History has a strange way of repeating itself. In the case of former Philippine President Cory C. Aquino (in office from 1986-1992), the history books seem to treat her horrid activities with a different, almost ignorant perspective. Especially in the area of Human Rights Violations. During the last 30 years. Philippine history has managed to paint a very negative portrait of former President Ferdinand Marcos. His wife Imelda. And in some cases, the family as a whole. Yet a mountain of evidence surrounding the Aquino family, exposes them as a close rival – if not exceeding – the Marcos era, when it comes to violating the people’s rights and welfare. For the sake of argument. Let’s take a simple look at those numbers during the 6 year administration of Mrs Aquino.
From 1986 to 1990, the following occurred:
- 23,424 individuals had been killed.
- 229 Barangays, and 207 Sitios (small villages) were affected by 464 Cases of forced evacuations.
- 20 cases of hamletting, which directly affected 2,306 Individuals and 1,675 Families.
- 23 Cases of Economic and Food Blockades, affecting 8,925 Families and 427 individuals in 36 Barangays in the countryside. Of these families, 4,024 were victimized in 1990 alone.
Interestingly, the regime of Mrs Aquino, in contrast to Mr Marcos, presented an equally shocking picture of human rights abuses. From March 1986 to December 1991, the number of warrantless arrests and detention had reached the rather alarming level of 16,000. Including extra-judicial executions in 1,733 of these cases. Of which 189 occurred in 1990.
Records within the House and Senate, the Human Rights Commission (HRC), and Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFD) reveal in a similar time frame, an additional 335 cases of forced disappearances. And 146 cases of unexplainable killings. All of which took place in a 3 year window, starting in March of 1986. This included the infamous Mendiola massacre, that claimed the lives of 13 farmers who protested against Cory Aquino’s takeover of Hacienda Luisita and her defective Agrarian reform policies. All in broad daylight, in front of the presidential palace’s main gate in Mendiola. Along with the dead, were 39 wounded.
In response to Mendiola, Philippine Human Rights Commissioners JBL Reyes, Jose Diokno, Zenaida Avacena and Mariani Dimaranan all resigned.
Aside from all the above mentioned abuses, Cory had created a series of ghost projects, running into the hundreds of billions of pesos every year. The majority of which had been pocketed by Cory herself, her family, relatives and cronies.
Ironically, at the beginning of her term as President, Cory had stated on record: “I want the Filipino people to suffer, so that they will hate Marcos.”
So what drives the arrogance of Philippine historians, to continually ignore the atrocities of the supposed hero of the revolution. The Asian icon of democracy? On many levels, she is idolized with a near, saint-like status. While President Marcos is treated as evil. Both appear to be running neck and neck in the human rights violations department. It drives one to ask,
“Why does Cory get the free ride. And Marcos continually gets the shit end of the stick?”