VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Bongbong Marcos falsely claims martial law horrors fabricated

Read this fact check in Filipino

Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is wrong in saying that plunder, massive corruption, and human rights violations “did not happen” during his father’s 20-year rule.

STATEMENT

Citing “no evidence” of corruption following recently dismissed ill-gotten wealth cases, Marcos, in a Jan. 10 media forum, said:

“Marcoses are accused of revisionism, pinapalitan daw namin ang nangyari sa kasaysayan (some are saying that we are rewriting history). Who is doing revisionism? Nilagay nila sa libro, sa textbook ng mga bata na ang mga Marcos ganito ang ninakaw, ganito ang ginawa. Ngayon lumalabas sa korte, hindi totoo ang lahat ng sinabi ninyo, dahil hindi niyo naipakita (They put it in the books, the children’s textbooks that the Marcoses stole this, we did this. Now, the court came out with a decision that everything you say is not true because you failed to prove it).”

Source: National Press Club of the Philippines Official Facebook, Report to the Nation Media Forum, Jan. 10, 2020, watch from 16:44 to 17:26

Marcos added that he wanted to revise textbooks, which are “teaching lies” to children:

Paano ko nasasabi ‘yun? ‘Yan ang desisyon ng korte, (How can I say that? That’s the decision of the court) ‘there was no evidence.’ That has always been our contention. And the reason na tumagal ng ganito ay propaganda, pampulitika (that this has been prolonged is because of propaganda, political).”

Source: watch from 18:00 to 19:00

FACT

Although anti-graft court Sandiganbayan had already dismissed five cases of ill-gotten wealth against the Marcoses and their cronies last year, the latest being the P200-billion lawsuit in December, the Court in its 58-page verdict said it “acknowledges the atrocities committed during Martial Law under the Marcos regime and the 'plunder' committed on the country's resources.”

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The decision on the forfeiture case, penned by Sandiganbayan Associate Justice Alex Quiroz and promulgated on Dec. 16, 2019, was junked because of the violation of the “Best Evidence” rule as the documents presented were “mere photocopies, most of which are barely readable.”

Four other ill-gotten wealth cases suffer similar acquittal due to insufficient evidence.

The Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), established after the EDSA 1986 People Power Revolution overthrew the Marcos regime, had extensively documented the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Marcos’ sins not yet proven in court?)

The PCGG was created through then President Corazon Aquino’s Executive Order No. 1 in 1986 and given the mandate of assisting the president to recover ill-gotten wealth accumulated by late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. and his immediate family, relatives, subordinates, and close associates.

In 2003, the Supreme Court allowed the forfeiture of US$658-million frozen Swiss bank deposits of Marcos Sr., which were transferred to the Philippine government through a 1997 ruling of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court.

Republic Act No. 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 provides for the compensation of martial law victims -- worth P10 billion “plus accrued interest” -- to be sourced from the forfeited funds from the Marcos Swiss accounts.

The law said the government must “recognize the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violations committed” during Marcos Sr.’s regime, and “restore” the victims’ honor and dignity.”

RA 10368 mandates the Human Rights Victims Claims Board to produce a list of victims -- those who were tortured, killed, involuntarily disappeared, or detained for exercising their civil or political rights, had their property or businesses unjustly or illegally taken over by enforcers of the estate, or were victims of such seizures “caused” by the Marcoses themselves -- to be readily available and accessed on the internet.

Now offline, the site contained the only complete government-recognized list of martial law victims, with a total of 11,103 names (See All Hail and Glory to the Marcoses!).

Ceasing its function on December 2019, the Commission on Human Rights assumed the responsibility of distributing checks to the martial law victims.

The government has recovered a total of P170 billion in ill-gotten wealth (assets, monies and properties) by the Marcoses and their cronies over the course of three decades, according to a 2016 PCGG report.

VERA Files has previously fact-checked Bongbong’s elder sister and senator Imee on a similar claim denying the existence of corruption during Marcos’ regime. (See VERA FILES CHECK: Imee Marcos disclaimer on corruption during the Marcos regime is FALSE)


Sources

National Press Club of the Philippines Official Facebook, Report to the Nation Media Forum, Jan. 10, 2020

CNN Philippines, Sandiganbayan junks ₱200-B ill-gotten wealth case against Marcos family, Dec. 16, 2019

Business World, Court rejects P200-B lawsuit vs Marcoses, Dec. 16, 2019

Philstar.com, Sandiganbayan junks P200-billion forfeiture suit vs Marcos family, Dec. 16, 2019

Sandiganbayan, Civil Case 0002: Republic v Marcos, et al, Dec. 16, 2019

Senate Tribunal Court website, Revised Rules of Court 1989, July 1, 1989

Presidential Commision on Good Government website, Mandate

Presidential Commission on Good Government website, Executive Order No. 1, Feb. 28, 1986

Supreme Court E-library, G.R. No. 152154: Republic v Sandiganbayan, July 15, 2003

Official Gazette of the Philippines, Republic Act. No. 10368, Feb. 25, 2013

Human Rights Victims’ Claim Board site, retrieved on Jan. 14, 2020

Official Gazette of the Philippines, Joint Resolution No. 4, July 23, 2018

Presidential Commission on Good Government, PCGG at 30: Recovering Integrity. A Milestone Report, June 2016



(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)

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