On Friday, the Marcoses buried their patriarch Ferdinand, Philippine dictator, at the cemetery for heroes.
He who plundered nation’s wealth, who put nation in debt, who established corrupt crony and patronage politics, who instituted Martial Law that tortured, killed, raped Filipinos.
The Marcos children and grandchildren will not apologize to nation. They will not admit to the faults of their grand/father. We watch them in their expensive clothes and jewels, we watch them speak of nation like they did not benefit from its plunder. We watch them dismiss the living testimonies to their father’s and mother’s conjugal dictatorship: the survivors of the violence of Martial Law, the generation that fought in various ways against the silencing, the repression, the oppression of the Marcos regime.
We watched the Marcoses wait for a President who would be a Marcos loyalist, who would think Marcos the greatest President ever, and who, without consideration for anybody else but the Marcoses, would insist that the dictator is hero.
The Marcoses waited for this president. They got President Duterte.
Nation got President Duterte. And today, on this issue, I stand against him.
Against press freedom
I stand against President Duterte, who has dismissed the fact that Marcos closed down media, jailed journalists, newsmen and women, and publishers. I stand against President Duterte, who is saying that this history is irrelevant, that the suppression of our right to free speech and press freedom has yet to be written.
It has been written President Duterte.
September 22 1972, a day after the declaration of Martial Law. Marcos ordered the closure of The Manila Times, Daily Mirror, Manila Chronicle, Manila Daily Bulletin, Philippine Daily Express, Philippines Herald, Philippine Free Press, Philippine Graphic, The Nation. He also closed down 66 community newspapers, four Chinese dailies, three Filipino dailies, weekly magazines. Seven television stations were closed down, and 292 radio stations fell silent across the country.
The first round of arrests upon Martial Law declaration included members of the media. Some of their names were part of the “National List Of Target Personalities” of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
This list includes, but is not limited to: Joaquin “Chino” Roces, publisher of The Manila Times, and Manila Times columnists Rosalinda Galang, Maximo Soliven.
Teodoro M. Locsin Sr., publisher of the Free Press, as well as Free Press writer Napoleon Rama. Amando Doronila, editor of Manila Chronicle, Taliba columnists Rolando Fadul and Francisco “Soc” Rodrigo. Jose Mari Velez, newscaster of Channel 5, Roger Arienda, radio commentator, Amelita Reysio-Cruz of the Manila Daily Bulletin, Go Eng Kuan of the Chinese Commercial News.
Bobby Ordoñez of Philippines Herald, Ernesto Granada of Manila Chronicle, Manuel Almario of the Philippine News Service, Luis Beltran of Evening News, Juan Mercado of the Press Foundation of Asia, Luis R. Mauricio of Graphic magazine, Ninotchka Rosca of Asia-Philippines Leader.
These media personalities were illegally arrested and detained, in the name of Marcos’ Martial Law. Contrary to what President Duterte believes, this is historical fact.
Marcos criminalized criticism. No one could criticize the President, his family, or government – at least not publicly. Not only would they be jailed, Marcos also removed all venues through which people might air grievances, question government, demand accountability.
Printers were prohibited from producing any form of publication for mass dissemination without permission from government. Networks were sequestered. Even rumors were penalized because these are “false news” that “undermines the stability of government.” Some gossip columnists who poked fun at the dictatorship were jailed.
It was either you praised the government, or you fell silent. And if you didn’t purposefully fall silent, you would be silenced.
Let’s be clear: censorship is a form of silencing. Two years after the declaration of Martial Law, Marcos required that all reports undergo censorship. Every day, members of the media had to go to Malacañang to have their articles approved by Marcos’ Press Secretary.
Four years into Marcos’ Martial Law, he forbade the creation of “subversive” organizations. The preparation of “documents, leaflets and any other types of publication” were declared as punishable acts.
In 1980, already eight years after declaration, Marcos was not done silencing critics. The Public Order Act gave him unilateral and absolute power to issue orders he deems necessary to “clamp down on ‘subversive publications or other media of mass communication’ and ‘ban or regulate the holding of entertainment (or exhibitions) deemed ’detrimental to the national interest.’”
Marcos also issued another order declaring as “unlawful the malicious dissemination of false information.”
President Duterte: Marcos loyalist
It is these journalists’ experience of Martial Rule, it is the histories of these publications in fighting the dictatorship, it is survivor testimonies, it is the voice of the families who continue to seek justice – these are the stories President Duterte dismissed when he declared that Marcos deserved to be buried at the heroes’ cemetery.
The President is saying that history does not matter. He is wrong.
President Duterte is the historical outcome of the Marcos regime. He is one of many Marcos loyalists so well-entrenched in government, business, and politics, that it has ensured the return of the Marcoses. President Duterte is one of many who have been molded by Marcos politics – its excesses and evils included.
President Duterte is exactly the loyalist the Marcoses have been waiting for, the loyalist who is ready to believe all the lies and falsities that the Marcoses have spread to fashion their father a hero.
President Duterte likes to say that his loyalty is to the Filipino people.
To me, after Friday’s burial, he is nothing but loyal to the Marcoses. ***
Sources: Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) Website. Bulatlat.com. LuisTeodoro.com. Official Gazette, Martial Law Infographic, PCDSPO.