Sociologist explains: Despite father's dictatorship, why are Marcoses still popular?

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) – Accounts of torture, extra-judicial killings, human rights abuses, and controversies on ill-gotten wealth – these are only some pieces of history that have been written and told about the dictatorship of former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.

But despite these, his wife and children continue to remain popular – and loved by Filipino voters.

The question is  – why?

For former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, it might be a Filipino thing to quickly forgive and forget. He once wrote that the Philippines is a “soft, forgiving culture.”

“Only in the Philippines could a leader like Ferdinand Marcos, who pillaged his country for over 20 years, still be considered for a national burial. Insignificant amounts of the loot have been recovered, yet his wife and children were allowed to return and engage in politics,” Lee said.

Former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos and children Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos and Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. have since held elective posts in the government.

Imelda and Imee are both running for re-elections in the upcoming May 9 polls, while Bongbong is seeking the second highest position in the country.

WATCH: Martial law victims: No to Marcoses in palace

Sociologist Nicole Curato told CNN Philippines Newsroom on Friday (February 25) that one of the reasons for the Marcoses' popularity is "they have something to show for that people can actually relate to."

Marcos’ empirical legacies, such as roads and infrastructures, are what Filipinos look for, she explained as the country commemorates the 30th anniversary of the 1986 EDSA Revolution that toppled Marcos’ dictatorship.

WATCH: Frontliners recall EDSA People Power events

She added that the developments during the Marcos’ administration are difficult to contrast with “legacies that are a bit more abstract like freedom.”

Echoing what some Filipinos say, she asked: What use is freedom if people are stuck in transport vehicles during traffic?

Paradigm shift on EDSA discussions

Curato said there needs to be a reorientation of how Filipinos talk about history.

What was not done during the Marcos regime? She said these are the kinds of questions Filipinos should start asking.

“I personally feel offended when we try to glamorize Martial Law when a lot of the Marcoses grace the covers of the magazines making it look like it’s such as glamorous thing that all has forgiven,” she said.

Also read: Pres. Aquino: Marcos regime was not a 'golden age' in our history

Still, Curato said there needs to be open, intelligent discussions among people with differing opinions on the EDSA Revolution – Filipinos who think Martial Law is a dark age should exchange views with those who think the country needs more dictators in government.

She also said Filipinos should stop focusing on the “heroes” of EDSA, because what they have done 30 years after are "frustrating."

“One of them was put to jail because he was implicated in the Napoles scandal. One human rights lawyer during that regime is also accused of a lot of corruption scandals,” she cited.

She said the best way to celebrate the 1986 EDSA Revolution is to make it a period of reflection.