Human rights abuses under Cory as bad as dictator’s record – Marcos critics’ own data

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That conclusion is based on statistics on human rights abuses during the Ferdinand Marcos and Corazon Aquino regimes, presented in Richard Kessler’s book Rebellion and Repression in the Philippines (1989: Yale University).

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Ironically, Kessler’s statistics have been the basis of historian Alfred McCoy’s repeated claims that the human rights abuses during the Marcos regime were worse than those in the infamous Latin American dictatorships, since, as he wrote, “Marcos’ tally of 3,257 killed exceeds those under the Brazilian and Chilean dictatorships.” That 3,257 number has become the most-used figure to allege  the ruthlessness of the Marcos rule.

Even that attention-hungry blogger recently turned cut-and-paste writer was also referring to McCoy’s figures when she arrogantly asked Bongbong Marcos to apologize for “the 3,257 murders during his father’s regime.”

What these Marcos critics didn’t bother to examine was Kessler’s data, on which McCoy almost completely relied for his report.

Quite ironically, Kessler presented such statistics in his book published in 1989, in order to point out that human rights abuses had not at all subsided even when Cory Aquino assumed power until 1988, the last year for which data was available.

“International groups, such as Amnesty International and the Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights, issued reports in 1988 that suggested that the human rights situation (under the Aquino regime) was at least as bad as it had been under Marcos” (emphasis mine). As table 5.1 indicates, human rights violations – always a problem in the Philippines – did not cease with democracy’s return.” (p. 136).

Mendiola massacre of January 1987: Shouldn’t Aquino apologize for this?

Mendiola massacre of January 1987: Shouldn’t Aquino apologize for this?

Demonstrating either their bias or an utter lack of real academic rigor, McCoy and his most avid fan in this newspaper, someone with a PhD to boot, did not even mention that Kessler presented his data mainly to show that human rights violations continued under Cory. The table (5.1) in this column, scanned directly from the book, shows the following, unedited except for the arrows to emphasize that the data involves the Marcos and Aquino regimes:
hr20160418The figures, indeed, show that human rights abuses continued under Cory Aquino. The 7,444 arrests in 1987 were even the highest in the 14-year period. Extrajudicial killings continued.

These academics’ partisanship and betrayal of their discipline is demonstrated, though, by the fact that they merely added all the cases during Martial Law. The number of disappearances and extrajudicial killings, therefore, from 1975 to 1985 totaled 3,164.

Again showing his anti-Marcos’ bias, McCoy obviously thought this figure was low, so he looked for another source claiming a bigger number. This was provided in another book by known leftists Rev. Verne Mercado and Mariani Dimaranan – showing 93 more. Not explaining why he chose this higher figure, McCoy came up with that now infamous figure of 3,257 people killed under the Marcos regime.

But this figure means nothing if not compared with anything else. Kessler, in fact, presented his data for comparison with the first three years under Aquino, which I summarize in the following table:
abuses20160418

We would just be making an inane apples-and-oranges comparison if we just looked at the totals, since these do not take into account the fact that the Marcos cases span 11 years against Cory’s three.

To evaluate how bad the human rights situation really was during the comparative regimes, the average per year should be taken for the years under Marcos and those under Aquino.

The figures are shocking.

There were three times more arrests per year under Cory than under Marcos: 3,627 against 1,960. The average of those killed and disappeared during Cory’s watch was 244 annually, which isn’t too far from Marcos’ 296.

Now, as they want Marcos Jr. to apologize for the human rights abuses under his father’s government, shouldn’t they ask President Benigno Aquino 3rd and his sisters to apologize for those during their mother’s time?

This is, in fact, the reason why Kessler presented his statistics, to show that human rights violations continued under Cory, and may have even worsened. In fact, before he presented his “dry” statistics, Kessler gave vivid examples of human rights abuses under Cory:

“In April 1987 a member of the United Farmers’ Organization was kidnapped by a local vigilante in Cebu City, her body, with her head and leg hacked off, was recovered over a week later. In May, a thirty-year-old woman, eight months pregnant, and another young woman, disappeared. Their bodies were later discovered, headless and stabbed multiple times. That pregnant woman’s abdomen had been slashed open and the fetus ripped out. One day in June, a farmer hoeing his field in Negros was attacked by several vigilantes, who accused him of being a Communist rebel. He was decapitated and disemboweled. They took the head of the local military commander who told them that the man was innocent. The head was abandoned in a ditch, to be recovered later by the man’s wife.” (Kessler, page 136)

As that blogger melodramatically claimed she cried as she cut and pasted reports of human rights abuses under Marcos, I hope she also shed a tear or two for such horrible killings under Aquino.

