Marcos pushes for revision of history textbooks: 'You're teaching the children lies'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 10) – After gaining consecutive victories on cases involving his family's alleged-ill gotten wealth, former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. stressed Friday that it's about time for educational institutions to revise the content of history textbooks which have depicted their family in a bad light.

Marcos, the son of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, did not mention any names, but hit back at the opposition for their prolonged “political propaganda” which supposedly revised historical information about their family that is being taught on today’s youth.

The Commission on Human Rights, however, countered his call, saying it is a direct affront to the thousands of victims of human rights violations under Marcos' authoritarian rule.

“We have been calling on that for years. Syempre ang nakaupo, under the influence of our opposition, pero ‘di rin naman tama ‘yun. What has been proven wrong is that they continue to contend —essentially, you are teaching the children lies,” Marcos said in a forum in Manila.

“I think this is the very definition of revisionism. That is one important takeaway. We always knew that these were not true,” he added.

The Marcoses, who are known allies of President Rodrigo Duterte, won last year five ill-gotten-wealth related cases which were filed by the government against them.

In January last year, Sandiganbayan Special Fourth Division ordered the release of the sequestered properties of Gregorio Araneta III, son-in-law of the late dictator.

That was following in July, by the Sandiganbayan's reported dismissal of a forfeiture case against Luis Yulo and the Yulo King Ranch Corporation involving the supposedly ill-gotten wealth of the late President.

In August, the Sandiganbayan Second Division dismissed the ₱102-billion forfeiture case filed in 1987 against the Marcoses, Roberto Benedicto, and other cronies. The court, however, in November allowed the government to appeal the case.

In October, the court junked a ₱1.052-billion civil case filed in 1989 against the Marcoses, former Ambassador Bienvenido Tantoco Sr. and some of his relatives, and a ₱267.37 million civil case against the family, their business associates Fe Roa Gimenez and Ignacio Gimenez, and other cronies.

In December, the government ordered close associates of the late strongman Marcos to return to the government ill-gotten wealth from their shares in Eastern Telecommunications Philippines, Inc., which the PCGG valued at around ₱2.95 billion.

But on the same month, Sandiganbayan’s fourth division junked a ₱200-billion forfeiture case against former President Ferdinand Marcos, his widow Imelda Marcos, his children Bongbong, Senator Imee Marcos, Irene Marcos and Constante Rubio, a close associate of the former president, for lack of sufficient evidence.

READ: Sandiganbayan junks ₱200-B ill-gotten wealth case against Marcos family 

Reynold Munsayac, acting chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, said in November 2016 that there were a total of 282 pending cases in relation to an estimated $10 billion (roughly ₱500 billion today) that the late President Marcos and his family allegedly stole from government coffers during his two-decade regime. It is not clear how many cases remain pending following the recenly dismissed court cases.

The search for Marcos' stolen wealth has so far yielded only ₱170 billion in jewelry, paintings, real estate properties, company assets, and cash, according to the PCGG.

READ: Timeline: Jewels, properties, and billions of Marcos ill-gotten wealth 

The jewels recovered from the family could have financed the four-year college education of about 2,000 students, provided electricity to over 2,000 households and funded for the treatment of over 12,000 tuberculosis patients alone, the PCGG said,

READ: Look: Marcoses’ ‘ill-gotten’ jewels and how these could have helped Filipinos 

Not yet cleared of abuses

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said on Friday that despite Marcos' claims, the dismissal of civil forfeiture cases involving the Marcoses does not clear them from the abuses they committed during Martial Law.

"The recent call to revise Philippine history books to absolve the Marcos family from all the atrocities and corruptions they perpetrated is a direct affront to the thousands of victims of human rights violations under the authoritarian rule," CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia told CNN Philippines.

"Moving forward, the CHR, together with national agencies and academic institutions, shall strengthen its efforts to integrate in our education curriculum the lessons from Martial Law and the actual events that transpired to remind the younger generations of the people's aspirations and struggles for freedom during the dark period of Marcos rule," she added.

The government released funds until December 2019 from the recovered Marcos ill-gotten wealth to martial law human rights victims.

The rights reparation law set aside around P10 billion to cover operations and implement martial law memorialization.

READ: Fund for martial law reparations extended