Wenceslao: August 21 of every year

·3 min read

This should be an awkward month for Ferdinand Marcos Jr. On Aug. 21, 1983, former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. was shot while being escorted by military men down to the tarmac of the airport that now bears his name. His lifeless body would later be seen sprawled on the tarmac near another bullet-peppered body, that of Rolando Galman who was shot somewhere but brought to the airport in a van earlier.

I remember my late father muttering “patay na (he’s dead)” and shaking his head while listening to the radio station dzRH. I fell silent, hoping against hope while staring blankly at the nipa roof of the house extension where my father and my mother slept at that time. I was home for a while taking a respite from my organizing work in the Cebu City mountains.

More than a million people would later line the sidewalks during Ninoy’s funeral and three years later the hated dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. was toppled by the 1986 Edsa people power revolt. It was an uprising that was both peaceful and lenient to the dictator and his family. More than three decades later, Marcos’ son and namesake is our president.

The new generation Marcoses led by the Junior and Imee, currently a senator, are determined to reshape history to their liking. That was seen in the film “Maid in Malacañang” that tried to stain the images of the late president Corazon Aquino, Ninoy’s wife, and the Carmelite nuns who protected her when the uprising broke out in 1986. The film manufactured a scene that had Cory and the nuns playing mahjong. This was in keeping with rumors that portrayed Cory as a “mahjongera.”

Any attempt to revise history will always be confronted by the truth. There are now efforts to rename the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and to devalue the P500 bill that carries Ninoy’s face. Trolls are busy denigrating the Aquino name if given the chance. But always, every year that passes will have both a February and an August, months that the Marcoses will try hard to downplay.

Historical revisionism will only go so far. Those who believe in revisionist history instead of the truth will always be marginalized. Neo-Nazis continue to draw sympathizers, but they still are the minority. Right-wingers in the Philippines managed to extend their life span because of Rodrigo Duterte, but Marcos Jr. will have to fear the backlash from liberal democrats. The force Leni Robredo was able to muster in the 2022 polls will be different from the one that will show up six years from now.

Marcos Jr. will soon realize that governance is different from the mere acquisition of power. Many poor countries in the world are run by right-wingers who are now finding it difficult to hold on to power because the needs of the people can’t be belittled using revisionist propaganda. The people’s wrath is rising.

The worst thing to happen is for history to repeat itself and for the people to reclaim what they have lost since 2016. Karl Marx once wrote about history repeating itself, the second time around as a farce. Marcos Jr. lacks the intellect and drive of the Senior and could suffer because of these.