how ‘horrible’ it was during the Marcos regime, there are still people who become nostalgic for what they say was the “good ol’ years” – back when they still felt genuinely proud to be called a “Filipino”. Their numbers seems to be growing and it is enough to “alarm” a group of artists to wage a campaign to counter what they think is “historical revisionism” in social media. The artists reportedly came up with posters containing critical views of the Marcos regime.

A spokesman for the group was quoted as saying “it’s alarming when people say that they would rather have martial law than the democracy we have today”. The artists seem to think pro-Marcos propagandists are making it out to appear like “the iron rule of Ferdinand Marcos look admirable—and even worth repeating—to the younger generation.”

It is an interesting phenomenon indeed, the way some people are romanticizing the Martial Law years. It is one thing for the older generation – those who actually lived through it to be nostalgic but it’s quite another for the younger generation of today – those who didn’t live through it to also wish they could experience the perceived “order” and “prosperity” in the country back in the 60s and 70s, which some old folks quite often talk about. Young Filipinos also get excited when they see old photos of a cleaner Philippines.

Some Filipinos are of the opinion that Martial Law can bring order and instill discipline again in Philippine society. They believe that Filipinos just need to be ruled with an iron fist to be better citizens. Their eagerness to try this style is evident in the way they desperately clamor for former Davao Mayor and self-proclaimed “strongman” Rodrigo Duterte to run for President in 2016 despite him repeatedly saying he is not interested.

The appeal of dictatorship is quite ironic considering Filipinos got rid of Marcos for his supposed dictatorial tendencies. Some people’s rationale in justifying a dictator style of leadership is that, one will only get in trouble when one violates the law. Of course this is assuming that the laws benefit the majority and not just a few. Considering that the current Philippine lawmakers come up with the most idiotic and self-serving laws, it is doubtful a dictatorship will work in the Philippines.

For some people, Pinoy Pride used to be more genuine back then.
For some people, Pinoy Pride used to be more genuine back then.
Going back to former President Marcos, the guy has been dead for three decades but a lot of people still think he is a threat to Philippine society. Granted, his remains are not buried yet, but he is unlikely to rise up and reclaim his post. Those who still talk about his supposed crimes are starting to come across as insecure. They always get nervous when election is near. They think that Senator Bongbong Marcos will commit his father’s “sins”. It’s the same thinking that led to some believing that the son of Ninoy and Cory Aquino will continue his parents’ “legacy”.

If people actually think about it, part of the reason why Filipinos cannot move on from the Marcos years is because of President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino himself. First of all, his speeches quite often include mentioning his family’s suffering during the Marcos years. This comes before or right after he mentions the “dark decade” of his predecessor. Second, by reminding people of the “terrible” past, Filipinos expect something better from his administration.

The good ol' days when Manila wasn't likened to 'the gates of hell'.
The good ol’ days when Manila wasn’t likened to ‘the gates of hell’.
Unfortunately, because not much has changed in Philippine society even after so-called “democracy” was restored in the Philippines, Filipinos get increasingly disappointed at President BS Aquino’s leadership skills. The lack of progress gets highlighted even more when he blames past administrators. In fact, in some people’s opinion, the situation now is even worse than before. They cite the instance that nowadays, most public servants blatantly pocket public funds as compared to the way things were in the past. In other words, the systematic stealing by public servants has become institutionalized thanks to mechanisms such as the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and various Presidential slush funds.

Aside from the mismanagement of public funds, some people say that the current crop of public servants is mostly incompetent and not as intelligent as before. Filipinos are also increasingly getting frustrated at the way President BS Aquino quickly absolves cabinet members who get embroiled in corruption scandals.

The latest staff President BS Aquino cleared and defended is Philippine National Police Chief Director Alan Purisima even before he was investigated on allegations of accepting bribes. Filipinos can see he applies a double standard in dealing with his allies. Further proof of this is the fact that his allies who are embroiled in the pork barrel scam scandal have not been investigated.

