May 2, 2022 (9:44 PM)

4 min read

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Liberal democracy has always given premium to the individual in its complete agency in choosing its votes. In that case, it suggests a degree of relativity in the choice of their candidates. Hindering that agency would result to backlash, which shows how much Filipinos care about the right to vote freely.

Votes always have consequences. Voting for one candidate over the other would legitimize a certain ‘truth’. For instance, certain discourses perpetuate the claims of an ‘Aquino truth’ perpetuated in mainstream education thus silencing the truths of the Marcoses. History has always favored the victors rather than the losers, and there is a certain truth in that aspect.

Though, there is also a certain, and even widespread truth in the case of extrajudicial and summary killings and tortures under Marcos’ term. Amnesty International (AI) have reported that there were 107,200 victims of killings, torture and imprisonment under his term. There is also a certain truth to the absence of a ‘golden’ era in the Philippines in the time of Marcos. With external debts reaching up to 28 billion by 1986, and daily wages of workers and peasants as low as 30 pesos, and prices of basic consumer goods tripling according to the Martial Law museum. Until now, the effects of Martial Law have been reflecting on succeeding presidents such as Aquino, Ramos and Arroyo, but blaming has been misdirected to the ones that succeed rather than the roots of it.  

What is really important here is seeing whose truth serves whom. The current narratives of the denial of the experiences of Martial Law victims and the claims of a ‘golden era’, is a Marcosian truth. In the sense that it denies other experiences to be true despite its wide array of claims. It tries to forward a certain Marcosian dream: to restore the ‘New Society’ of industrial and military might united under one ruler and one ideal. With current elections looming and the dictator’s son currently running for president. It’s about time to think: For whom do our truths serve?

Electoral politics in the Philippines has always been the politics of the popular. With popular rhetorics of ruling class candidates about corruption as the sole reason for poverty widespread throughout the Philippine political discourse, while ignoring root problems such as imperialism, bureaucrat-capitalism and feudalism in the country. This is because electoral politics is the politics not for the popular, but those who are popular. It serves the interests of those who are already influential; the ruling class. It is their truth that is legitimated, not the masses.

In that case, for whose truths should we serve? Is it of the ruling class? Or those of the masses? This is not to say that we shouldn’t vote for ruling class candidates, but instead, favor a certain truth; the truth of the masses. The return of a Marcosian regime denies that truth, in the sense that it attempts to deny the lived experiences of certain people. Sure, you yourself may not have experienced the effects of Martial Law. But others do. These are not just yellows nor communists, these are landless peasants, laborers, journalists, students, lawyers, activists and indigenous peoples, denied of their own realities and sufferings.  A return of a Marcosian regime would take away the ‘historical relativity’ we always have been fighting for in favor for a monolithic truth. Favoring a Marcosian regime is not a selfish vote, it is a selfless one. One gives up their truths in favor of the truths of the already powerful ruling class. The right to vote and the ability to express one’s opinion is evidently one of the Filipino’s most precious rights, thus a resistance for a Marcosian truth is not a selfless act, but a selfish one with the Filipino masses in mind. 

The article was previously published in the Election Issue 2022 of Atenews. Read it here: tinyurl.com/AtenewsElex2022


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