Again, some prefatory disclosures are in order.  I was an ‘unwilling guest’ of the Marcosian detention camps from September 16, 1973 to December 12, 1974.  I was tortured during a tactical interrogation period of about two to three weeks or so at various security agencies (some of which are no longer in existence) including the Western Police District, Metropolitan Police Investigation Service (MPIS), and the 5th Constabulary Security Unit (CSU).

The namesake of the dictator (who painstakingly imitates his baritone voice) has just been proclaimed Senator of the Republic.

Bongbong Marcos

Imelda and the embalmed dictator

The flamboyant dictator’s wife (of the thousand-shoes-notoriety) is representative-elect of the second district of her late husband’s home province.

The former chieftain of the Marcosian national youth organization (Kabataang Barangay) will soon be governor of the same province by besting a cousin at the polls.

Imee Marcos

The sovereign people has spoken.

While these same Marcoses have gained popular mandates from their paisans in Ilocos Norte and Leyte in the past, the victory of Senator Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. represents the first opportunity that a politician directly connected to the late dictator has won national approval.

Bongbong himself sought a senatorial seat in 1995 but failed.

The Imeldific stood for the presidency in 1992 and was blamed for splitting the vote that could have gone Danding Cojuangco’s way.

The political rehabilitation of the Marcoses have emboldened them not only to stick to the old position that the dictator (and by extension, his family) has nothing to apologize for with respect to his rule from September 1972 to February 1986.

Now you have Bongbong casting his moist eyes on occupying the presidential palace after the 2016 elections.  Perhaps, we may have to thank Jojo Binay, Chiz Escudero, and Mar Roxas for being available to thwart this nightmare.

Some of you might say that we should give Bongbong the benefit of the doubt; that we should not visit the sins of the father (nay the parents) upon the son.

But that argument rests on the premise that he was not complicit with his father’s crimes; that he did not personally benefit from the same; and that he did not at the very least commit sins of omission.

He sees nothing wrong with his father’s rule.  He denies they acquired ill-gotten wealth. He denies his father cheated during the 1986 snap presidential elections.  He maintains that his father’s ouster was an American-inspired conspiracy.

In a recent interview with Agence France-Presse, Bongbong elaborated the following thoughts on alleged human rights abuses during his father’s rule:

1.  He initially said that some minor incidents–such as a drunken soldier beating some one up–MAY have occurred while his father was in power. Meaning he was not even sure or he is not willing to concede that even a MINOR incident even happened.

I will assure Senator Bongbong that the policemen and the intelligence officers who tortured me and my companions during my tactical interrogation sessions were quite sober.

2. He asserts however that it was not national policy to commit human rights abuses.

Retort:  Assertions to the contrary are cheap.  Hasn’t Senator Bongbong heard of command responsibility?  During the Nuremberg war crimes trials, the defendants sought to excuse themselves by claiming they were simply following orders.  In this case, you have Bongbong saying we are blameless because the soldiers and the rank-and-file were acting on their own.  Talk about a novel defense.  In my language, I call it konkretong palusot!

3.  Pushed further on issues such as the detention of journalists, the closure of newspapers, and the imposition of martial law, he said that such measures were needed to contain wars against Muslim and communist rebels.

He adds:  “So the war rules applied, I suppose, in that regard.”

I can’t help but get sarcastic with the new legal scholarship forwarded by Senator Bongbong Marcos.  Can he cite the pertinent sections of international conventions on war  that permits the detention of journalists and closure of newspapers? Not unless he justifies unbridled war?

Meanwhile, Reuters reports that the Imeldific was confident of winning back much of the wealth seized from her family.

The Lady, known for her large collection of jewelry and 1,200 pairs of shoes, said she would not accept a compromise deal but would pursue her claims through the courts.

“I am sure that the things that are ours and truly ours will come back,” the 80-year-old told Reuters by phone from the northern Ilocos Norte province. “Truth and justice sometimes grind exceedingly slow, but grind exceedingly well”.

Indeed, the contestation regarding truth over Marcosian rule will get fiercer over the next six years given the recent rehabilitation of the Marcoses on the national level.  Such contestation will determine whether another Marcos will occupy Malakanyang come 2016.

  1. chee says:

    Alithia, my daughter, is very much concerned about the coming 2016 elections. Thank you, Bong for posting this. I hope that we do not forget the past that had so many friends passing from this world fighting for justice. Lest their sacrifices are forgotten perhaps more expositions such as yours should be brought out to the public. The lame excuse of ‘we’ did not order those detentions, etc. will not carry weight, would it? A president always knows what happens during his reign. As Manang Zen would say, ‘onya, Bong!’ God bless.

