In the Philippines a significant number of TJ initiatives have been developed to deal with intersecting and complex legacies of violence, including colonial injustices, Marcos’ martial law, the Bangsamoro conflict, and Duterte’s war on drugs. This has given rise to a densely populated TJ landscape, with some – formal and informal – initiatives that are highly innovative and context-sensitive and that cover various periods and regions, from judicial processes and truth-seeking to reparations and various measures of non-recurrence and memorialization. In spite of this, the country has veered towards authoritarian rule since 2016, and elected Marcos’ son, Bongbong Marcos, as president in 2022. This raises questions about why these TJ initiatives, have not led to the aspired result of consolidating democracy, creating an authoritative historical narrative, or cementing rule of law and respect for human rights. I argue in this paper, that the lack of attention for these mechanisms’ expressive function explains at least part of why they have not had the aspired impact. Reflecting on this more critically is a crucial task ahead for those transitional justice initiatives that are still being developed and implemented today to deal with these entrenched legacies of violence – in the Philippines and beyond.
July 10, 2023
Organized by International Association of Genocide Scholars