ATOM, a group of activists which resisted Martial rule, is at it again. They are shouting "Never Again!" and is at the forefront of calls to defeat the bid of Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, the namesake of the former president, for the vice presidential post. Previous to this, Karapatan, human rights group and several others, already called on Bongbong Marcos to atone for the sins of his father.
Of course, the response would actually be for Bongbong to engage and respond by saying that why would he apologize for something which he wasn't part of? He was not the president at that time and he was sure "out of the loop" so to speak while the country was experiencing martial rule. Or so he claims.
Bongbong, for those who don't know, was given a petty government post during Martial law.
Anyway, why is it that it is so hard for a country of now 100 million souls to forget 14 years of dictatorship? The answer is not as simple as it seems and surely not enough to be brushed aside by a mere "let's move on" statement from Bongbong.
For one, the billions of pesos lost while the Marcoses were in power--what now? Do we agree that we just forget the loss of these monies, and just say " Ah, let's forget that our hard earned taxes were stolen by them, and their cronies, and are now being enjoyed by some, even their drivers, their yayas, and their umbrella men and women? "
How about the monies of the coconut farmers which were used by a crony, Danding Cojuangco for him to get dominion over San Miguel? What about this? This has been resolved many times over in the past.
What we cannot quantify was the loss of thousands of lives during martial rule. Okey, for the sake of fairness, let's just set aside those who lost their lives because they fought for their ideological and political beliefs, and just focus our discussion on those citizens who were victimized by martial rule because of the capriciousness of the Marcoses and their cronies. How many are they? How many were arrested without any reason at all, jailed, or even executed? From this number, how many were asked to be arrested by a crony or Marcos himself just because that person was perceived to be a personal enemy?
Right now, we don't have those figures, but surely these things happened during the dictatorship, no doubt about it.
Martial rule was supposed to tame the wild excesses of the oligarchs at that time; yet because of the megalonia of the one imposing it, martial rule turned into a personal weapon by the Marcoses and was transformed into a constitutional license to do malice against their personal enemies or even those persons who caught their fancy.
For that, let's ask Bongbong---during your heady days as a teenager, how many, if there were, people you ordered arrested or mauled or even asked to be questioned just because you hated them personally or you just thought that these people were your enemies?
This is one side of the dictatorship that people, especially learned ones, fail to raise. Frankly, most people accepted the fates of political actors who were victimized during martial rule because they chose that path and these people knew the consequences of fighting the government.
Let's just focus on the fates of the innocents who died during those dark days of our History and surely those are enough for us to account Bongbong for this.