Only impunity progressed under President BS Aquino's rule.
Only impunity progressed under President BS Aquino’s rule.
Frankly, the way President BS Aquino is behaving in office – disregarding the rule of law, bribing lawmakers and threatening to clip the powers of the Supreme Court — is already tantamount to being a dictator. But he is not the benevolent dictator Filipinos need because he is only looking after the welfare of his allies. The Filipino people can see through his self-righteousness. Despite already having all the resources available to release non-stop negative propaganda against his enemies, the reality still works against him. And the reality is, the country is still mired in poverty and public servants are still corrupt.

There is only one thing that can prove to Filipinos that life was worse during the Marcos years. And that is, real progress.

When the living conditions of the majority have improved, people young and old will realize that life is better even without Martial Law. And those who are working hard to remind us to say “never again” to a dictator do not have to bother with their advocacies. Until then, some people will continue to question which situation they would have been better off living in — the past or the present.

[Aerial photo of Ayala Avenue courtesy LPL Suites Greenbelt.]


Post Author: Ilda

In life, things are not always what they seem.

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117 Comments on "Filipinos give Philippine history’s ‘bad’ guy a second look due to lack of progress"

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triple r
I think the nostalgia for the Marcos years should not be confused with a nostalgia for the return of Marcos-type authoritarian rule (trust me you don’t want curfews, state-sanctioned torture and summary executions). The nostalgia for Marcos is a cry for better governance and vision from our leaders. It is also a realization that after 30 years the EDSA revolution has been for the most part a colossal failure. I hate how leaders who benefitted from EDSA hold it up as some type of accomplishment when those leaders have shit all over the meaning of EDSA. EDSA was a cry… Read more »
if the people would just look at the good side of Marcos, he was a dictator indeed but also he was a strong and wise leader, it was him that gave the country a sense of direction toward progress no other president could have done, in fact he was so good at his job that Philippines still remember what he did for 30 years, that when somebody mentions martial law, they’ll automatically think of Marcos, he may be bad as the media says but as a leader i think he was the best. And also the real problem lies on… Read more »

VINDICATION, noting more, nothing less….


who benefited from marcos’ mistakes.. no other than aquinos. they can keep using that past to continue their political ambitions. i really wanna say shut the fuck up to all those sitting in government. all fucking hypocrites! all about money. philippines should be sold to other countries. filipinos dont know what they are doing to their country anyway. philippines for sale.

You remember this opinion piece by Oscar Tan for inquirer, “Alienating the youth from EDSA” (link: He says: “[S]uch emotional responses, often from those old enough to remember Edsa and directed at those too young, sometimes contain vitriol and not much else. This characterizes many responses to persistent Facebook posts about how the Marcos years were allegedly the Philippines’ best in terms of economic growth, peace and order and literacy, to news articles floating Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as a presidential candidate, …” That’s how it is really. Vitriol. They don’t care to tell us just how bad it… Read more »
Evelyn Del Pilar Agujar
Evelyn Del Pilar Agujar

Right it is questionable why the case of his traitor father ’till now is unresolve? Huh two Aquinos became a leader and noone of them can take charge to open the case. Will it’s because they know the answer. Isn’t it? This two family C. And A. can answer this question.

Another intersting piece, Ilda. The romanticism of the Marcos rule is not really a phenomenon but rather the logical outcome of two rivals. When two opposing super powers/rivals are pitted against each other, each side would struggle to distinguish how different they are from each other. Thus resulting in a stronger sense of identity. Case in point, ADMU and DLSU. Every so often you can hear a Lasallian boast of their accomplishments and characteristics in contrast to an Atenean. The duality is rather natural. And to paraphrase what triple r said, the Philippines can’t be just this dystopian society we… Read more »
There are always point missers in any GRP piece whether you see it on the comments or not. Allow me to give an analogy to this from my own life that has a similar theme. My dad remarried in his 60s. My mom was not perfect his choice of a second wife was not a big hit with his adult children. The newly married couple hired a maid for their apartment who also had experience with my mother. One of the few times she got to talk to me she starts bringing up my mother in an extremely complimentary and… Read more »

Another problem is people believe everything they read. Snowball effect follows.

