Robin Padilla proposes use of Filipino in documents, revision of history subjects

·3 min read
Senator Robin Padilla calls for peace during the celebration of 'Eid al Adha' in Quezon City, Philippines.
Actor-turned-senator Robin Padilla calls for peace during the celebration of 'Eid al Adha', the Islamic "Holiday of the Sacrifice", in Quezon City, Philippines July 9, 2022. (Photo: Robin Padilla/Facebook)

Former actor-turned-politician Senator Robin Padilla has proposed a measure seeking the equal use of Filipino and other local languages in all government and court documents in hopes to let the public easily understand important documents.

In an interview on Monday (July 18), Padilla reasoned that since laws and court verdicts are always written in the English language, some Filipinos cannot understand the language.

Sa karanasan ko po, hindi nagagamit ‘yung Filipino, laging English lang. Katulad sa batas natin ‘pag lumalabas ang batas natin, English. ‘Pag sa korte, ‘pag nasentensyahan ang tao, English ang binabasa,” Padilla said.

(In my experience, Filipino language is not often used, English is always the preferred language. Just like our laws, it is written in English. In courts, when a person is sentenced, English is the language used.)

The ex-actor said that he would file a bill entitled the Equal Use of Languages Act to ensure government documents can be produced in English and Filipino.

He also pushed for court decisions to be recited in the person’s preferred language. Padilla cited Section 7, Article 14 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which states that Filipino and English are the languages that must be used for communication and instruction.

Parang hindi patas para dun sa mga kababayan natin na ‘di ko naman sinasabing hindi nakakaintindi ng English ano, kundi masyado kasing ‘yung may kinalaman sa batas, ‘yung mga English niyan masyadong hindi mo talaga din maitindihan. Kailangan na talagang magkaroon ng parehas na pagtrato sa salitang Pilipino at English,” said Padilla.

(I think it’s not fair for our countrymen – I’m not saying they cannot understand English – but legal terms in English are really difficult to understand. We need to have an equal treatment on the use of Filipino and English languages.)

Marcos narrative on Philippine History

Padilla has also supported calls to revise the current school curriculum especially Philippine history where he wants to include the narrative of the dictator and strongman Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and his family during Martial Law and the 1986 People Power Revolution.

Sa matagal na panahon, narrative ng after People Power ang narinig natin. Ngayon narinig natin ang narrative ng Marcos. Di pwede natin sabihing tsismis ito. Ang narrative ng Aquino iba sa narrative ng Marcos," Padilla claimed.

(For the longest time, we’ve heard about the narrative after People Power. Now that we’ve heard the narrative of the Marcoses, we can’t say that this is hearsay. The Aquinos’ narrative is different from the narrative of Marcos.)

However, the 1986 People Power Revolution was not just a narrative of the Aquinos, but it was mainly the narrative of the victims of the Marcos family’s brutal reign. Also known as EDSA Revolution, the three-day series of popular demonstrations in the country from February 22 to 25, 1986 campaigned against the Marcos regime’s violence and electoral fraud.

From 1965 to 1986, Amnesty International said it documented 3,257 political killings, and around 70,000 people incarcerated and tortured. The Supreme Court also found that the Marcos family plundered at least $658 million from state coffers as the country’s debt mounted.

Decades after, the Marcoses are back in power with the dictator’s son Ferdinand Marcos Jr winning the presidential elections through a well-organized disinformation campaign both online and offline.

While Padilla wants to put forward the narrative of the Marcos family in history books, the Marcoses had already gone ahead with their "rebranding" according to former Cambridge Analytica employee-turned-whistleblower Brittany Kaiser.

“So we had a request straight from Bongbong Marcos to do a family rebranding. This was brought in through internal staff in Cambridge Analytica and was debated. There were some people that didn’t want to touch it and there were others, like our CEO Alexander Nix, that saw it as a financial opportunity and asked to write the proposal anyway,” Kaiser said in an interview with Rappler in 2020.

“So, as you call it historical revisionism, that’s exactly what it is, but it’s done in a data-driven and scientific way. You undertake just enough research to figure out what people believe about a certain family, individual, politician, and then you figure out what could convince them to feel otherwise,” Kaiser said.

Meanwhile, the Marcos camp has repeatedly denied the report.

Pola Rubio is a news writer and photojournalist covering Philippine politics and events. She regularly follows worldwide and local happenings. She advocates for animal welfare and press freedom. Follow her on Twitter @polarubyo for regular news and cat postings.

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