‘Don’t celebrate, but never forget Martial Law’

THEY’RE NOT FORGOTTEN Students light candles in remembrance of the thousands who were tortured and killed in front of the martial law marker in Manila on the eve of the 44th anniversary of the declaration of martial law on Tuesday. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN   BY

THEY’RE NOT FORGOTTEN Students light candles in remembrance of the thousands who were tortured and killed in front of the martial law marker in Manila on the eve of the 44th anniversary of the declaration of martial law on Tuesday. PHOTO BY RENE H. DILAN

IT HAS been 44 years since the declaration of Martial Law, but Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman still remembers September 21, 1972 and the atrocities that followed.

Lagman, whose brother Hermon disappeared during martial rule and was never found, said the anniversary of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos’ Proclamation 1081 should not be celebrated.

But it should not be forgotten, either.

“We mark this date so that we will be reminded of the atrocities and plunder during Martial Law. This should never happen again,” Lagman said in an interview.

Records from the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines showed there were 6,295 unwarranted arrests toward the end of 1972 alone. This increased to 29,500 at the end of 1973 and 92,607 by the end of the Marcos regime in 1986.

The group also listed 5,531 cases of torture, 2,537 summary executions and 783 involuntary disappearances.

A September 1992 Hawaii Federal District Court decision ruled that Marcos was liable for human rights violations and the Marcos estate liable for damages, awarding $1.2 billion to human rights claimants on February 23, 1994.

On January 18, 1995, the jury of the same court awarded $755.4 million in compensatory damages, validating 9,074 claims.

Fight goes on
The fight goes on for the Lagman who is one of the petitioners against the Duterte administration’s plan to bury Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery).

“We should not embark on a revisionist policy and changing our history,” Lagman said.

The scheduled burial of Marcos on September 18 did not push through because the petitions filed by Lagman and other Martial Law victims, such as former representatives Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna and Etta Rosales of Akbayan, prompted the Supreme Court to issue a 20-day status quo ante order in August, which was extended until October 18.

In a forum at the University on Santo Tomas last September 19, Colmenares said Marcos’ burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani would be unconstitutional.

“The Supreme Court, Congress and the Executive branch have declared public policy that Marcos was, first, a dictator; second, corrupt; third, a human rights violator,” he said in Filipino.

Duterte had authorized Marcos’ burial at the Libingan, citing regulations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines that allow former soldiers and presidents to be buried in the national cemetery.

Colmenares, a Martial Law victim, used Republic Act (RA) 289 as a counter-argument.

Section 1 of the RA 289 reads: “To perpetuate the memory of all the Presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and patriots for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generations still unborn, there shall be constructed a National Pantheon which shall be the burial place of their mortal remains.”

“Is he worthy of emulation and a source of inspiration?” he asked.

Zenaida Mique, also a Martial Law victim, recounted the abuses committed against her during the Marcos regime.

Mique, a grassroots organizer in the Ilocos region, was arbitrarily arrested in 1979 and detained at Camp Diego Silang in San Fernando, La Union until 1981.

“It’s not just an insult. It’s like rubbing salt on the wound. That’s how painful our experience is now, with the plan to bury Marcos at Libingan ng mga Bayani,” said Mique in Filipino.

No amount of money will ever be enough to compensate for the abuses done to Martial Law victims, Mique added.

UST History Department Chairman Augusto de Viana warned of young people who idolize Marcos, saying they downplay the dictatorship and erase it from history.

“The danger now is that the youth of today, they idolize people like Marcos and the collective memory about him is being erased,” de Viana said.

Claims unreleased
In a statement Tuesday, the “Marcos Presidential Center” claimed the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board formed by Republic Act 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, signed by President Benigno Aquino 3rd, had yet to release money to Martial Law victims.

The board has P10 billion in funding to compensate 75,730 victims, but has yet to finish processing claims, it said.

“Meanwhile, members of the board continue to get big salaries. And they will even build a P50-million Martial Law museum,” the center said in Filipino.

“It’s clear the Martial Law claimants are being used by heartless people to plant or spread hate in the minds and hearts of citizens, to keep open the wounds inflicted by Martial Law,” it added.



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  1. One sided journalism is equal to Matial Law. GOD knows what you are doing when no one is looking. Do not be a tool for these oligarchs. Be a true journalist for the people.

  2. Yeah I remember those glory days for this country. And not the one-sided history these rebel terrorists want to tech our children of today. They fought for thei so called democracy by bringing-in those bombing and bloody protests just to put the country under communism.

    If not for Marcos, we would be a communist state with much more supressed freedom.

    History is written by the victors! That time it was the Yellowtards with the help of America to oust Marcos. And you say it was by the people for the people? And yes, it was for the few people that were jelous of the Marcos wealth.

    After assuming power, then so called democracy lady as branded by the west started selling all government properties and corporations, which keeps the Philippine economy alive, to all her relatives succumbing the country into hardship and poverty. Then blaming all to Marcos. Very nice history.

    We will always remember those years where most of the infrastructures made throughout the Philippines stands today and we use today making every Filipino hypocrites decrying Marcos in persecuting the rebellious people but still using all his acheivements in infrastructure throughout the land.

    Now those dark days after Marcos is now over for rest of use Filipinos. Let us unite and trample over these power grabbers who infested the land with drugs and made the common people slaves to other countries as OFWs.

    Never Again to these Democratic Hypocrites and their Corporate Media Presstitutes that blasts us with lies like they are from the word of GOD.

    Why did we ever beleive these presstitutes anyway? They were never for the people by the people. All Corporate Medias are funded thru ads by their co-corporate entities to bring in their agenda to enslave the world.

    We have now awaken.

  3. They wanted and in fact acted as agents to bring down the government and they wanted that the government would have welcomed them with open arms. Should you have expected death when you pump your arms in the sky and supported or even took up arms to bring down a legitimate government? The victims are communists, who wants this country to become communist? The writers probably like it. I suggest you guys to emigrate to China!