Vigilantism, which Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte is espousing, is really a main cause of human rights abuses under any government. As Kessler explained in 1989, observing the first three years after Marcos fell:

“Vigilante groups had sprung up all over the country with the tact or direct support of the military and the government during 1987 after a year of relative calm in the insurgency. In Mindanao were the Alsa Masa in Davao City, the Eagle’s Squad, the United People for Peace; in Negros, the Philippine Constabulary Forward Command; and in Cebu, the Tadtad and the Citizens’ Army against Communism; even in Manila, the police began giving weapons’ training to civilians forming neighborhood patrols.”

Kessler concluded of the Cory Aquino regime: “The government appeared powerless to restore the rule of law.” And yet Duterte, 30 years later, espouses the opposite, to discard the rule of law?

It is sad that a Filipino academic gets to be so gullible over McCoy’s allegation that she would even go as far as accuse those who question such figures (like me) that they “insult the memory of those thousands who were savagely killed.” Such attribution of motives to seekers of truth is so blatantly unacademic, that somebody should find out if she really has a PhD.

Postcript

Kessler is also a bit intellectually dishonest in that he claimed that the source of his table was the “Task Force Detainees-Philippines, Philippine Human Rights Update (Manila, monthly issues for the periods covered.)” This isn’t accurate, as exactly the same table had come out in TFD’s publications. This means that it wasn’t Kessler who compiled the data for that table by poring over the TFD’s monthly “Human Rights Updates.” He simply copied the summaries provided by the TFD, and assumed the group was objective in its reports.

This is the bigger problem in estimating the real extent of human rights abuses during the Marcos era. There is no way now really to determine if the TFD’s data, its sums for each year, are accurate and objective. This is because TFD wasn’t an objective observer. During Martial Law it was totally controlled by underground cadres of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). Communist activists released from prison routinely manned its offices before they went underground again in the 1980s. Trust me, I was a cadre at that time. Because  Filipinos are rabidly anti-communist (thanks to the US), a  major way — the only way in the case of the middle classes —  for the Communist Party to get them as allies was to portray Marcos’ regime as so ruthless and evil,  which everyone should fight against.

That purported academic  should have at least browed TFD publications that echo faithfully Communist Party statements.  These almost always  refers to government as the “US-Aquino regime,” which is the formulaic term the communists and only the communists use to refer to an administration. (Then “Aquino” is substituted for “Estrada,” and then “Arroyo”).

For that purported academic to claim that the TFD is a “highly regarded Catholic body” espousing good governance, again shows how bad her critical and research skills are.

“3,257 is a number that chills the blood,” that purported academic wrote. I think it also froze her brain cells dead.

tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com

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39 Comments

  1. We have only one vote to count, so vote wisely the right one the one who’s in heart and mind is to lift up the Philippine and its people. Let’s UNITE
    MDS for presidenciable is the only candidate with good record and performance the only qualified. BBM for VP good in action his performance can not be compare to other candidates. His moral values is intact and in place.
    This coming election let us hope and pray that God will give us a Good Leader on his image. God Bless the Philippines and its People.

  2. Sir, what can you say about the money that was stolen from the Filipino people? If it were true and more than 20% of our annual budget goes into debt servicing, it could be the worst crime possibly committed by the Marcoses. Is this also a lie?

    • Thank you very much for asking the question: During the 20 year term of Ferdinand Marcos as the President of the Philippines His Budget was a little bit less than half a Trillion pesos. His concrete accomplishment which the Filipino enjoy today is enormous and cannot be questioned. The Budget of Cory Aquino during her 6 year term is more than 1 Trillion Pesos without any concrete accomplishment. Fidel Ramos Budget in his 6 year term is 2 Trillion Pesos. Pnoy budget for his unfinished term of 6 years is multi Trillion Pesos without concrete accomplishment. And utang ng mga Filipino noong panahon ni Marcos is more than 2 Trillion Pesos, ngayon sa panahon ni Pnoy ginawa niyang 6.4 Trillion Pesos ang utang natin, saan kaya napunta ang mga trilliones na mga iayan. Ngayon, ako naman ang magtatanong: sino ngayon sa kanila ang magnanakaw?

