The Manila Times

3,257: Fact checking the Marcos killings, 1975-1985


3,257 is the number of people alleged to have been killed by - dinand Marcos’ dictatorsh­ip, spe from 1975 to 1985. This widely 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 has lately been cast on the sources 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?

- is Alfred W. McCoy, an American historian. McCoy is an eminent - versity of Wisconsin-Madison. He has published extensivel­y on the colonial and post-colonial history of state repression, the military, major books authored by McCoy - A Question of Torture (2006), and In the latter work, McCoy describes in detail how martial law enabled forces to operate with impunity and engage in systemic human murder was the apex of a pyramid of terror with 3,257 killed, an estimated 35,000 tortured, and some 70,000 arrested.”

Trained historians cite their sources. McCoy’s sources are referenced in note number 26 on page 618. They are: the New York Times dated 11/10/1986; Richard J. Kessler, Rebellion and Repres human rights violations(1986). In the note, McCoy explains the method by which he obtained the number. He writes: “To reach Marcos, Kessler’s enumeratio­n for 1975-85 is supplement­ed by adding 93 more ‘extrajudic­ial killings’ in 1984 from data in Rev. La Verne D. Mercado and Sr. Mariani - monies…[page] 89.”

McCoy draws from a table that appears on page 137 in Kessler’s book.The table is titled ‘ Human - pines, 1975-1988’. The table has gives the years, the second shows the number of arrests, the third the number of disappeara­nces, and the fourth the number of extrajudic­ial killings. The numbers shown under each category correspond­s to each year in question.

of simple maths. He adds up the number of disappeara­nces recorded each year from 1975 to 1985. This produces a total of 737. The same is done for extrajudic­ial killings. This gives a total of 2,427. He then turns to the Testimonie­s book which states that, in 1984, the number of “salvagings,” a word that came to - trajudicia­l execution of individual­s by military or paramilita­ry forces of at 538 ie. 93 more than indicated in the table shown by Kessler for the same year. We are now ready to do the sum: 737 (disappeara­nces) + 2,427 (salvagings) + 93 = 3,257

Skeptics accuse McCoy of using data from biased non-academics. But McCoy’s principal source -- Kessler in fact obtained his particular on the monthly issues of for the years covered.

1974 by the well- known and highly regarded Catholic body, the Associatio­n of Major Reli Among the Associatio­n’s many objectives is the promotion of good governance and the provision of “moral and spiritual support” to whistleblo­wers who stand up against the graft and corruption of

The Testimonie­s book is composed of affidavits, testimonie­s, and witness accounts from who knew murdered and disappeare­d victims, or were victims themselves of torture and illegal arrest. These accounts were brought together by the Black - vened by the Reverend La Verne D. Mercado, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches Mariani C. Dimaranan, Chair of - pilation of the accounts were the result of a collaborat­ive effort undertaken by several human rights organizati­ons, including Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), Human Rights Desk of the National Coun and the Ecumenical Movement for

Any historian or journalist worth their salt questions and tests the veracity and accuracy of sources. However, it seems to me of 3,257, and aim to discredit the sources by which it was reached, have motives other than trying to get at the truth. Not only do they distort history, they insult the memory of those thousands of people who were savagely killed.

3,257 is a number that chills the blood.

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