Filipinos to the Marcoses: ‘Never again!’

Imelda Marcos with young Ateneo students flashing the 'V' sign

Imelda Marcos with young Ateneo students flashing the ‘V’ sign

By Ludy Astraquillo Ongkeko, Ph. D.

Thanks to the social media, a very recent photo of ‘Imelda at the Ateneo’ proclaimed volumes.

Four students identified as enrolled at the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), one of the homeland’s leading schools of higher education, joined Imelda Marcos, the other half of the infamous conjugal dictatorship, in full view, displaying a “V” sign.

That “V” sign was one gesture meant to represent victory that had identified and patented the Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law regime that engulfed the Philippines for close to two decades.

Memories of sons of the Ateneo who lost their lives through vehement opposition against that government drew stinging remarks from those who said they would never forget the length and breadth of inhuman punishment meted out to those who dared fight martial law.

It was inevitable that the Imelda photo with the four Ateneans triggered more than harsh comments from the population in the Philippines and Ateneans abroad.

Likewise, it was inevitable that those who have never forgotten what befell their homeland since September 23, 1972 through September 1986 when the people’s revolt ensued, had to be vocal about what they recall as not just infamy, but cruelty to fellow human beings.

Owing to still ‘hurt feelings,’ Jose Ramon Villarin, S.J., the ADMU president, was forced to explain by way of an apology. “I apologize for any doubts that may have arisen on the mission of the school and the pain this event may have caused,” he wrote in a letter responding to the criticisms.

Further word disclosed that Imelda Marcos was among the guests at the Ateneo Scholarship Foundation’s 40th anniversary, and was referred to as a ‘key figure’ on their 1974 fundraising agenda.

Despite the ADMU’s president’s request, isn’t it considerably a vain try to grasp that kind of comprehension from any Filipino who knew the impact of martial law on their country?

How about those whose family members were incarcerated, never to be seen again, all because they gave up their lives for their avowed causes?

Although the university president had expressed his hopes for ‘understanding,’ how about those victims’ families who will never forget, and still feel that pain, one that refuses to go away. Aren’t they still entitled to hold on to their own perceptions?

There were scores of human rights violations, in addition to other atrocities that will never fall into oblivion as related by their kin and close friends who knew of a litany of victims of that era characterized by loss of freedoms.

Gil del Castillo, a longtime resident of Boston, who traces his early education as an Atenean on that same campus said, “I was totally taken by surprise when I read the article regarding the Imelda invitation by the Ateneans.

“A few people had posted on Facebook about the incident and all the comments I read were negative. It seems that money talks. Indeed, I still remember very vividly when I was then in Boston when the Marcoses tried to donate their ‘stolen money’ to Tufts University. The student body initially complained; Tufts had to return the donation, or actually declined it.

“Like many among us, I will always be suspicious of the Marcoses. A few weeks ago, I saw Greggy and Irene Araneta at the Fort (a Bay Area FilAm high-end restaurant); they moved with ease, but in my mind, they should be ashamed.”

This writer believes it was intentional from the Imelda end to portray the “V” sign that their conjugal dictatorship was known to perpetuate.

It’s been more than bruited around that the Marcoses wish to return to Malacanang. Wasn’t that invitation extended to the dictator’s widow, a matter of values?

Despite the ‘age’ of that scholarship tendered decades ago, the role of donors in regard to donations and their ostensible reason behind supposedly moved by ‘charity,’ cannot be ignored.

Didn’t the school’s organizing committee bother to think of the aftermath?

Didn’t the Ateneo organization stop to review what the conjugal dictatorship intentionally inflicted on the country and the psyche of the Filipino?

What if Imelda Marcos herself sought that kind of visibility?

Fast forward to the lesson on the Ateneo campus: The people’s will should remain supreme. No tyrannical dynasties will ever be revived.

Our homeland has come a long, long way since the epoch called ‘martial law’ dragged the country to its lowest ebb.

Weren’t it for the leadership of the United States, the exile of the conjugal dictatorship would not have been a ‘done deal’ against the backdrop of Hawaii.

Should the ambition still be alive among the heirs of martial law about their ‘return,’ the people of the Philippines should continue to fight back.

“Never again” should be their crusade.

Dictator Ferdinand Marcos flashes ‘V’ sign to signify election victory

Dictator Ferdinand Marcos flashes ‘V’ sign to signify election victory


  1. RobDH wrote:

    “Never again” should be their crusade. Yet, as we read this article, the current administration is destroying the country and completely disregarding the constitution. Anyone who objects to the brazen looting of the treasury or the hundreds of people missing, end up in trouble with the government. President Marcos was a great leader and yet a boy scout compared to Aquino.

  2. m wrote:

    the problem is, filipinos have somehow accepted the marco’s family member (including mrs. marcos) to carry on like nothng wrong with this filipino clan and its bad legacy of terror, murders, greed and curruption.

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