Saturday , June 23, 2018

Editorial: The Marcos centennial

IT’S hard to say when efforts to rehabilitate the Marcos name began, but these gained ground in 1992 when the dictator’s son, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., won a seat in the Lower House, merely six years after the family went into exile.

True, they continue to face several cases, most of which center on their ill-gotten wealth. Yet the Marcoses have kept their bailiwick firmly in their grip, and Bongbong Marcos’s second-place finish in the May 2016 vice presidential election showed that the family’s return to Malacañang was no longer farfetched.

Last Monday, this political rehabilitation effort struck again. Guarded by 300 police officers and 100 soldiers, the Marcos family and their political allies and supporters gathered in the Libingan ng mga Bayani and celebrated Ferdinand Edralin Marcos’s 100th birth anniversary. His son, according to the Inquirer, said that Marcos’s place in history was “still being written.”

That is right, but the Marcoses and their lackeys and hacks need not be the only ones writing it.

The late dictator’s most avid supporters like to say that present-day Filipinos who have used or still use the Marcos regime’s infrastructure projects—say, those who ride Metro Manila’s Light Rail Transit—have no right to criticize him. They fail to mention how much of taxpayers’ funds actually went to the projects these were intended for. They also fail to mention several court rulings, both here and abroad, that pointed to how the Marcoses stashed away billions of dollars that amounted to wealth far beyond Ferdinand and Imelda’s salaries from 1966 to 1985.

In July 2003, for example, the Supreme Court forfeited in government’s favor some US$658 million from the late dictator’s frozen Swiss bank deposits. How did he amass such a princely sum? The SC traced how the Marcos couple “clandestinely stashed away the country’s wealth to Switzerland and hid the same under layers upon layers of foundations and other corporate entities to prevent detection.” In some instances, the Marcoses were directly named as these foundation’s beneficiaries. In others, they used the aliases William Saunders and Jane Ryan, which they had used in opening bank accounts in March 1968.

And that’s just the least of it.

Did Marcos accomplish anything in the nearly 21 years he was in power? Of course. But to claim that he was our best president and that he neither enabled nor committed massive corruption is willful blindness, if not aggressive ignorance.