Introduction: Storytelling and Academic Study: Toward a Memory of Dictatorship
Ferdinand C. Llanes, Ph.D.

Llanes, Ferdinand C. 2023. “Introduction: Storytelling and Academic Study: Toward a Memory of Dictatorship.” In Ferdinand C. Llanes (ed.), The Marcos Years: The Age of Crisis and Repression, pp. 1-14 (Quezon City: Sandigan para sa Mag-aaral at Sambayanan Alumni Association, Inc. [SAMASA]).

 The aftermath of the 2022 presidential elections may have revealed an inconvenient truth—that a large segment of the population has no memory of martial law from 1972 to 1986, let alone the disastrous record of dictatorial rule and its ill effects on the nation. The national community now faces the challenge of summoning or, perhaps, developing a collective memory of what many historians generally regard as a “dark period” in Philippine history. This was never more pronounced than in the 2022 electoral campaign, which ultimately saw the election of the son of Ferdinand E. Marcos, who declared martial law in 1972 and established a dictatorship that ruled the country for fourteen years, subverting democratic institutions until the dictator was ousted by a People Power uprising in 1986. The ouster was actually the end result of chronic discontent over a deep social and economic crisis and mounting, irreversible, resistance to the regime’s repressive policies that peaked in the mid-’80s.

Fifty years hence, or two generations after, democratic forces opposed to another Marcos rule were stumped in disbelief that the electorate had returned to power the Marcos political estate. But a review of the voters’ demographic profile could reveal that such outcome was perhaps to be expected, a factor on the social landscape that might have been missed in post-electoral analyses. As a matter of fact, months before election day, reality on the ground appeared to be telling a different story to the liberal groups, which expected that the electorate would see through the Marcos tales of a golden past massively churned out in social media, believing, or hoping, that a collective memory of the Marcos record existed. But poll surveys, dismissed by the liberal crowd, quite amazingly affirmed the unmistakable trend in the streets.

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