VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Video makes FALSE claims about Marcos human rights victims, ABS-CBN

Human rights violations committed under the Marcos dictatorship have been proven in court, contrary to a claim in a 10-minute TikTok video currently making the rounds online.

Victims of these rights violations are in fact entitled to reparation under Philippine law.

Biased ang pagbabalita ng ABS-CBN. Tulad na lang halimbawa kapag tungkol sa mga Marcos ang topic, ang lagi nilang inilalabas ay mga biktima kuno ng Martial Law, human rights violation at kung anu-ano pang mga bintang na kailanman ay hindi napatunayan sa harap ng korte,” a narrator erroneously said in the short clip.

(Translation: ABS-CBN’s reporting is biased. For example, if it’s about the Marcoses, they always release reports on supposed victims of Martial Law, human rights violations, and other allegations that have never once been proven in court.)

This is wrong. In 1995, about 10,000 victims of human rights violations under the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos won a class-action lawsuit filed in Hawaii, where the Marcoses fled after they were ousted from power in 1986. A jury found Marcos responsible for the “torture, murder and disappearances of fellow Filipinos.”

Republic Act (RA) 10368 also mandated the State “to 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” during the Marcos regime from 1972 to 1986.

There were 11,103 victims of human rights violations from the era who were deemed eligible by the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board to receive reparations, charged to the P10 billion “plus accrued interest” from the forfeited Swiss bank accounts of the Marcoses.

(Read more: VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Bongbong Marcos falsely claims martial law horrors fabricated)

A much higher number of human rights victims was recorded in the paper of academic Alfred McCoy, “Dark Legacy: Human Rights under the Marcos Regime”: 3,257 killed, 35,000 tortured and 70,000 incarcerated.

Video carries more false claims

The TikTok video also wrongly claimed that ABS-CBN never reported on other human rights violations, such as the massacres at the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita, and at Mendiola during the term of the late President Corazon Aquino.

The media network actually released several reports on the Hacienda Luisita massacre, where protesting farmers in front of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac were violently dispersed on Nov. 16, 2004, resulting in the deaths of at least 14 people.

ABS-CBN also aired reports on calls for justice related to the bloody dispersal of thousands of farmers who marched to Mendiola in 1987, which killed 13 people.

The video carrying the false claims continues to circulate while Marcos’ son Bongbong, who is running for president in 2022, faced controversy concerning his Oxford education and his convictions in tax evasion cases.

The TikTok video, uploaded on Oct. 15, has over 1.4 million views as of publishing. It was also re-uploaded on Facebook by the pro-Marcos page Sir Kimoto (created Nov. 4, 2019), whose copy has been viewed over 7.1 million times.

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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)