Martial law made me well-known enough via name recall to be elected senator in 1987 without having to spend a single centavo of my own. A grateful people rewarded me for human rights lawyering. Candidate Cory Aquino had made me her spokesperson during the 1985-86 snap polls; in February 25, 1986, Prez Cory asked me to continue to speak for her. I looked down at my shoes a long, long time. I got chided. But, I have always believed that public service is its own reward. And we had two Prezs that dusk. Walang iwanan at a time of peril.

    Martial law made many wives happy that their husbands would come home early because of curfew. But some machos might have claimed overtime work and spent the whole night in a motel with their  instead.

    Martial law made the society page vanish and that I appreciated personally. Good papers elsewhere have more substance.

    “Sa ikauunlad ng bayan disiplina ang kailangan” was the slogan of the Bagong Lipunan. Ariel Urieta lampooned it by saying “bisikleta ang kailangan”; he had to do some explaining in a military camp, where even squabbling spouses and neighbors were summoned.

    The military authority was superior to the civilian. Even sporting long hair could mean Camp Crame. Many were detained sans charges and for years, without trial, beginning with the most prominent victim of martial law, Ninoy Aquino, who never compromised, supported by a tough uncompromising wife.

    At about the same time, Singapore was under Lee Kwan Yew who saw to it that Singaporeans had bread but no freedom. I was in Singapore in 1971. Very provincial. Today fantastic in modernity, greenness, cleanliness and discipline. Very prosperous. LKY sacrificed and did very well for his country, but now pleads with the native Singaporean to make babies, not a problem here, where we ended up with no bread and no freedom either. Babies, no problem here. Muslims, entitled to four wives. Christians, no limit.(?)

    Marcos did very well for himself, his family and his cronies (our Good Pinoys; like Hitler’s Good Germans, including the lawyers who would salute as law any paper calling itself by that name and printed at public expense). Kakistocratic kleptocracy prevailed. No free press as we know it in Singapore but LKY is revered all over the world.

    When People Power kicked out the Marcoses on February 25, 1986, the world applauded.

    As we look back next week on September 23, 1972, we vow NEVER AGAIN! Like many of us said in boycotting Marcosian elections before the 1985-86 snap polls, “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” The Greek dissidents did not join plebiscites for that would be, in a dictatorship, like helping forge the links in o​ne’s very own chains.

    We cannot let anyone experiment again with our liberties, as many Filipinos, like the Good Germans in Hitler’s time—did, in 1972. Resist! Resist! Resist! – we should.

    Now the Ilocanos ask that Macoy’s remains be moved to the Libingan ng Mga Bayani (LMB). It will be kicking us in the teeth. FVR told me he was double-crossed by the Marcoses when he allowed the return of the remains in 1993. Lied to, in that Macoy would immediately be buried underground. Now, it is being sought again to so move, to the LMB.

    When Erap so decided in July 1998, Sonny Alvarez and I led the first demo ever in Mendiola against the popular red-hot lover. He and Gen. Abat backed off, given the widespread resistance. My wife Dulce had said on nationwide radio-TV that she would ask her family to consider moving out the remains of their father from LMB.

    But, I have mellowed in my old age (75) using a HurryCane.  In Northern Ireland, they compromised and settled a problem, from the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

    Why not rename the place as Libingan ng Mga Bayani At Iba Pa? Else, my Last Hurrah would be to kapit-bisig in LMB.

    Bobbit Sanchez of MABINI can no longer march with us. Last week, I wrote about his youngest brother, Eddie, our Rizal Hi valedictorian, then in St. Luke’s. Discharged na. I also wrote about Eddie’s outstanding son, Edward.

    Today, let me write about Ramon Santos, “new National Artist for Music,” featured in our magazine here last Sunday. He is the brother of Pyt, who made cartoons for us in our Pasig Weekly Post and the MABINI Newsletter. Truly, an outstanding clan. Ramon and Pyt are first cousins of MABINI Chair and Batasan Assemblyman Bobbit, residing less than a hundred meters apart from one another.

    Meantime, Manny Pacquiao of the Batasan is inaugurating a new TV show leaving him no time for his sideline or hobby as the Great Pretender or Impostor as Sarangani Rep. Does he still remember where the House is? As the alleged Sarangani Congressman, he should be speaking out in and for the region on the BangsaMoro Basic Law, an experiment, as all life is an experiment, said Holmes. PNoy may yet succeed where Spain, the US, Japan and Imperial Manila failed.
    Imperial Manila used to be the turf of Muslim Rajah Soliman.

    We cannot Balkanize our country, like Yugoslavia. Scotland’s seceding? Catalan’s seceding? The US South tried to secede from the North in the 1860’s, but Lincoln kept the country together. United We Stand, Divided We Fall. What would have happened had secession happened? Tiny separatist fiefdoms instead of the United States of America?

