“Everyone leaves behind a legacy after they die, but only few people leave behind a legacy worth talking about.” Unknown

The move of President Duterte to create a team to construct socio-economic data to document his legacy to the nation, before his passage, is not original. The late dictator, Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, his avowed hero, did just that.

Unknown to many, Marcos commissioned in 1974 a group of noted Filipino scholars, historians in particular, mostly from the country’s premier University of the Philippines, to rewrite Philippine history, with the running theme: The heroic Filipino spirit that rested on our national heroes from pre-Hispanic times through the “Bagong Lipunan”, the Martial Law Era. The well-financed historical research book writing culminated in what was supposed to be book volume series, Tadhana. The first volume of Tadhana did come out, but as far as the academic world was concerned, here and abroad, it was “tainted” and it never received a good review, or actual use.

From 1974 onward to the end of the decade, a season marked by frenzied construction of Imeldific edifices, highways and other costly concrete that saw the nation sink into heavy debt burden, is an era deemed by the Marcoses and their social engineers as, golden state of Philippine civilization. At the time, real efforts were made to package the Marcos couple as the legendary “Malakas at Maganda”—Strong & Beautiful nymph-like beings born out of the bamboo, immortalized in a painting by a national artist. The vision? Illusion? Ferdinand and Imelda are imperial couple, out to rule the Philippines in its golden era.

Thus was summation of early efforts at reconstruction of Philippine history to highlight the “historic, significant role” of the Marcoses, one that Bongbong Marcos has in mind in his call for the rewriting of the history of the Martial Law Era. It is this Marcosian rule, sans Imelda and imperial trappings, that Duterte has as model of governance.

So true to his Marcosian bent, Duterte wants his legacy written, long before his term ends. (To be continued)