EXCLUDING February 25 from the list of holidays for 2024 will not change the fact the Marcos dictatorship was ended with a people power revolution on that day more than three decades ago.
Such was the reaction of veteran Cebuano lawyer Democrito Barcenas, a Martial Law survivor, after learning that the People Power Revolution anniversary that is being commemorated every February 25 was no longer included in the list of special non-working holidays for 2024.
Malacañang Palace has released the list of of regular and special non-working holidays for 2024 on Friday, Oct. 13, 2023. Based on next year’s holiday calendar, February 25 will no longer be a special non-working holiday.
Barcenas, in a text message to SunStar Cebu on Friday, said the President cannot alter history that the “brutal dictatorship” of his father, the late Ferdinand Marcos Sr., ended with people power in 1986.
“Marcos Jr. cannot erase historical records even if he will not make February 25 a holiday,” said Barcenas.
“The people cannot forget the massive violations of human rights and the plunder of public funds during the regime of Marcos Sr.,” he added.
The Office of the President, in a statement posted on the Facebook page of the Presidential Communications Office on Friday, said it maintains respect for the commemoration of the Edsa People Power Revolution, but decided not to include it in the list because Feb. 25 falls on a Sunday.
“There is minimal socio-economic impact in declaring this day as a special non-working holiday since it coincides with the rest day for most workers and laborers,” Malacañang reasoned out.
However, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary on December 8, 2024 also falls on a Sunday, and it was declared a special non-working day.
Many Filipinos work on Sundays, including medical workers, retailers, journalists and those working in tourism and other service establishments as well as business process outsourcing firms.
Early on, human rights activists raised fears that the election of Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. into the presidency would lead to efforts to revise the nation’s history by downplaying or downright erasing what is considered as the most reprehensible parts of his father’s strongman rule from history books.
Marcos Sr. was ousted from Malacañang in the People Power Revolution of February 1986, after a 20-year rule marked by the declaration of Martial Law in 1972 and human rights abuses that involved the arrest, torture, killing and disappearance of thousands of Filipinos, as noted by Amnesty International and other human rights groups.
Last September, the Department of Education issued a memo directing the change in the term “Diktadurang Marcos” (Marcos Dictatorship) to just “Diktadura,” in the Grade 6 Araling Panlipunan textbooks under the new “Matatag” curriculum, prompting an outcry from educators and minority lawmakers who called it a manipulation of historical facts and state-sponsored disinformation.
There has also been a pattern of ill-gotten wealth cases against the Marcoses being dismissed under the Marcos Jr. administration, raising fears that these are also part of efforts to revise history.
In July, the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (Carmma) called this pattern “deplorable” as it condemned the Supreme Court ruling that affirmed the dismissal of an ill-gotten wealth case first filed in 1987 against the late President Ferdinand Marcos Sr., his wife Imelda and their alleged dummies that sought to recover P1.05 billion in real and personal properties.
A year earlier, in July 2022, or less than a month into the Marcos Jr. administration, the Sandiganbayan’s Fourth Division dismissed the state’s lawsuit seeking to recover P200 billion in assets and properties from the Marcoses. Another similar case handled by the fifth division was dismissed in February 2023.
In June 2023, the Sandiganbayan also ordered the dismissal of the P581.3 million civil forfeiture case involving Imelda and President Marcos Jr. and their cronies.
The Presidential Commission on Good Government, which filed the cases against the Marcoses, said at least $6 billion of the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth had not been recovered, excluding the P203 billion estate tax unpaid by the first family.