• It is Ramos who should apologize over Martial Law ‘abuses’

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    RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

    RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO

    IT is hypocritical, and plainly wrong, for former President Fidel Ramos to ask the Marcos family to apologize over Martial Law and its abuses—on three dimensions.

    First, Ramos was one of the main pillars, even the strongest pillar, of the Marcos dictatorship, since he headed the national police, called the Philippine Constabulary from 1972 to 1981, that enforced Martial Law. Shouldn’t he apologize for that, instead of asking Marcos’ widow (what wife would testify against her husband?) or his children who were in their teens at that time to do so?

    Second, if he wasn’t really in control of the PC, and wasn’t responsible for its alleged human rights abuses, then why didn’t he resign early during the dictatorship, which would have sent the message to the world that Marcos was bad? That could have hastened Marcos’ fall and spared the country the political-economic crisis of 1983 to 1985, which is the real cause of our underdevelopment for a decade. Shouldn’t he apologize for that?

    Thirdly, if the extent of alleged human rights abuses were actually exaggerated, the product of communist propaganda that demonized Marcos as a fascist in order to ally the people behind their hidden goal to establish a one-party dictatorship, then why hasn’t Ramos—the best living witness of the Martial Law years—told us what really happened? He has published perhaps two dozen books containing his speeches, and yet has not written a single article on alleged human rights abuses during Martial Law, what he witnessed in that era.

    Shouldn’t he apologize for our difficulty in having an accurate, balanced picture of that crucial period of our history, and even worse, for supporting the communist narrative versus Marcos? If Ramos just revealed what he knew, we would be able to decide conclusively whether or not the alleged human rights victims were, in reality, casualties of a war that the communist party chief Jose Ma. Sison himself declared as the “people’s war” to topple what he called then the US-Marcos regime.

    Of course, Ramos had kept silent on this as it would have made him appear sympathetic to the strongman, so that Corazon Aquino wouldn’t have anointed him as her successor to the presidency in 1992. If he had talked about Martial Law, the anti-Marcos activist candidate Ramon Mitra or the fiery Miriam Defensor-Santiago would have roundly defeated him by labelling him with the Marcos camp, along with Eduardo Cojuangco and Imelda Marcos. Shouldn’t Ramos apologize for his political opportunism?

    It was the PC, and not the other four services of the armed forces, that was Marcos’ network for enforcing Martial Law. Not only were the armed forces legally banned from dealing with civilians, but they were tied down during Martial Law fighting the Malaysian- and Libyan-supported Moro National Liberation Front in Mindanao.

    Nearly all of the human rights abuses Marcos has been accused of were undertaken by PC units, especially through its national network of “Constabulary Security Units,” whose heads reported directly to Ramos. The most dreaded (or successful) of these was the Manila-based 5th CSU, credited with capturing most of the Communist Party leaders, including Jose Ma. Sison and the Manila-Rizal Regional Committee which I headed.

    Cruelest case

    The cruelest case of human rights abuses during Martial Law that the Left always presents to media as its Exhibit A against Marcos was student activist Liliosa Hilao’s torture, rape and murder, with her sister Marie also sexually abused while in detention. But the unit Hilao’s sister Marie herself said was responsible for this was the PC’s dreaded Constabulary Anti-Narcotics Unit, the CANU, which was even worse than the death squads killing drug pushers all over the metropolis now.

    Were the CANU officers, and Ramos who had command responsibility over the crime, charged? No, the American lawyers cleverly indicted Marcos, as hundreds of millions of pesos of compensation could be extracted from him because a Swiss bank account he allegedly owned had been confiscated, and was in government hands already. I doubt if they could have extracted a centavo from Ramos or the CANU offices.

     Guess who? In these rare photo are the two living people who should apologize, if really needed, for Marcos’ strongman rule and its alleged human rights abuses.

    Guess who? In these rare photo are the two living people who should apologize, if really needed, for Marcos’ strongman rule and its alleged human rights abuses.

    I find it astonishing that two top communist cadres almost every year on the anniversary of Martial Law’s declaration seem to relish giving media details of their torture (one that his penis was electrocuted, the other that a tingting was inserted), and then condemning Marcos for their fate. Yet they seem to be afraid to mention that the PC units, over which Ramos had command responsibility, that were responsible for their torture.

    Take my case. I was arrested together with my wife Raquel and most of the party’s Manila-Rizal Regional Committee, and we spent two years in Marcos’ prisons. Who arrested us, and beat up many of my comrades? The PC’s 5th CSU. I was sent to the 5th Military Intelligence Group only for a few days, for interrogation aided by an injection of sodium pentothal.

    That was it, though from the military intelligence guys—no beatings at all, no psychological torture. I was also sent to the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, headed by Gen. Fabian Ver, where I was interviewed by bored-looking civilian bureaucrats, who looked more frightened of me than I was of them.

