Akbayan calls Tolentino’s Senate Committee a “Marcos deodorant”

“A Marcos deodorant.” This was how Akbayan Chair Emeritus Etta Rosales on Tuesday described the Senate Committee on Local Government headed by Senator Francis Tolentino which approved a bill declaring September 11, the birthday of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos, a special non-working holiday in Ilocos Norte. Rosales, who is also a former Akbayan partylist lawmaker, said that amid a pandemic, the committee’s prioritization of the bill is “unconscionable.”

“The committee acted as a Marcos deodorant to hide the awful stench of the dead dictator’s brutal rule, tamper with history and invalidate the people’s struggle against the dictatorship,” Rosales said.

“Pero sa pagpipilit na pabanguhin ang mabaho, dumagdag na rin sila sa baho. Like a cheap deodorant spray, the committee’s approval of a ‘dictator holiday bill’ leaves behind a strong foul odor. It stinks!” Rosales added.

Rosales said that the committee’s approval of the bill is contrary to the spirit of the dissenting opinions issued by members of the Senate in 2006 rejecting proposals to create a non-working holiday in Ilocos Norte for Marcos.

She also said that it is diametrically opposed to the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, which provides reparation and recognizes victims of human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship.

“This is no ordinary bill of local application. This is no harmless local holiday. This bill seeks to repudiate the mandate of the 1986 People Power Uprising, whitewash the atrocities of the Marcos dictatorship and attack our sense of history,” Rosales said.

“We call on the rest of the members of the Senate to reject this measure, the same way it was rejected by their predecessors 14 years ago. The Senate must not allow itself to become a Marcos deodorizer. It must not become a tool of historical revisionism,” Rosales concluded.