The truths about mar­tial law

The Philippine Star - - OPINION - Email: el­fren­ ELFREN S. CRUZ

There seems to be an on­go­ing cam­paign to re­vise the truths about the Mar­cos mar­tial law 35 years af­ter its dec­la­ra­tion. There are even those who are jus­ti­fy­ing the hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions dur­ing that era. There is a clear need to tell the truths about the wide­spread abuses dur­ing the mar­tial law regime; and, how it turned the Philip­pines from the sec­ond rich­est coun­try in Asia – next to Ja­pan – at the be­gin­ning of the Mar­cos rule into the eco­nomic “sick man” of Asia by the time Mar­cos was forced to step down.

No peo­ple should for­get their his­tory so that the griev­ous mis­takes of the past will never be re­peated again. The mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion never truly ex­pe­ri­enced the hor­rors of mar­tial law; and, it is very im­por­tant for them to know the truths about mar­tial law. The best way is to read the books and sto­ries writ­ten by cred­i­ble wit­nesses. MAR­TIAL LAW IN THE PHILIP­PINES: MY STORY by Aquilino Pi­mentel Jr. 2006 pub­lished by Lor­raine Pi­mentel Borghis and Ca­cho Pub­lish­ing House.

Aquilino “Nene” Pi­mentel writes pri­mar­ily about the ex­pe­ri­ences that he and his fam­ily un­der­went dur­ing the mar­tial law regime. Nene posits the view that mar­tial law was a gross crim­i­nal act that Mar­cos and his col­lab­o­ra­tors per­pe­trated upon the peo­ple. Also, he de­tails how Mar­cos by means of ca­jol­ery, bribery and threats laid its [ mar­tial law] foun­da­tions in the 1973 Con­sti­tu­tion with the in­dis­pens­able as­sis­tance of his lieu­tenants in the 1971 con­sti­tu­tional con­ven­tion.

Pi­mentel, soon af­ter mar­tial law, was jailed in Camp Crame which was the first of his four ar­rests dur­ing mar­tial rule. Cit­ing per­ti­nent doc­u­ments, he de­scribes how some de­tainees in the mar­tial law de­ten­tion cen­ters were tor­tured and who the tor­tur­ers were. Nene was the founder of the Pilipino Demo­cratic Party (PDP) and be­came the found­ing pres­i­dent of the co­a­lesced na­tional party PDP-LA­BAN.

A PEN FOR DEMOC­RACY by Raul S. Mangla­pus pub­lished by the Move­ment for a Free Philip­pines.

The book’s pub­li­ca­tion is a story by it­self. This is a col­lec­tion of ar­ti­cles, speeches, let­ters and in­ter­views by for­mer Se­na­tor Mangla­pus dur­ing his decade of ex­ile dur­ing the Mar­cos mar­tial law regime. The first edi­tion of the book was pub­lished in Wash­ing­ton D.C. when Mar­cos was still in power. In 1984, the films of its pages were mailed for print­ing in the Philip­pines but were con­fis­cated in the Sta. Mesa Post Of­fice and held by the Post­mas­ter Gen­eral on the ground that they con­tained “... mat­ters ad­vo­cat­ing or in­cit­ing trea­son, re­bel­lion, in­sur­rec­tion or sedi­tion against the gov­ern­ment of the Philip­pines.” The sec­ond edi­tion was printed in the Philip­pines af­ter the Peo­ple Power top­pled the dic­ta­tor­ship.

Among the many dif­fer­ent ar­ti­cles and chap­ters in the book are Philip­pine Mar­tial law: The Truth and Fic­tion, Dic­ta­tors and Myths, Hu­man Rights are not a Western Dis­cov­ery, and Sub­si­dized Tyranny.

THE HAPPY LIFE OF SIN by Sid T. Mari­nay 2002 pub­lished by Reyes Pub­lish­ing, Inc. for Catholic Book Cen­ter.

