On moving on and forgetting

By Artchil B. Fernandez

On the 50th anniversary of the declaration of martial law, the Marcoses have intensified the propagation of their lies and falsehoods. They are also in frantic effort to bury the truth about the brutal and corrupt rule of the conjugal dictatorship.

Daryl Yap, the Mocha Uson of the Marcoses announced through his social media account a new dramedy titled “Kalimutan Mo Kaya.” The star of the show is his new patron, Imee Marcos, eldest daughter of dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. The release coincided on the date of the declaration of martial law, maliciously intended to ridicule the victims of that dark era.

The dramedy is a plea to forgetfulness. Imee Marcos is urging the viewers to forget the past, the dark past her family imposed on the Filipino people through the declaration of martial law.

“This September 21, #JustFORGET the pain, the bitter past, the destructive hate and revenge; learn to love, hope and forgive #AGAINandAGAIN,” Yap posted on Facebook on September 17, 2022.

The lie, distortion and twisting of facts continue. This shameless attempt to put a positive spin on a bloody and gory era is insidious and indicates the Marcoses are unrepentant and wicked to the core.

Forget the pain, bitter past, the destructive hate and learn to love, hope and forgive are hollow words designed to sugarcoat the evils of martial law. These words are made by remorseless people without conscience.

It is not only heartless but evil for someone who inflicted terrible pain and agony on people to tell the victims to forget the harrowing, painful and traumatic experience. If the situation is reversed and the Marcoses were the ones who were tortured during martial law, would it be okay for them to be told to forget their horrific experience?

The appeal to healing of the Marcoses is not only phony, hypocritical and dishonest but a complete disregard of justice. Worst, the Marcosess had the gall to equate justice with revenge and destructive hate. This family is patently bad.

If the faulty and grotesque logic of the Marcoses is accepted, it implies families who are seeking justice for loves ones victimized by horrible crimes and misdeeds are seeking revenge and promoting destructive hate. If someone is raped or murdered, is it revenge if the family of the victim or the victim seeks justice? Does it mean the court is a tool of revenge and destructive hate rather than venue for the victims to seek justice?

Seeking justice is not revenge. Crying for justice is not destructive hate. The fake appeal of the Marcoses to stop destructive hate is their way to evade justice and further victimize the victims of martial law. By calling the victims of their dark rule as promoters of destructive hate and revenge seekers, the Marcoses are inflicting further injustice on them aside from maintaining the original sin.

Genuine healing is only possible when there is justice. Justice must be given to victims, in this case to those arrested, tortured and killed during martial law. This is the only way for the country to move forward and attain real peace and reconciliation. To brush aside justice, label calls for justice as hate promotion and revenge is not only to perpetuate the injustice but to trample upon justice.

It is treacherous for the Marcoses to call for love and hope while branding those who cry for justice as vengeful seekers of destructive hate. The duplicity of the Marcoses is clear and apparent in this skillful play of words.

The Marcoses also appealed to the victims of martial law to learn to forgive as well as to love and hope. Forgiving is anchored on the repentance of the perpetrators of the injustice and crime. Had the Marcoses on the first place asked for forgiveness and expressed authentic remorse?

The story of Zacchaeus in the Gospel of Luke provides a good example of how justice, forgiveness, love and hope work. Zacchaeus not only expressed real remorse for cheating people but offered reparations. “If I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount,” he told Jesus. Forgiveness and justice go hand in hand.  With justice and forgiveness, love and hope are possible.

The Marcoses never asked forgiveness from the Filipino people for their high crimes.  They not only failed to seek absolution but even insisted they did no wrong when court decisions here and abroad found them to have committed high crimes to the nation.

How can the Filipino people, particularly the victims of martial law forgive the Marcoses when they have not acknowledged their wrongdoings as Zacchaeus did? Since the Marcoses refused to ask for forgiveness and instead insisted on their lies and falsehoods, how can the nation especially those arrested and tortured and the families of those killed forgive them?

Calling for people to love, hope and forgive without justice or even at the minimum admission and acceptance of wrongdoing is a grave injustice and greater crime. The Marcoses compounded their evil deeds by demanding that they should be forgiven and loved despite adamant refusal to admit what they terribly did to the nation and the Filipino people. They are instead trying to brazenly hide and cover up their dark past through deception, misinformation, disinformation and distortion.

Unless the Marcoses follow Zacchaeus, there is no moving on and forgiveness. The nation must constantly remember and must never forget the dark past of martial law and what the Marcoses did during that era of suffering. Filipinos must not forget the horrors of martial law to prevent that dark past from being repeated again.