    • stolen? how was stolen? pinaniniwalaan lahat kasi ng mga historian distortionist. nag file sa korte against ill gotten wealth daw ni Marcos talo naman. ibig sabihin hindi kapapaniwala ang charges.

    • Hi! I hope you can take time to read more so you can widen your perspective. Here are some facts that shouldn’t be left out:

      1. Foreign debt rose from $360 million in 1962 to $28.3 billion in 1986 under Marcos. Cory ended her term with $33.2 billion foreign debt (source: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/DT.DOD.DECT.CD?page=5)

      2. The Philippine government has recovered $4 billion of Marcos’ assets. The most recent achievement was in 2003, when the Swiss government returned $685 million of Marcos’ hidden deposits.
      (source: http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/hidden-bank-deposits_political-will-guides-marcos-case-in-philippines/41367100)

      3. Imelda has essentially admitted to plunder and cronyism by planning to sue Lucio Tan an Danding Cojuangco, among others, for not returning to her family what Ferdinand Marcos had temporarily entrusted to them.
      (source: http://cpcabrisbane.org/Kasama/1999/V13n2/Imelda1.htm and http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/641277/regime-of-marcoses-cronies-kleptocracy)

  3. Vina Lanzona Ph.D. – Born and raised in Manila, Philippines, I’m considered a “Martial Law Baby,” having grown up under Martial Law. And then as a student at the Ateneo de Manila University, I was part of our People Power Revolution! After college, I worked briefly for the Aquino government, then came to the United States to pursue graduate studies, completing an M.A. in Historical Studies at the New School for Social Research in New York, and a Ph.D. in Southeast Asian History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I spent most of my twenties living in New York, eventually moving to Honolulu to join the faculty at the University of Hawai’i. My first book was inspired by my twin passions for studying revolution and the role of women in political change. During my sabbatical year in Seville, Spain, I began work on a new book project reexamining Spanish colonialism in the Philippines, but I’ll miss drinking wine and eating tapas in Seville’s sunny plazas.

    “Romancing a Revolutionary: The Life of Celia Mariano-Pomeroy,” in Lives at the Margin: Biographies of Filipinos Obscure, Ordinary, and Heroic, ed. Alfred W. McCoy (Quezon City, 2000).

  4. Yes, Joe ma sison is living in a good life in Nehterland…maramii pa siyahng chicks if you see in his old profile… I heard some of notorious Filipino fugitive were living in Netherland…fyi

  5. sir Tiglao will you write about that robredo woman who is using martial law against BBM. she even said without shame that she continued as VP candidate and found it to exposed about martial law consequences-expose! shame on her! she is assuming that she is exposing something not yet known when what she has been saying was already an old charge against marcos at gasgas na gasgas na pa. Thanks.

  6. Bobi, can you name that blogger and that intellectually dishonest demagogue masquerading as a PhD academic?

  7. They are all evil. The only diffetence is the billion dollars that separate them and that evil P-noy who is an aberration. He is a man child evil with the brains of a tiyanak.

  8. Daniel B. Laurente on

    History itself will gradually reveal and reverse the bias accusations printed in books and other print media that demonizes President F. E. MARCOS.

  9. Thank you for this article. I am an ofw and just voted for Santiago-Marcos last Saturday. I believe I knew that cut and pasted Phd woman, you are referring Sir as I have read her article and in fact commented on it. How unfortunate that she can’t distinguish truth from propaganda materials and how lazy could she be to do her proper research. One really wonders if she really labored for her doctoral degree or bought it in Recto. Anyways, who would believe such demonization to Marcos nowadays. People are more intelligent now and have greater access to information brought about by internet. But thank you for having a courageous and intellectual writer as you. The truth shall prevail, I am sure that this time will come. The yellows are now dwindling in popularity as the people are now able to compare Marcos to yellow oligarchs beginning from Cory to PNoy.

  10. History tells us that every time that the military is above the civilian population, there will be grave abuses. Every time that there is anarchy, there will be grave abuses. Look at Germany, the first country that is so advance in education and the first country that removed illiteracy was controlled by the dictator Hitler and the military were millions were killed due to ethnic cleansing. The military abuses cannot be controlled. Look at Mindanao, grave abuses were perpetrated by extremist Islam and the military. This election, do not vote for a known dictator. All of us will suffer grave abuses. Let the civilian rule. There might be corruption in our government now but still there is the rule of law.