    Anyway, on the 28th, we again commemorate the Balangiga Massacre.

    Nice to have those lovely Bells – I have seen them – in Fort Warren, just outside of Cheyenne, back where they belong, in Samar. On this issue, I’d like to hear from my Church.
    ​Not on emergency powers. ​

    In politics, the cacophony ​among laymen is deafening in itself. During martial law, the silence of the lambs, when there was danger​, save for Bishop Claver & Co.​


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    1. Atty Saguisag your such an opportunist, here you are vaunting about your measly deeds during marshal law. Who were you defending? The radical reds trying to destabilize to Goverment for their own agenda. What’s happening now? Are you defending the rights of those that the vindictive son of your idols (Aquinos) is trampling? What have you got to say about the abuses the Supreme Court is coping from the Malacanang tenant? As a lawyer as such have you counseled the idiot? Like a typical yellow turd, you only see what is convenient to you. You have no feelings for the poor, the common Tao. Open your eyes and see what this corrupt president is doing to the country, and for good measure, what has your Ninoy Cory really done except bring misery to all.

    2. I heard about Bobit Sanches of Mabini but Jojo Binay who claimed working for the rights of the poor and the underprivileged and deprived? Can you please write something about this brag of the VP? Is this claim similar to the medals of Marcos?

    3. Can you explain why your hero was not in Plaza Miranda when it was bombed in 1971? Ninoy was the Liberal Party’s Secretary General and campaign manager at that time, not only a senatorial candidate. As campaign manager, he should have been the first to arrive in the Plaza and not the last. Instead of attending to his party duties, he went to the debut party of Doy Laurel’s daughter where some observed that he was acting strangely by always looking at his watch the whole night. Was he killing time and why? Ninoy and the entire opposition to Marcos pointed to Marcos as the mastermind and if that was meant to demonize the former president it succeeded spectacularly.But why would Marcos do Ninoy a favor by bombing Plaza Miranda and physically eliminating Ninoy’s main rivals for the nomination of the party’s presidential candidate? In those days, the Nacionalista and Liberal Parties’ presidential and senatorial candidates were decided by more than a thousand delegates from all over the country in a convention that was always held in Manila Hotel. His rivals were Gerry Roxas the party’s president and Jovy Salonga who was always the top notcher in senatorial elections. Ninoy’s chances in that convention against the party’s heavyweights was below zero, and that is without factoring in yet all the Ninoy delegates that Marcos could buy to make them vote for somebody else. You guys like to give the impression that the Marcos-Ninoy clash was on the same grand scale as the Philippine Revolution of 1898, when in fact it was just plain presidential politics carried to its foulest extreme by one of them. Many ex-communists have admitted that the NPA’s bombed Plaza Miranda. These same ex-communists have also admitted that Ninoy was part of the triumvirate that founded the NPA’s inside Hacienda Luisita in 1969. Slowly but surely, Mr Saguisag, the Filipino people will realize who the real hero was in your yellow and hollow version of history.

    4. When are these people will stop promoting themselves , as if they have done something in their lifetime to be proud of, and yet they have not accomplish anything to help and improve the life of the impoverished Filipinos, who has no choice but to seek job elsewhere as OFW.. Martial Law was a must to save Philippines from Jose Maria Sison (the Maoist CPPA-NPA) to become a communist country.

    5. I just want you to write about what did Pnoy did to good for our country that our masses beniffited well. The rising prices of electricity, water and almost all food commodities are the really the main reason why our economist keep on insisting that 7 per cent GDP growth rate. There are no new factories being build for the simple reason the cost of electricity can not justify low cost of production. Bigyan mo namin kami ng dahilan, Atty Sagisag bakit namin mahalin sina Cory at Pnoy.

    6. So the issue is not really about freedom that was lost, but the losing it which didn’t deliver the goods.

      Well, Atty Saguisag, Singapore is a tiny, weeny bit of a nation-state of obedient, obliging citizens. By comparison, the Philippines is an archipelagic country of diverse, quarelling tribes beset by a determined communist insurgency whose leaders you and your ilk as human rights lawyers defended mightily proud at every turn, and a separatist muslim movement financed by neighboring states. Plus of course your friendly oligarchs who were determined to overthrow him to be able return to power. If Lee Kwan Yew had to battle that kind of opposition, or maybe even had just the like of you or Ninoy, opposing at every turn, Lee Kwan Yew too would have failed, don’t you think?

      Ninoy Aquino, a victim of Martial Law? Well, Ninoy was imprisoned for a reason: he was conspiring with the communists to launch a bloody revolution, a limited one he reckoned (five hundred casualties maybe), but which even the likes of Tanada feared because once there, it could have become uncontrollably bloody.

      Be less judgmental and less angry, Atty Saguisag, and you will have better understanding.

    7. That is why Mr. Saguisag as Mark Twain said ” Politicians are like diapers,we have to replace them often” abnoy is no exception.