    I don’t think Marcos ever heard of me. After Sison, Kumander Dante, and renegade Army lieutenant Victor Corpus, I don’t think he even knew of the names of other communist leaders. But I’m sure Ramos knew me by name. My father, a lawyer, after he was told I was arrested by the PC, wrote probably a dozen letters to the PC chief Ramos asking for my release, pointing out that I had not been charged in court. Ramos didn’t bother to reply.

    Only when my exasperated father decided to write Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile did he get a reply from Enrile himself (or maybe he just signed a pro-forma letter) explaining that Proclamation 1081 had given the state the authority to arrest anybody without charges.

    It was only when we were released two years later that I learned that it was Ramos who issued the so-called ASSOs (Arrest, Search, and Seizure Order) against me and for all political detainees.
    Shouldn’t Ramos apologize for that?

    Those who didn’t participate in the anti-dictatorship movement, or didn’t care what was happening at the time, are unaware of Ramos’ crucial role for Marcos to rule as a strongman for 13 years.

    His hold on the PC was as strong and indisputable as his loyalty to Marcos for one major reason: He was Marcos’ cousin. His grandmother,Crispina Marcos, was the sister of Fabian Marcos, the strongman’s grandfather. While that may seem a distant link, it is nearly being brothers among the clannish Ilokanos. Did that embolden the PC to commit human rights abuses?

    Ramos’ father was also one of Marcos’ most trusted diplomats, whom the strongman appointed as his foreign secretary when he won the presidency in 1965.

    Marcos trusted Narciso Ramos so much that he was his representative in negotiating with the Americans the reduction in the tenure of military bases from 99 years to 25. Nationalists should applaud that Marcos-Ramos feat, as the new treaty, called the Ramos-Rusk Agreement, shortened the lease that originally was to expire in 2046, so it would end in 1991 —when the Senate voted to junk it. Narciso was also Marcos’ representative in the founding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in Bangkok in 1967. Ramos’ sister, Leticia Ramos-Shahani, followed in their father’s footsteps, and was appointed ambassador to Australia in 1981.

    Because of his blood relationship to Marcos and his never-contested hold on the PC, Ramos was perceived during Martial Law as the regime’s most powerful man, next only to Marcos. Defense Secretary Enrile was Marcos’ official Martial Law Administrator only since the strongman wanted his dictatorship to be portrayed as built on solid legal grounds. But Enrile was just the legal justifier; it was Ramos who was the muscle, his PC the organization that made the country follow the dictatorship.

    All in the family: How Marcos and Ramos are cousins.

    All in the family: How Marcos and Ramos are cousins.

    The myth Ramos probably deliberately disseminated was that it was Gen. Fabian Ver, the commander of the Marcos Presidential Guards and head of the National Intelligence Security Authority, who was the strongman’s cousin, who ran his security apparatus.

    But Ver wasn’t related at all to Marcos but was just a Sarrat townmate, and from an unimportant clan. Ver was just Marcos’ chief bodyguard who had no business outside of securing Marcos. Even Ver’s sons, PMA graduates Irwin and Rexor were limited in their roles as commanders in the PSG, assigned nowhere else. The NICA was, as it has been through the years until today, a weak agency run by civilians with hardly any muscle nor brains. Ver or his NISA hasn’t been accused of any human rights abuses by even the most vitriolic critic of Martial Law.

    Other than his being Marcos’ cousin, Ramos had another strength. He was perceived to be the closest to the US military establishment, having studied at West Point, with many of his classmates becoming the top brass of the American armed forces.

    Was it coincidental that he abandoned Marcos when the US military establishment and President Ronald Reagan as well—who had been firm supporters of the strongman — bowed to the State Department’s lobbying to jettison the dictator in February 1986? Was it coincidental that Cory Aquino, who was backed by the US and even saved by US Phantom jets in the 1989 coup, unexpectedly picked Ramos as her successor, instead of Ramon Mitra who was her party’s choice? Was it coincidental that Ramos became so critical of President Duterte after he announced a policy of separating from the US?

    All this tells us of our sad penchant for condemning somebody out of power— preferably dead— and praising those who are in power one way or another, no matter how they got there, and alive to fight back.