  11. Hello SecRTiglao pls continue ur research until 1992 End of CAA term& FVRtil 1998 so the public will know and not deceived by anti Marcos dogs of Aquino…GodBless u..

  12. Amnata Pundit on

    The NPA and their affiliates were engaged in a rebellion to bring down the Republic and they expected no casualties? And the fact that they like to quote western authors to back up their propaganda supports the notion the NPA insurgency is a WESTERN-BACKED TERROR CAMPAIGN against this country. I don’t think these people’s brain cells are dead, on the contrary, they are cleverly exploiting this thriving cottage industry that they have built around their “victimization” that they refer to as human rights abuses. The best defense against these fools is to show the people that these “freedom fighters” are in reality just puppets of the West. The template that the West is now using in their new form of warfare against Assad of Syria was first designed and tested here in the Philippines when CIA asset( this is according to Joma Sison) established the NPA with Joma and Kumander Dante. The enemy is not outside, referring to China, it is within and it is the American-led West.

  13. Remember,the communists are the best propagandist in the world.The US never won the propaganda war that pitted them against the USSR during the cold war of the 50’s,60’s and the 70’s.Governments were being overthrown by the communists from Europe to Asia.From South and Latin America to Africa during those decades.In the Philippines,the communists faced a formidable democrat and an anti-communist political reformer in the person of Ferdinand E.Marcos.He is too smart that he was able to trick the US to trust him with regards to fighting the local insurgency countrywide and the national interest with regards to the US bases in the Philippines.Marcos won in both cases.He was able to put an end to the MNLF separatist rebellion in the Muslim south,and captured top communists leaders in the country that almost decimated the nationwide insurgency.The US bases agreement was cut in half,from 50 years to 25,that led eventually into becoming a 5 year lease agreement.So mad was the US with Marcos that they led the eventual toppling of the former strongman with the help of the US based Oligarchs,the remaining leftist sympathizers and supporters and the military traitors led by Fidel Ramos in 1986.These communist and former leftist propagandist from Ateneo and UP that are now the anti-Marcos group crusaders are the people who benefited from the Cory regime and up into this Pnoy administration.They may even are being paid by this government to attack the young Marcos so that the yellow cult and their former communists comrades in arms can be able to continue their looting of the Philippines treasury.They have become the new generation of plunderers in this country they must be put into a stop.30 years of good life and well being made these people fancy for more luxury,that they dont want to relinquish their hold to power.They see the young Marcos as the threat to their new found corrupt practices and looting of our coffers,that is why they are doing everything and anything to stop him in winning the VP race and for the nationalists backers of Bongbong in eradicating this country of corrupt politicians and government leaders and employees,such as their yellow cult.In spreading lies to the unknowing public,they are winning the peoples trust.That is why,we,those who knows the truth must continue to educate the populace of the truth in this nations history,and the truth of what Marcos,the Aquino/Cojuanco’s and the communist had done to the people and to the country…Let the truth be told…

  14. Aynaku,,,,,,pareho pareho………the succeeding administrations after Marcos were worse
    Ask Joker Arroyo………he started it together with the Kamaganaks , then came Fidel with his 2 wives competing with him and the FIRM.. Carpio , Cruz ,Marcelo etc
    then GMA with big Mike and Mike the small………the BS Aquino, the Pagcor. Ayalas, Manny Pangilinan and Albert del Rosario (Antoni Salim proconsuls in PH)

    Tama na itong mga old political families and oligarchs…..they are bringing this country to perdition , but think ANG GALING

  15. TAMA NA PO SIR RDT NAHIHIYA NA AKO KAY ROBREDO AT CAYETANO KUNG UMASTA ANG DALAWA MALILINIS.

  16. and now we realized that the aquino administration were the worst of them all. and keep saying that ninoy is a hero. we all realized this thing after 30 years??? and hopefully this will give us an idea on how to choose a leader wisely.

    • leuntine habawel on

      if i were to choose who the real hero is it would be Marcos what did Aquino do to become a Hero? nakakahiya talaga ang standards ng kung sino man ang nag declare na Hero si Aquino and for his face to be in a 500 peso bill. If BBM will come out i hope the truth about all the allegations against them will al be clarified at mailabas talaga ang tunay na kulay ng
      aquinos..

  17. Migs Doromal on

    Yet they still deny that the Marcos era was the golden years of the Philippines?

    Add them all up, from Cory, FVR, ERAP, GMA, and PNOY and compare what these nincompoops have accomplished against that of the APO Ferdie.

