Memories of Marcos

Adel Gabot




Ever since I had my stroke in late 2009, memories of certain random things have been hazy at best, non-existent at worst. So my memories of the Marcos era and the little parts I played in it are unreliable, but some stick out clear as a bell.

My clearest memory is from September 1972, when I was 10 years old. Martial Law was just declared that Thursday. We were living in a house in BF Homes Novaliches, and as were decades from the social connectivity we have now and we mostly kept to ourselves (we also didn’t listen to the radio or watch TV much), we weren’t quite privy to the news until the following Monday. I remember that very clearly.

My dad was a military officer on leave then when Martial Law was declared, and as such, was absent from work. We only found out about the declaration four days later, and he was worried he’d be considered a deserter and be court-martialed and locked up. Thank God nothing came of it.

I also remember the whispered rumors and undercurrents of worry at the time, when journalists, critics, dissidents and enemies of the Marcos regime were being taken in the night, locked up, tortured and killed. But being as young as I was, it was like a distant worry and I didn’t really pay it much attention and went on with my life.

As I grew up I became more aware of the trouble, and I as entered college, I joined the protest movements and became a minor member of the UP Student Council. I became close friends with some of the notable protestors and activists of the time, like Lean Alejandro and Malou Mangahas. I joined demonstrations and marches and all that. I remember a lot of us were rounded up, and some just disappeared, never to be seen again. Those were scary times.

Admittedly, I was partly there because of the need to belong to something, but mostly because I also believed in the cause. How could you not? When I got into the job market after college and the mother of major demonstrations occurred in 1986, I was on EDSA with the masses, and we finally overthrew the dictator and his corrupt regime.

Now, 30 years later, after languishing in a refrigerator for years, that bastard’s long dead corpse was secretly buried in the Libingan ng Mga Bayani, facilitated by our idiotic new president and allowed by our esteemed but unfeeling Supreme Court. It is an honor he certainly does not deserve, and people are up in arms. Some people at least.

In this country, people’s memories are short, and they have allowed the dictator’s family to continue to hold top positions in goverment, much less prosecute and convict them for their family’s many heinous crimes against us.

Many don’t care about what went down in the LNMB last Friday. Protests are happening all over, yes, but I suspect that won’t really last long, and pretty soon we’ll all carry on as if nothing had happened. Again.

I sincerely worry about the Philippines.

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