As a member of the UP community for the past 6 years, I humbly request that the UP Diliman Faculty and the University Student Council release public statements condemning the atrocities of Martial Law.

412 Ateneo professors had the bravery and guts to stand up for the truth. It’s March 8 already, more than a week since the EDSA anniversary and yet still no public statement.

Manila is at a standstill as residents take to the streets to blockade Marcos troops. Here, protesters form a human shield at Camp Crame, where Pro-Aquino Military leaders are headquartered. / Photo and Text by RevolutionRevisited
Manila is at a standstill as residents take to the streets to blockade Marcos troops. Here, protesters form a human shield at Camp Crame, where Pro-Aquino Military leaders are headquartered. / Photo and Text by RevolutionRevisited

It saddens me that in this fight against historical oppression, UP isn’t at the forefront. That while Ateneo leads, UP is strangely quiet. Except for a handful of UP organizations who fight for Never Again, many forget the 70,000 political prisoners, the 35,000 tortured, and 3,000 killed under Martial Law.

To say that Marcos kills and steals is like saying Manny Pacquiao is good at boxing or that Aldub is popular. All are gross understatements.

By age 18, Ferdinand Marcos shot and murdered political rival Julio Nalundasan. He was CONVICTED of murder but apparently if you top the bar, you can be acquitted by the Supreme Court. When you value legal brilliance over good character, you produce brilliant lawyers who are great at stealing public funds. UP has produced many graduates with much excellence but no honor.

According to Transparency International, Ferdinand Marcos was the second most corrupt leader in the world. He robbed Filipinos of $10,000,000,000 which in today’s terms is around 470 billion pesos not including inflation. How bad was his rule? When Marcos first came into power in 1966, the public debt was below $1 billion. By the time Marcos left in 1986, he increased our debt to $27 billion (3000% increase).

Have you ever been mad at how much money the Philippines owes other countries? Marcos is the reason. Aside from getting massive loans which he gave to his cronies, he passed PD 1177 allowing for automatic debt servicing.

Marcos is why you and every other Filipino are born with P62,235 in debt which you end up paying for through your taxes. We will only pay off our foreign debts incurred by Marcos in 2025 – 39 years after we the Filipino people have kicked him out during EDSA.

Ateneo's release Almost 550 faculty members and formators of the Ateneo de Manila University have signed a statement refusing the historical revisionism of the Martial Law years / Ateneo Website
Almost 550 faculty members and formators of the Ateneo de Manila University have signed a statement refusing the historical revisionism of the Martial Law years / Ateneo Website

Decades later, another Marcos wants to return to power. He has none of his father’s brilliance in law or in speaking but many of his bad habits such as his penchant for lying.

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Bongbong lied about his academic record saying he got a Bachelor of Arts from Oxford when he did not. Bongbong continually refuses to acknowledge the wrongdoings of Martial Law. He reportedly admitted trying to withdraw $213 million of ill-gotten wealth from Swiss bank accounts.

Bongbong’s networth in 1992 was P600,000. In 2013 he himself stated that his networth is P442 million which is 700 times his original wealth. You do not have to be good at math to know you could not have made that money on a Congressman’s salary. There is no other explanation as his businesses lost money. Unexplained wealth is assumed to be ill-gotten wealth.

Bongbong Marcos is trying to have it both ways. He is saying he cannot be blamed for the sins of the father but uses the “good acts” of his father to bolster his chances of winning. He keeps using the Marcos brand saying how much things were better under Martial Law. Yet when Marcos killings are brought against him, he says that he shouldn’t be judged like his father.

Bongbong Marcos tells us the Philippines could have been like Singapore under Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew if we had stayed under Marcos rule. It is ironic that the same Lee Kuan Yew who worked with Ferdinand Marcos said “Only in the Philippines could a leader like Ferdinand Marcos, who pillaged his country for over 20 years, still be considered for a national burial. Insignificant amounts of the loot have been recovered, yet his wife and children were allowed to return and engage in politics.”

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Ateneo said it even better. “We deplore the shameless refusal to acknowledge the crimes of the Martial Law regime. We reject the revision of history, disturbing vision of the future, and shallow call for ‘unity’ being presented by Marcos Jr. and like-minded candidates in the 2016 elections.”

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The Marcoses have returned to power / Flickr: Ilocos Norte

I do not ask from UP an ad hominem attack against Bongbong Marcos. I ask for a reminder of the atrocities the Filipino people experienced in Martial Law with the corresponding data. A reminder that great student leaders like Abraham Sarmiento and Lean Alejandro were imprisoned under Martial Law and died soon after. A reminder that a thief, murderer, and dictator should be denounced and not revered.

Bongbong Marcos is statistically tied for top of the Vice President survey. If he wins Vice President, he will be in the best position to win as President in 2022. You may believe we have not moved forward since EDSA but we have no reason to move backward to Marcos. Millenials are starting to buy into the myth that Martial law was good.

While I know some UP members would prefer neutrality in the 2016 elections, I favour action against Martial Law revisionism. After all, it is said that the hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.

Ateneo has spoken truth to power. Will UP do the same?

Martial Law taught us one thing. That if power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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Raymond RodisRaymond Rodis graduated BA Public Administration, Cum Laude from UP Diliman. He is currently taking up his Juris Doctor of Law at the UP College Law and is a consultant at the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation. He is the proud founder of ASPIRE Philippines, a startup social enterprise that conducts leadership trainings, speech workshops, and motivational talks around the country.
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