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The only way a history of the Philippines can be written by a Filipino is to focus on the sufferings of the Filipino people. Other factors, such as the entire emancipation of the people, rectifying details from the perspective of locals, and so on, compelled our historians to rewrite the history that truly makes sense now for us learners for Filipinos to learn from our past. 

In the years since there has been a concerted attempt to rewrite history and improve the image of the Marcos family. Numerous false claims have been made suggesting that the Philippines was rich during its “golden era” during the Marcos years, in order to highlight the splendor and high-profile achievements of the time, as one observer put it. 

Coronel detailed the alleged efforts of a well-funded disinformation machine to mislead Filipinos and make them forget the reasons for the popular uprising 36 years ago that resulted in the ouster of a dictator, former President Ferdinand Marcos, during his speech at this year’s Adrian Cristobal Lecture Series. 

‘Make history, and then write it,’ Marcos said in his journal in 1971. Ferdinand Marcos, (born September 11, 1917, in Sarrat, Philippines—died September 28, 1989, in Honolulu, Hawaii, United States), was the President of the Philippines from 1966 to 1986. 

Manuel Roxas, the son of a politician, was a trial lawyer before becoming the first president of the independent Philippines. In 1966, he was elected President of the United States. 

During his first term, Marcos made improvements in agriculture, industry, and education, but he imposed martial rule in 1972, and his last years in office were marked by immense government corruption, economic stagnation, political repression, and the steady formation of a communist insurgency. 

Following the widespread outcry over the assassination of opposition leader Benigno Aquino (1932–83) and Marcos’ allegedly manipulated electoral victory against Aquino’s widow, Corazon Aquino, Marcos was driven into exile in Hawaii. 

He and his wife, Imelda, were charged with racketeering in the Philippines for diverting billions of pesos from the country’s economy. 

She returned to the Philippines following his death, where she was charged and convicted of corruption; the conviction was later overturned. Marcos’s family has been wrongly demonized, that President Ferdinand Marcos was not a corrupt kleptocrat who delivered pride, riches, and infrastructure to his nation during his two-decade reign while downplaying human rights atrocities. 

The legacy of Marcos has also gotten support from presidential administrations loyal to the family. Bongbong and his sister Imee both served as governor after Imelda before being elected as senators at the national level. 

The Marcos family not only survived but prospered, as they participated in political bargaining, particularly during President Rodrigo Duterte’s tenure, who even permitted the late dictator’s burial in the National Heroes’ Cemetery in 2016, thereby changing perceptions of Marcos’ legacy. 

After being mired down in legal disputes, the underfunded Presidential Commission on Good Government, tasked with retrieving the ill-gotten money of the Marcos regime, has recovered just approximately a third of the cash. Bongbong portrays himself in this year’s election as a steady hand on a sentimental quest to recapture the country’s previous greatness. 

Bongbong Marcos has attempted to capitalize on Filipinos’ dissatisfaction with the democratic government failures that followed his father’s dictatorship. Democracy and political liberties were restored during the 1986 People Power Revolution that overthrew Ferdinand Marcos. Surprisingly, Duterte’s daughter Sara is running for vice president with Bongbong. 

The popularity of Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte demonstrates that a disillusioned population may vote for politicians merely based on their political ancestry once more. Bongbong’s presidential bid symbolizes a spectacular turnaround in the Marcos family’s political fortunes from pariahs to a dynasty. 

Ferdinand Alexander, his eldest son, is standing for Congress and is at the center of the campaign. The 27-year-old, known as Sandro, is a rising online star. Fan cams of him have their own accounts, with photographs and videos flowing through filters and love songs. 

Some threads are fan fiction, with viewers posing as being in an arranged marriage with him or being fought over by Sandro and his siblings. TikTok users are mostly young people who aren’t burdened by the baggage of martial law. 

The Marcos family will now benefit from that paradigm, especially because Duterte’s daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio is running for vice president with Marcos Jr. Instead, they behave like actual individuals, with individualized profiles, photo and video sharing, and group membership. 

Candidates select them based on socioeconomic class, age, and region, according to the population that the political client seeks to attract. The young heartthrob fits Marcoses’ ambition to raise their family’s celebrity status. According to Pro-Marcos TikTok, the video displays the family having fun and stressing their connection, but it also depicts a golden life that is entirely aspirational for Filipinos. 

She expressed concern that Filipinos are once again enamored with the Marcoses, and that the country is on the verge of another Marcos presidency, allegedly by propagating the myth of his electoral invincibility and the inevitability of his presidency, allegedly using disinformation as their main weapon. 

If Marcos had such a grip on our collective imagination, it is due, in part, to his lies and half-truths. The one who is now dominating in recent presidential choice polls, allegedly paints a negative picture of Filipinos as passive receptacles of Marcos propaganda and social media manipulation? We’ve either been duped or captivated by the Marcoses, or we’re pawns in a game we didn’t make, she explained. 

She said that the Marcoses had managed to claw their way back to power, ostensibly due to a failure to hold the dictator’s family accountable. We exile the Marcoses and then welcome them back. 

According to a report released by Dela Salle University professor Julian Teehankee, the country’s political elite may also be partly to blame, as they allegedly helped return the Marcoses and their friends to power through prior elections. 

Which of the two families would Filipinos choose to reflect their society’s character? After all, democracy is about expanding the public’s access to options. The decisions Filipinos make in the next elections, and the many ones that will follow will determine their character as a nation.