Less than a month before her dictator-father’s birthday, Imee Marcos impertinently stated that there aren’t any officially declared national heroes in the Philippines. Issued on the celebration of National Heroes’ Day last August 26, it was nothing but thinly cloaked sour graping. After such offensive statement, the Marcos family, together with the loyalists they continue to mislead, is making an uproar out of the late dictator’s birthday by celebrating his life as that of a hero. It brings to mind the manipulation and deceit used to be able to place Ferdinand Marcos, a dictator and never a hero, in the so-called Libingan ng mga Bayani.
The Marcoses, especially Imee, has always been comfortable with twisting established facts in order to accommodate their own interests and goals. Attained education in prestigious schools is the least of it. What takes the cake away is the illusion of a Solid North for the Marcos family. It is a lie that they spew to recover their lost glory days.
For the Marcos family, they have the support of the entire Northern Luzon. The truth is, however, that they have very little difference from other political dynasties that battle it out with other elite families of a particular territory. Theirs is just another example of the contradiction of the rich and powerful, scrambling to divide amongst themselves scraps and leftovers of the kingpin of the pack.
If their political dynasty of a family is indeed any different from a hundred others scattered in the country, it is from their denial of an entire epoch in the history of the Philippines. Martial Law, engineered and led by their patriarch, summarily executed no less than 3,200, tortured 34,000 individuals and unjustly incarcerated 70,000. Their regime plundered an estimated Php530 billion. Despite these staggering figures and a whole nation to witness their crimes, the Marcos family can deny these without batting an eyelid.
But such despotism by the Marcoses is not just in the past. Even Marcos’ progenies Imee, Bongbong and the rest have faced plunder charges during their terms of office. Imee, particularly, has a lump sum fund of Php213 million for any project she arbitrarily deems to implement. Her Programang Ikauunlad ng Mamamayan, Ekonomya at Ekolohiya or P-IMEE is used to fund pet projects and promote further patronage politics.
THE QUESTION ‘What is a real hero?’ might sound clichéd but could still serve as guiding question during these times of critical analysis. It can be said that serving the masses is the brand of a real hero, especially those who survived Marcos’ fascism then and those who marches onwards despite Rodrigo Duterte’s tyrant fascism now. It can be said that to bravely recognize and call out a wrongdoing of pretending heroes such as Marcos and Duterte is heroism itself.
But more importantly, to eke out a living despite prevalent exploitation and oppression is the most heroic thing for any individual in such situation. Clearly, the nation has other real heroes to boast of—from textbook heroes with monuments ascribed to them to ordinary individuals that surely are more decent human beings than Ferdinand or Imee or Bongbong, or Imelda, for that matter. The people of Ilocos need not look any further than themselves to find a hero.###