  2. EDSEL says:

    Sir, your reply on wawa we’s question whether to blame the son and daughters of FM’s sins hit the bulls eye. Its the premise that every Filipino voter in the years to come (surely BBM will aspire for the highest seat) should consider. Are the Marcoses willing to acknowledge the sins of their father and therefore make amends? with the current trend in BBM’s logic, we can see a parallelism with that of the present neo-nazis denying the existence of the holocaust. tsk.tsk.tsk.

  3. Yes Ferdinand Marcos did bring great infrastructure projects to the Philippines during the early years of his rule, but the greatness of that man faded too quickly, and with the assistance of the US government to the day he left in disgrace to Hawaii. Corazon Aquino brought one thing to the Filipino people and that is the restoration of Philippine-style democracy to the country. Her crowning achievement, CARP is still, to this day, winding its way through the courts with regard to her own family’s hacienda, Luisita. PNOY is an accidental president who, on the death of his mother, was thrust into the presidential race, a race in which he won largely on the sympathy vote. GIBO or Villar, or even Binay would probably make a better president, and may just in the next election, take your pick.

    Bong Bong Marcos needs to face the reality of what his father had done to not only the people of the Philippines, but to the country itself. It is no joke how the country has regressed over the last 35 years, while every other country in which it was ahead of, has pulled way ahead, socially and economically. Where is the $5 billion that Ferdinand Marcos promised he would return in (in exchange for permission to return to the Philippines) an OP/ED piece allegedly penned by him in 1987 that appeared in the Los Angeles Times?

    Would Bong Bong Marcos make a good president? Do the Filipino people even want to take that risk? Building wind farms is one thing, but growing an economy while overseeing a diverse country, and stopping corruption is another, especially when corruption is so endemic in all aspects of political life. Are the Filipino people that naive, or do they subscribe to forgive and forget? As I recall in my youth, after one of the six or so coup attempts against Cory Aquino, the punishment meted out to the mutinous soldiers was 100 push-ups. When are things taken seriously in the Philippines? So who do we have now? We have a reluctant leader, a bunch of movie stars in the Senate, more in the Congress, and 85 million poor Filipinos.
    The country is truly a very rich country pretending to be poor. What or who is it going to take for those of us who love this island nation to pull it up from her bootstraps and into the 21st century where it belongs? Manny Pacquiao? or an as yet unnamed, charismatic Overseas Filipino Worker, part of the dominant group that drives the economic engine of the country?–J Bautista VIRATA

    • bongmendoza says:

      Thanks John for your comments on the blog entry on Marcos’ rehabilitation and for your subscription to my blog. Unfortunately, I have been inactive for quite a while and have not been blogging since June. However, I receive all sorts of comments and notices of subscriptions and note that a number of cyber-citizens continue to read my entries according to the blog stats. So I promise to start blogging again SOON!

  4. Wawa We says:

    The only reason the Marcoses, particularly Bongbong, are back in power is because of the disenchantment with the Cory Aquino legacy, or lack thereof.

    I say this with deepest respect and all the love in the world, and I recognize the horrific trauma you experienced under the military, but if Bongbong Marcos can bring unprecedented economic development and progress to the Philippines then I am all for him.

    In a comparative analysis of good governance, the 21 years of Marcos saw the greatest infrastructure projects constructed in the Philippines, while the 24 years of Cory’s legacy saw no such gains.

    In the midst of global humiliation and ignominy, Bong bong got a grad school education in the United States, and developed Ilocos Norte with the wind farms. Noynoy took an economics degree from Ateneo, disappeared during the Mendiola Massacre and Hacienda Luisita Massacre, and has not built anything whatsoever in his entire life, despite the fact that their family is one, if not the most, powerful family in the Philippines today.

    Thirty-four political killings happened during the 21 years of Marcos. Aquino had the same number but it only took her six years.

    And the matter of the “1,200 shoes” that you mentioned is further made more rational and common sensical with a basic math and simple history lesson. A link to a video is made available below. This was originally for musicians David Byrne and Fatboy Slim, for their album “Here Lies Love.” Please take a look at it, but it considered a 3,000 shoe scenario. I’m sure people from Diliman would comprehend this basic math and simple history lesson.


    Last but not the least, you speak of COMMAND RESPONSIBILITY and I totally agree with you because this is the principle that should have damned Gilberto Teodoro who’s resignation from the Department of Defense tool place eight days before the Maguindanao Massacre, and the same reason that should damn Gloria Arroyo.