Beawolf Agatte

It should be Never Again for these Fake Heroes who are the real Plunderers. These Kultong Dilaw and their followers should be in the Gas Chambers for bankrupting not only the National Treasury but the minds of the unsuspecting Masa as well through their Dirty Politics and Propaganda using the People’s money. Ginisa nila ang mga Filipinos sa sariling mantika.

rey m. juico

Hi Ilda
How about making a blog on the many achievements that FM accomplished during the martial law years and how they impacted the life of the people, economically, culturally, and as a nation.

victor m. hernandez
“Real progress” even without martial law. Sweet words, and good to hear. I wish that we will have the patience and perseverance to endure many more miseries until ‘real progress’ come about. As it is, we are in a rut. Mismanagemnt after mismanagement; one cohorts of oligarchs and cronies, after another set of cronies,while the poor multiplies in hordes, and the rich gets most of the goodies aided by mercenary politicians who sell their to souls to evil rulers for 30 pieces of silver. We do not have a respectabl democracy, in fact it is an oligarchy, and plutocracy who… Read more »
Sea Bee

Life under Marcos was better for one main reason. There were fewer people. The other South East Asian countries have controlled their populations more successfully. That is why they continue to improve and the Philippines continues to decline. The infrastructure and resources cannot keep up with the mushrooming population. No father figure is going to fly down like superman and rescue the Philippines. As long as the culture ignores the problem of lazy irresponsible parenting; no progress is possible.

Hyden Toro455
Marcos who is dead for more than 30 years is used by the Aquinos , Cojuangcos, the Feudalist Oligarchs, the YellowTards…as a “Bogeyman” to frighten people of Martial Law. I have two good friends here in California, who were in the NPA, during the Martial Law Years. They are Diplomate Cardiologists. They graduated from the School of Medicine at University of the Philippines; joined the NPA. However, they abandoned the movement , when they realize the Aquinos and the Cojuangscos, were using the movement. They came to U.S.; further their studies, until they became Diplomates in Cardiology. They told me:… Read more »
Sea Bee

Filipinos are so brainwashed, all they can do is think of one oligarchic family or another. Don’t you have any intelligence or imagination? DO NOT VOTE FOR ANOTHER RICH PERSON!!!! Better to vote communist; than to continue to vote for the same families that have been exploiting this country for the last 75 years. Nothing changes because you continue to vote for the same type of political dynasty again and again and again.

Sea Bee

Vote for academics or scholars, medical doctors, engineers, community activists…DO NOT vote for lawyers, media stars, athletes, soldiers, or anyone related to a politician. Experience has showed that these type of people are egocentric. They are more concerned with personal power than they are with serving the people.

Have you all gone insane? The Marcos Administration destroyed the very democratic checks and balances that would have saved us, ensuring that crooks and scumbags would take over after Marcos is gone. Anyone looks good spending all that money being an autocrat and dictator who is unopposed by its own government in fear of being prosecuted. Then you realize that it’s coming out of your wallet and future generation’s wallets. And of course nobody was going to go against Marcos legally (and live to tell about it). Try suing a top politician for anything today (preferably if they did actual… Read more »

they should forget about the names
aquino, marcos, et al..
we need to learn from what happened in the past and not repeat the mistakes and improve on those things that are done right
to truly progress we need a visionary
someone with a good plan for our country
and not a dictator
but a good leader is nothing if he/she doesn’t have good followers
a sad realty here in the philippines is that almost all people here are corrupted
can’t even follow simple rules.

Hyden Toro989

Aquino and the rest of the Political Leaders, are at the helm of the government. They could have right the wrongs that Marcos had done…instead they use him as a “Bogeyman” to frighten people ; and as a good target to Blame for their incompetence…and their corruption and greed…


I am enlightened about Marcos… I ithink we need to give chance to Bong MArcos to do what his father’s legacy.. together with R.Duterte of Davao.. We need them not for a change but for a new constitution with KAMAY NA BAKAL…