3,257 is the number of people alleged to have been killed by the military during President Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship, specifically over the ten-year period from 1975 to 1985. This widely quoted figure is frequently cited to support the argument that the military under Marcos was guilty of committing gross human rights violations, and that terror and brutality distinguished martial rule. With the return to political prominence of key members of the dictator’s family, especially his son, Ferdinand ‘Bong Bong’ Marcos, who is currently seeking the vice-presidency, the accuracy of the 3,257 figure is now being fiercely disputed. Serious doubt has lately been cast on the sources of the figure while, more generally, the data on torture, killings and disappearances are denounced as fabricated or exaggerated.

How was this number reached and just how credible are the sources?

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