    COMMAND RESPONSIBILITY for the Marcoses indeed if the Aquinos transformed the Philippines into one of the best nations in the whole world. And yet, no one held accountable Noynoy and his family for the greatest underachieving period of our nation’s history.

    It pains me (no pun intended) to know that you associate the face of the Marcoses with your horrid experience with torture. Does this also mean that if a grandson or great-grand daughter of the Marcoses ran for public office, you would accuse them of the same sins?

    Then shouldn’t we blame all the sons and daughters of the Nazis and the Japanese?
    Emperor Akihito should be asked to step down. I am rambling now and become irrelevant. Forgive me.

    If Bongbong Marcos is the only way to wake up from the nightmare of Cory and Arroyo, we will stand by him. If no one presents a viable alternative, we think a man with a Princeton education and a proven track record of progress in Ilocos Norte deserves a national position. What would you have us do?

    A non-oligarch like Manny Villar tried. He is the greatest building politician in the country after Quezon and Marcos. But Noynoy won.

    We stand for no person. We back up no political party. All we want is development for the nation. After 50 years and after a comparative analysis of governance we know who to follow, at least for now.

    Make no mistake about it, Bongbong is no saint and we’re not asking that Marcos’ name be sent to the Vatican for sainthood, but we know what tool place in 21 years and we know what did not transpire in the, ironically, succeeding 24 years.

    Please keep communication lines open.
    Intellectual discourse is always the best sign of a healthy democracy.

    In short, we may not end up marrying each other, but we know we want the best for our country.

    Thanks and God bless you always.

    • bongmendoza says:

      Dear Wawa We,

      First, i would like to thank you for taking the time to read my blog entry and for commenting at length on the same.

      If, and that is a big if, Bong Bong Marcos as president of the Philippines will bring UNPRECEDENTED progress to our country, then i myself will be all for him. Take note that you have raised the performance bar for BBM. If indeed he delivers in an unprecedented manner, if he performs a development miracle for the country, then i will take my hat off and sing praises for him.

      Alas, we cannot predict the future.

      what i had called to task for is his (family’s) failure, his (family’s) refusal to square with the past. in my book, that failing is not a good sign that the party involved can bring us to a bright future.

      you talk about a superior infrastructure building record of the marcos years from 1965 to 1986 compared to comparatively poorer performance of post-1986 governments. i have yet to investigate this claim empirically. but i am willing to concede it at this point for purposes of this reply.

      unfortunately, you are comparing mangos and bananas. marcos enjoyed uninterrupted rule and dictatorial powers from 1972 to 1986 and this is one reason why his government could perform better in this area. he likewise enjoyed an unprecedented (never to be repeated) abundance of cheap foreign funds (ODA and commercial bank loans) that could finance the public works program.

      his successors meanwhile had to deal with the negativities of governmental discontinuity. every incoming government does not hit the ground running and this affects project implementation. furthermore, because of the debt crisis and the profligacy of the marcos regime with respect to foreign monies, post-marcos governments also faced a less-friendly ODA and international commercial banking environment.

      you talk of the lack of a cory legacy. i don’t see why you cannot see it. it is the restoration of democracy. of course, one can say that we, the filipino people, did it ourselves. having said that, we must not gloss over the catalytic role played by Ninoy and Cory.

      BBM and the other Marcoses are themselves beneficiaries of the Cory legacy. Otherwise, he would not be senator of the republic and the other sub-national officials by now.

      on the other hand, he may have been deprived by people power. who knows, he might be the country’s dictator by now? an honest (pun intended) to goodness marcos dynasty could have been consolidated from the 1980s thanks to the likes of fabian ver and his sons of the presidential security command.

      An aside: i want to know the source of your information that there were only 34 political killings during the Marcos period.

      I am quite dense since i cannot understand the logic and common sense behind 1,200, more so, 3000 shoes. perhaps that’s because i did not learn my logic, math, and history from fat boy slim and david byrne. what can i do? i got and continue getting an old-fashioned education! from the denizens of diliman…

      let me be clear. when i criticize the marcoses, it does not automatically mean that i don’t see anything wrong with post-Marcos governments.

      i will not accuse any marcos descendant of FM’s sins. but you can be sure that, if they aspire for public office, i will certainly ask them about the Marcosian past.

      at the end of the day, i believe that the more we examine the past, the further we can move forward into the future.

  5. bongmendoza says:

    Joy, your e-mail service did not accept my e-mail. Perhaps because the attachment was a rather large file.

  6. bongmendoza says:

    Thanks Joy. I will send the said chapter to your e-mail address.