  18. I hope this article will be read by many voters to be enlightened. BBM receives too much hate campaign. Why are they too much afraid of BBM? Are they really afraid for the Filipinos or are they afraid for themselves that the truth will come to light. Filipinos are not as gullible as they think they are. If Filipinos are contented with the administration past FEM, why would they even consider BBM as their VP anyway. Filipinos want change and that is what they see in BBM.

    • at malamang galing na namn sa taong bayan ang budget (tax) para sa hate campaigne towards BBM.

  19. ferdinand naboye on

    Hahaha what an injustice to others, peopole accuse innocent in order to propagate their interest. hope filipinos wake up and see the good side of the truth and not just believe on what the aquinos say in pretense to good governance

  20. Kurokuro lang on

    Fascinating! I wonder how they were able to come up with those numbers? If there were also abuses during the time of cory and were relatively high compared to martial law attocities then it would also be appropriate to prosecute the aquinos and compel them to pay. How i wish i could have a copy of those books.

    • I hope Mr Tiglao can provide the source of this tables. As you can see in his column, he cannot provide the source where as readers, one will doubt the accuracy of these information. During the martial law regime, I myself saw hundreds of UP students arrested the night before Martial law was declared. We never saw them again and some of them were my brods in my fraternity.

  21. Desecration of the dead, disembowelment, eye gouging, cracked skulls,
    What they did to Olalia and Alampay during Cory’s term ?

    Probably graduates of the premier business school in Northern Luzon where they
    get trained in a “beasts barracks” first as the punching bags then as the perps.

  22. SEE STATISTICS ARE CLEAR THE EVIL DICTATOR CORY WAS THE WORST AND PRONE DISASTER PRESIDENT WHY IS THIS SO. GOD ALLOWED HER TO BE PRESIDENT JUST LIKE KING OF EGYPT AT THE TIME OF MOSES. GOD REVEALED THE TRUE KING OF EGYPT HE HARDENED HIM. JUST LIKE ADOLF HITLER PNOY HE HARDENED HIM. THAT’S IT GOD EXPOSED THEM TO BE AN EXAMPLE AS LEADERS WHO HAS NO HEART. BOTH MOTHER AND SON AS DISASTER PRESIDENT DURING THEIR INCUMBENCY PEOPLE BY THE THOUSANDS WERE KILLED, EVIL DICTATOR CORY REMEMBER THAT ORMOC FLOODS TRAGEDY AND ADOLF HITLER PNOY REMEMBER THE FLASH FLOODS IN NORTHERN MINDANAO AND TYHPOON YOLANDA.

    ASIDE FROM THAT DISASTER PRESIDENT BOTH HAVE NO REGARD FOR HUMAND RIGHTS. UNLIKE PRES. MARCOS MILITARY AND POLICE ABUSES ARE NOT TOLERATED HUNDREDS OF THEM WERE INVESTIGATED AND IF FOUND DTO BE TRUE WERE BOOTED OUT OF THE SERVICE AND SOME FACES CRIMINAL CASES.

    NOW WHAT WITH EVIL DICTATOR CORY NO ONE WAS INVESTIGATED IN MENDIOLA MASSACRE AND HACIENDA LUISITA MASSACRE. NO ONE EVER BEEN BOOTED OUT OF THE SERVICE AND NO ONE FACE CRIMINAL CHARGES.

    NOW WHO IS THE BETTER PRESIDENT? PRES. MARCOS OR THE AQUINOS

  23. Like Pres. Marcos once said, “everything is yellow to the jaundiced eye.” By the way, do you have any idea why Joma Sison chose the Netherlands as his place of exile and not North Korea, Vietnam, or Cuba if he really is a communist? Has he been coopted by the US CIA?

    • LIFE IS EASIER IN THE NETHERLANDS. may gov’t pension pa yata. he is living very comfortably in the netherlands and may be getting a portion of the npa taxes for his lifestyle. while if he chose north korea, he might be forced to do menial jobs like farming.

  24. Perhaps you can enlighten us who Fr. Avidicio was. A Filipino priest who disappeared during the Marcos administration and feared to have been summarily executed by the military, but after 6 months, Marcos learned that Fr. Avidicio was in Germany and he had run away with somebody who claimed to be a nun. Watch youtube, Pres. Ferdinand Marcos’ speech in September 17, 1982 at time 42:59 of the video.