The great war hero, Winston Churchill, posited that history is told by the victors. Well, the said quote is attributed to Churchill but a quick look at the internet will yield that the said phrase is also credited to Walter Benjamin and George Orwell. Notwithstanding, Dan Brown shared the same view in his “Da Vinci Code” when he wrote, “History is always written by the winners.” He explained further that, “When two cultures clash, the loser is obliterated, and the winner writes the history books-books which glorify their own cause and disparage the conquered foe.”
If we go by the logic that history is told from the point of view of the winners, then does it not follow that history can be rewritten in a manner contrary to its present form when the former losers, by some stroke of luck, come to power and be the new winners? Such may be what we are experiencing now.
In 1986, throngs upon throngs of people went out to the streets of EDSA to topple the dictator that was Ferdinand E. Marcos, who at that time, was the most hated man as much as the dictators Duvalier and Idi Amin were detested in their respective countries. We were angered by his wife’s incessant lust for luxury and scandalized with the discovery of her uncountable shoes and golden faucets and other amenities in the palace while the people lived in abject poverty. Truly, Filipinos were fed up with a president who, albeit being a brilliant lawyer and an eloquent speaker, had used these same qualities to amass great wealth at the expense of the Filipino people. We were fed up and clamored for change that would prove to be useless. That until, Ted Koppel, in a live interview with Marcos on national television, dared him to hold an election to prove to the world that he still has the mandate of the Filipino people. Marcos took the bait and declared that there shall be a snap election. With all the power resting on his hands, he cheated and won, defeating his nemesis’ wife, Cory, by a huge margin. He would have continued his reign until Enrile, fearing for his life, went to Camp Crame seeking refuge there and ultimately joined by Gen. Ramos. There, he talked to the Filipino people saying how Marcos had cheated in his bid for re-election in the 60’s and the latest snap elections. He also exposed the other “sins” of the dictator. Cardinal Sin, supporting the two, called on the people to march the streets of EDSA and the rest, as they say, is history.
The immense number of people who flocked the streets were the true victors at the time. Stories of their experiences abound and Filipinos were glorified with the true democratic exercise of ousting a strongman who had ruled the country for such a long time. We saw a new hero in the person of Ninoy Aquino who opposed the wishes of a dictator which caused him his life on the tarmac that ill-fated day of August. History could have been written from this vantage point. However, the Aquinos, after having two presidents from the family, (wife and son, his namesake), and a number of senators and other government officials from among their blood relations, failed to secure that Ferdinand Marcos shall always be the villain in our history. They had been complacent that the thousands upon thousands of Filipinos who gathered in EDSA, dubbed as People’s Power, was secured in the annals of our story as a nation that did not bother to write the events in history books taught in school.
Thirty years later, basically from the gross inefficiency of the inheritors of EDSA and whose governance were plagued with corruption and wanton negligence, now President Duterte won the hearts of the masses. While he swore, among his favorite expletives, that he wouldn’t succumb to patronage politics, his appointees to government positions would show otherwise. He unabashedly declares his indebtedness to the Marcoses for having helped him during his campaign for the Presidency. Allowing Marcos to be buried in the Libingan ng Mga Bayani, is a proof that history is about to be rewritten. This is a reality specially in this age of paid trolls lurking in every nook and cranny of our very homes invading the Internet via Facebook, Twitter and other social media.