  7. Leilani says:

    I am sitting here aghast over what you two have gone through as young students. Gosh, I can’t even imagine how your mothers have suffered as you have. It wasn’t too long ago that Bong and I connected on FB and by happenstance again, on a page Ix, Rene’s nephew was on. Small world, indeed. I am playing catch up with what’s happening to our beloved country. Early on, I asked a few of my FB friends to help me understand how the heck Bongbong Marcos gained some legitimacy after all his family took, no– stole from the people’s trove. How can anyone explain $600million stashed in a Swiss Bank account? If it was legitimately theirs, why the secrecy to being with? Isn’t obvious?? And where would such a humongous sum come from? And why was Abcede entertaining the case just weeks before, when the leaders at the helm are about to change? Adcede is no doubt close to Imelda or at least is likely sucking up to her. Unfreakin’ believable. Perhaps the payout would be sweeter. My point is the heirs to that stash are the Marcos children. They are culpable! Bongbong is front & center. They have somehow made him the poster child of the “new & improved Marcoses”. I get the sense they are playing good cop, bad cop. I have a good friend who is very smart, and to my dismay she took note that Bongbong has actually done a lot of good things for his region of responsibility. I was stunned that she gave that some credence. Well, heck that is his job as an elected official but mostly, his job as you so eloquently put it, Bong– in the political rehabilitation of their name!!! It is terrifying that Bongbong was elected with such great numbers and it seems the masses have just about forgotten the sins of the father which the children blatantly deny!! I think what we need is a movie that shows what really happened during the Marcos regime. You two suffered torture at the hands of Marcos minions!! This part of history must be retold so that the public will know and understand. The masses seem to give showbiz peeps a great deal of attention, perhaps a movie would be a good vehicle to bring the truth to the forefront. Already, history has been repeated with Jason Aquino and many political prisoners still incarcerated! Nick Faeldon now has a price of P1million on his head, for what??? For standing up for what is right, just like you two did. Here’s hoping all political prisoners are freed SOON. Thank you to both of you for all you stand for. I salute you.

    • bongmendoza says:

      Lei: For accuracy’s sake, I was no longer a student at the time of capture and torture. I dropped out of UP precisely to fight the dictatorship full-time. Of course, i returned to school after release from prison but continued to fight from the underground.

      Furthermore, I feel you do not have to thank me. I just did what i felt was necessary. This is not false modesty i assure you. It is is that I am more at awe of comrades who lost their lives or some limbs or even their sanity in the struggle. I always think of three equally-young friends I recruited who subsequently died in battle. I also recall fraternity brods and UP classmates who met the same fate.

      Look at me now: I am a happy family man, doting grandfather, and a university professor to boot. I consider myself blessed many times over. Writing about and sharing the experience is therapeutic.

  8. rene antonio m. cepeda says:

    bong, we were picked up early dawn of september 16, 1973. our interrogation period lasted all of 11 days. i distinctly remember this because we were transferred to fort bonifacio on september 27, which happened to be my 19th birthday. you were the only one among us who really got the third degree. i still remember you telling me to endure the pain of torture for just three hours…because my body would by then be numb after that. i also remember your bloodied head while crawling on your hands and feet after a physical exam by the crame doctor who wanted to make sure we’d all survive the torture chambers of panopio, MPIS and 5th CSU.

    • bongmendoza says:

      rene, thanks for reminding me of what happened during those september days. however, i don’t remember my head being bloodied after the ‘medical examination’ at camp crame. perhaps, since we went from torture to torture from one camp to another, i had not been able to keep track.

      remember how we called ourselves the “first anniversary harvest” of the martial law regime?

  9. angela says:

    bongbong for president in 2016? oo nga it isn’t so farfetched considering the short memory, nay, no memory esp of young filipinos. besides, lakas ng appeal niya. buti na lang there’s chiz atbp. and hopefully the next six years will find the new administration pursuing the hidden wealth cases, that hopefully the media will cover with renewed interest. i used to think that at the very least the marcoses should stop blocking the release of monies to human rights victims, but that’s small change pa lang, it would seem.

    • bongmendoza says:

      Dear Angela,

      Thanks for your comments. Can you please furnish me with your e-mail address? I will send you a chapter I wrote on Philippine people power that was published in a collection on civil resistance and power politics by the Oxford University Press in September 2009.


      bong mendoza

      • Joy Jocelyn B. Perez-Cue says:

        Every wound heals, so they say. Forgetting the experience though, and so horrible as yours, would be ONE BIG MISTAKE. Thank you for keeping on REMINDING us of the past, for our future, and for our children’s future.

        Can you also send me that chapter on Philippine people power?

        Best Regards.

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