Marcos shrugs off 'son of dictator' tag, says no reason to revise history

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 14) — President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is not bothered being tagged as "son of the dictator" — a reference to his father and namesake, the late former President Ferdinand E. Marcos.

In a sit-down interview with Toni Gonzaga at Malacañang for her program "Toni Talks" which aired on Tuesday, the younger Marcos was asked whether he is affected being labeled as such by the media.

"No, it would hurt me if they were right, but they're wrong," the President told Gonzaga, his wedding goddaughter.

"Ang diktador hindi nagkokonsulta. Ang diktador sinasabi lang niya, 'ito ang gagawin niyo sa ayaw at sa gusto niyo,'" he said. "How many times have I watched caucuses, meetings in this hall? In different industries talagang kinakausap niya, ora-orada iyan."

[Translation: A dictator does not consult with people. A dictator only tells others, 'this is what you should do whether you like it or not.’ How many times have I watched caucuses, meetings in this hall? My father immediately talked to people from different industries.]

"I know everything he did. He did it with consultation no matter what the system of government was," he added.

The President also claimed that his father declared martial law "because of the two wars we're fighting on two fronts." He referred to the revolution by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army and the movement led by the Moro National Liberation Front and its founding chairman Nur Misuari at the time.

The elder Marcos shut down and took over newspapers, radio stations, and TV networks on the first days of his dictatorship in September 1972. Under his regime, over 11,000 people fell victim to summary execution, torture, and other human rights violations, according to the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act. Amnesty International estimates some 70,000 were imprisoned and 34,000 were tortured during martial law.

The Marcos family has also been accused of amassing billions of dollars in ill-gotten wealth, with unpaid estate taxes that have allegedly gone up to ₱203 billion. The President himself said the case should be opened, so they can air their side and list down all the properties in question.

READ: Marcos on family's estate tax issue: Open the case, let us argue

'History written by victors'

The President also said there is no reason to revise history, and he acknowledges the problems and abuses that occurred under his father's regime "like in any war."

"The government fell so the victors wrote this history. That's what's being taught in schools," Marcos said.

He added that he would only order the revision of textbooks "if they're wrong."

"Factual naman eh. You can check facts, not political opinion. What are the things that actually did happen, that we can show, that we can prove?" he said. "We have videos, we have photographs, we have records that these happened."

Before winning the elections, Marcos had been hitting back at the opposition for their prolonged “political propaganda” which supposedly revised historical information about his family.

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

During the campaign period, he insisted that his social media presence remained organic despite reports by foreign media that he is building a web of online disinformation to cleanse his family name.

Fact-check coalition Tsek.PH reported in February that Marcos was the biggest beneficiary of fake news during his presidential bid.

The Washington Post and the South China Morning Post also published investigative reports showing that the Marcos camp has engaged in an online revisionism project for years to bolster the family’s image.