House of Representatives

‘Colossal desecration of PH history’: Lawmakers, youth groups slam Marcos Day bill

Mara Cepeda

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

‘Colossal desecration of  PH history’: Lawmakers, youth groups slam Marcos Day bill
'The birthday of one who has arrogated and abused power, defiled human rights, and betrayed the people's trust must not be celebrated by a legislated holiday,' says Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman

Saying a “plunderer and murderer” does not deserve such honor, lawmakers and youth groups blasted the passage of a House bill that declares an Ilocos Norte holiday on the birthday of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos

Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman, who is among the 9 legislators who voted no to House Bill (HB) No. 7137, said the birth anniversary of a dictator who plundered the nation’s coffers and under whose term thousands were tortured and killed, should not be celebrated. 

“In the same manner that the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos is not truly entitled to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani because of the gross repressions and corruption during the Marcos martial law regime, he does not also deserve a ‘President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos Day’ as proposed in House Bill No. 7137,” Lagman said in his explanation for his no vote on Wednesday, September 2. 

“The birthday of one who has arrogated and abused power, defiled human rights, and betrayed the people’s trust must not be celebrated by a legislated holiday,” he added. 

HB 7137 wants to declare September 11 –  Marcos’ birthday – as a non-working holiday in his home province, Ilocos Norte. The House approved the bill on final reading with a vote of 197-9-1 on Wednesday.

Lagman’s younger brother, activist and lawyer Hermon Lagman, was among those who had been forcibly disappeared during Martial Law.

Lagman was also among the petitioners against Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in 2016. The Supreme Court, however, allowed a heroes’ burial for Marcos.

Bayan Muna Representative Eufemia Cullamat also voted no to the Marcos Day bill. 

“Anong klaseng pag-iisip nito na dapat kailangan ipagdiwang ang isang magnanakaw ng kaban ng bayan at mamamatay-tao? Ito ay napakalaking kalapastangan ng ating kasaysayan,” the Lumad congresswoman said in a statement. 

(What kind of thinking is this – to have to celebrate a thief who plundered the nation’s coffers, and a murderer? This is a colossal desecration of our history.)

“Hindi nito nirerespeto ang hatol ng kasaysayan at ang mga biktima ng Martial Law ni Marcos. Hindi kailanman makakalimutan ng taongbayan ang ginawang kahayupan at kalapastangan ng panahon ni Marcos,” Cullamat added. 

(This disrespects history’s judgment and the victims of Marcos’ Martial Law. The people will never forget the atrocities and abuses of the Marcos regime.)

Martial Law under Marcos is considered to be the darkest years of post-colonial Philippines, with Amnesty International estimating that about 70,000 people were imprisoned, 34,000 tortured, and 3,240 killed when the dictator was in power. 

The Marcoses also stole billions from Filipino taxpayers, with various estimates pegging the amount between $5 billion to $10 billion.  (READ: [ANALYSIS] Just how bad was corruption during the Marcos years?)

Still not a hero

Youth groups also slammed the passage of the Marcos Day bill at the House, reminding lawmakers that student activists were among those killed under the Marcos regime.

“Tila nakalimutan na ng [197] na kongresistang pumanig sa panukalang batas na ito ang daang-daang tao na pinatay, inaresto, pinahirapan, at naging desaparecidos noong panahon ng Martial Law,” Kabataan Partylist said on Thursday, September 3. 

(It seems the [197] legislators who sided with this bill have forgotten the hundreds of people who were arrested, tortured, and who became desaparecidos during Martial Law.)

“Walang pagsidlan ang galit ng mga kabataan sa pagsampal ng ating Kongreso sa alaala ng mga mamamayang nasawi noong panahon ng pamamasista ng diktadurang Marcos; mga kabataang makabayan na nagbuwis ng buhay,” Kabataan added.

(The youth is boiling with anger at Congress for dishonoring the memory of our countrymen who died during the Marcos dictatorship; patriotic youth who lost their lives.)

Among of those who suffered at that time were student activists at the forefront of the anti-Marcos movement, idealistic young leaders like Liliosa Hilao, Archimedes Trajano, and Edgar Jopson.

The youth arm of the once-ruling Liberal Party (LP) also condemned the bill.

“Walang batas ang makakapagpabango sa pangalan ng isang diktador. Walang araw ang dapat na ialay para sa isang taong nilubog ang ating bayan sa lusak, inabuso ang kapangyarihan para tapakan ang ating mga karapatang pantao, at ninakawan tayo ng bilyun-bilyon kaya tayo naghihirap ngayon,” LP Youth said.

(No law can ever deodorize the name of a dictator. No day ever should be dedicated to a person who sank our country in muck, abused his power to trample on our human rights, and stole billions from us. This is why we are still suffering today.)

“Walang bayaning perpekto, pero kailanman, hindi magiging bayani ang isang diktador, magnanakaw at mamamatay tao (No hero is perfect, but a dictator, thief, and murderer will never be a hero),” they added. 

Marcos’ staunchest critic was the late senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr, an LP stalwart. Aquino’s assassination on August 21, 1983, sparked events that eventually led to the 1986 People Power Revolution that ousted Marcos, who was succeeded by Aquino’s widow, Corazon Aquino.

But years later, the Marcos clan successfully returned to politics, holding key posts in the so-called Solid North and still enjoying the support of Marcos loyalists nationwide. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!
Clothing, Apparel, Person


Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at or tweet @maracepeda.