This book is a bi­og­ra­phy of Jaime Car­di­nal L. Sin, Arch­bishop of Manila and a Car­di­nal of the Ro­man Catholic Church. In the In­tro­duc­tion to the book, Bishop Socrates Vil­le­gas wrote:

“When at the age of 44, Jaime Car­di­nal L. Sin was ap­pointed the 33rd Arch­bishop of Manila, largest arch­dio­cese in the Philip­pines, it was just two years af­ter Mar­cos de­clared Mar­tial Law in 1972. In that dark cloud of fear and re­pres­sion, Filipino Catholics saw in the youth­ful and en­er­getic Arch­bishop... a sign of hope. And as he had in­ti­mated in his ut­ter­ance and ac­tion that he was com­mit­ted to the truth, to free­dom, jus­tice and peace.

He tested the re­solve of Mar­cos and his ad­min­is­tra­tion as he con­stantly is­sued pas­toral state­ments and let­ters against hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions, il­le­gal de­ten­tions of po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers, cur­tail­ment of lib­er­ties and con­tin­ued graft and cor­rup­tion in gov­ern­ment.”

In Chap­ter Nine: Politico Prelate Show­down, the book writes about Car­di­nal Sin’s re­sponse to the: “...tor­ture, killing, con­trol of me­dia, bla­tant lies, pornog­ra­phy es­poused by Imelda, dis­tor­tions of re­ports, rule of ter­ror and fear, sup­pres­sion of free­dom of press and speech, the abuses in all forms, all the means avail­able in the des­per­ate at­tempt to cling to power, and all the na­tional de­ci­sions done by peo­ple un­der the in­flu­ence of in­tox­i­cat­ing power went on for years.”


AGAIN: A Brief His­tory of Tor­ture and Atroc­ity Un­der the New So­ci­ety by Raissa Robles 2016 pub­lished by Filipinos for a Bet­ter Philip­pines Inc.

This is a must read­ing for those who want to learn the truths about the Mar­cos mar­tial law regime. The au­thor has ded­i­cated her book: “For all the hu­man rights vic­tims of the Mar­cos dic­ta­tor­ship whose sac­ri­fice we are build­ing on to­day. And for the un­born gen­er­a­tions who might be asked one day to make the same sac­ri­fice.”

In the fore­word, Rene Saguisag writes: “Raissa’s mag­num opus cites cer­tain of the worst cases of Mar­tial Law hu­man rights abuses...Bong­bong Mar­cos asks, what hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions dur­ing my par­ents’ watch? This ed­i­fy­ing vol­ume an­swers the fool­ish ques­tion. Learn more about ter­ror of 1972-1986 from this mag­num opus. Raissa write on. Reader, read on, this ex­cel­lent de­po­si­tion for his­tory.”

THE AQUINO LEGACY: AN EN­DUR­ING NAR­RA­TIVE by Elfren Si­cangco Cruz and Neni Sta. Ro­mana Cruz 2015 pub­lished by Im­print Pub­lish­ing.

The book is a col­lec­tion of es­says. The co-au­thor, Neni Sta. Ro­man Cruz wrote in the pref­ace: “this [book] has greater rel­e­vance to­day as the dark pe­riod of mar­tial law is be­ing dis­missed and glossed over as an epoch that must now be for­got­ten...The mil­len­nial gen­er­a­tion must never for­get the de­plorable and un­la­mented years of mar­tial law. This gen­er­a­tion must never al­low these to hap­pen again if it truly val­ues the mean­ing of democ­racy.” Cre­ative writ­ing classes for kids and teens

Young Writ­ers’ Han­gout for Kids & Teens on Septem­ber 23, Oc­to­ber 7 and Oc­to­ber 21 (1:30-3pm/in­de­pen­dent ses­sions). All ses­sions are at Fully Booked Boni­fa­cio High Street. For reg­is­tra­tion and fee de­tails text 0917-6240196 or email

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