OMBUDSMAN Conchita Carpio Morales on Friday criticized “historical revisionism” as she spoke of “trying times” in a speech before alumni of the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Law.
The Ombudsman, who earned her bachelor of laws at the state university in 1968, cited Lord Acton who said those who could not remember history were condemned to repeat it.
“As it turns out nowadays, those who could not remember history have the tendency to write a new one. Much worse, there are a lot of people who simply do not want to read their history,” Morales said in her speech in Makati.
“This alarming attitude is appalling, to say the least, which opens a large portion of society vulnerable to a revisionist-distortionist proclivity. It is an affront to our collective consciousness as a nation, aside from adding insult to injury to the entire citizenry as collective victims of the kleptocratic act of stashing ill-gotten wealth as judicially ascertained,” she added.
When asked if she was condemning the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the Ombudsman told reporters: “I was just echoing what was stated [in]the newspapers and I was quoting from the decision of the Supreme Court which says that there was a regime of kleptocracy.”
Morales, who was a Supreme Court justice before being appointed Ombudsman in 2011, declined to answer when asked to comment on the court decision that allowed Marcos’ burial at the heroes’ cemetery in Taguig.
During her speech, the Ombudsman also derided the “post-truth” era, where she said emotional appeal was more influential than objective fact in shaping public opinion.
“A big part of the population would rather believe and share fake news sites and echo the baseless assertions of dubious bloggers and flamebaiters. They no longer care to verify the veracity of these allegations. When supposed ‘truths’ about martial law and the purported ‘progress’ that the Philippines enjoyed during the regime are considered more fact than fiction, then we see a transformation of our values as a people,” Morales said.
People should be bothered when leaders could not discern what is right and wrong, she said.
“Back to basics. Thou shall not steal. Thou shall not kill. When leaders seem to send the message of promoting rather than condemning reprehensible acts that transgress basic human rights, the people ought to be concerned about it, rather than cheering for it either out of sheer ignorance, callous conscience, blind loyalty or gorgonized fanaticism,” the ombudsman said.
Sought for comment, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, also a UP law alumnus, said he could not understand why people were clashing over Marcos’ burial.
“She (Morales) seems to tell us that there is an attempt to rewrite history because from her point of view — although she didn’t say it — the burying of the former late President Marcos would be making him a hero and that would be a revision of history. But the problem there is that you are making the act of burying a person in a particular burial site as a basis for being a hero,” Panelo told reporters.
“The view or the outlook or the perception of the viewer of the person being buried would be the determining factor in considering whether one is a hero or not,” Panelo said.