    E-mail: tiglao.manilatimes@gmail.com
    Facebook: Rigoberto D. Tiglao and Bobi Tiglao

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    22 Comments

    1. shalk wansavali on

      If the Navy, the Army, the PC etc… had their own agenda in implementing martial law then FEM was just a puppet of the military, thus, FVR could be equally responsible as Marcos and Enrile of course, but if the various military departments were coordinated systematically as one body under the command of the chief of staff who coordinates with then Minister of Defense Enrile who both take orders and directly report to President and Commander in Chief of AFP FEM whose will was the rule of law that congress legislates, supreme court interprete and the military to implement as the solution but it lead us to where we are now, more divided less focused as a nation . When pres. FVR will finally tell his personal account about martial law will the marcos loyalists belive and will the “marcos heirs and their cronies” cooperate with “ex-Pres. FVR and the victims of human rights” during the darkest rule of a Filipino Government for nationbal reform and unity?

    2. Si FVR ang binato ni Marcos ng ashtray and not Imelda contrary to what rumor mongers led us to believe. This happened after Aquino was assassinated.

    3. Benton Grijalva on

      Duterte is bringing back the reign of terror, amplifying impunity, and destroying hope for the future of the Philippines. Justifying and defending Marcos is as stupid as it is sick.

    4. Ex President Ramos’ only LEGACY to the Filipino people is he CORRUPTED the Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP), after he was TRUSTED by the Filipinos to supposedly uplift the life of the Filipinos after Marcos, and he allowed himself to be corrupted and be used by the Oligarchs for their selfish motives and Ramos ,has no Respect to the military, a victim of his CORRUPT Leadership as a soldier was the late General Angelo Reyes, whose self guilt ended his own life.
      Ramos has no RESPECT of himself or to being a soldier, he corrupted the entire AFP and until now that is what HE THINKS OR is in his mind… that the AFP is still a Moneytary that he created and not a Military, that is why he still has that guts to again making noise and put another try of his being used as a PUPPET of the Oligarchs and will again drag the AFP to being continuously and forever be used being, a corrupt soldiery and military. He has no SHAME as a SOLDIER that is supposed to be a man of courage, patriotic and loyal to their Commander in Chief….he is the EVIL behind the a GOOD, PROFESSIONAL, PATRIOTIC and LOYAL MEN who are ready to sacrifice their lives for the people and their country.

    5. Ex President Ramos should STOP!!! His only LEGACY to the Filipino people is he CORRUPTED the Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP), after he was TRUSTED by the Filipinos to supposedly uplift the life of the Filipinos after Marcos, but he allowed himself to be corrupted and be used by the Oligarchs for their selfish motives and Ramos ,has no Respect to the military, a victim of his CORRUPT Leadership as a soldier was the late General Angelo Reyes, whose self guilt ended his own life.
      Now Ramos is again trying to TEST the waters if he could again use his corrupt influence to the AFP starting with disinformation and making opposing views against another Legitimate President of the Philippines. Ramos has no RESPECT of himself or to being a soldier, he corrupted the entire AFP and until now that is what HE THINKS OR is in his mind… that the AFP is still a Moneytary that he created and not a Military, that is why he still has that guts to again making noise and put another try of his being used as a PUPPET of the Oligarchs and will again drag the AFP to being continuously and forever be used being, a corrupt soldiery and military. He has no SHAME as a SOLDIER that is supposed to be a man of courage, patriotic and loyal to their Commander in Chief….he is the EVIL behind the a GOOD, PROFESSIONAL, PATRIOTIC and LOYAL MEN who are ready to sacrifice their lives for the people and their country. Please Mr Ramos you had your TIME and pls STOP the CORRUPTION of the AFP if you are OPPOSED to the President you GO BY YOURSELF and show you have that courage to do it alone with your corrupt Oligarchs and do not POISON and DRAG with you the PROFESSIONAL SOLDIERS OF THE PHILIPPINES…. WE HAVE BEEN THERE, MR RAMOS AND WE FOUND YOU LED CORRUPTION AND BROUGHT FAILURE FOR THE COUNTRY!!!
      TO THE AFP, DON’T BE FOOLED AGAIN, STAND FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ELECTED THE LEGITIMATE PRESIDENT…. NO TO ANOTHER COUP BY THE OLIGARCHS LED BY THIS CORRUPT NO SOLDIER, FIDEL RAMOS.!!!

    6. Jaime Dela Cruz on

      It’s too bad Mr. Tiglao that you didn’t come out with this article when Miriam Defensor Santiago first had a go at the presidency. This could have certainly changed the path our country took.

    7. Jaime Dela Cruz on

      If we really want to know the truth about Marcos and Martial Law, why don’t the Senate compel Fidel Ramos and Juan Ponce Enrile to get an injection of Sodium Pentothal and have them reminisce their years in active service. Kris Aquino can be the moderator if she wants to :-)

      • That is a dumb idea, Kris will just talk and talk about herself all through out the show, while FVR and JPE can’t get a word in, so we end up knowing nothing about the truth of their role in martial law.

        Better and more effective to inject Kris with the Sodium Penathol so she can blab where her brother hid the PDAF and trillions stolen from Typhoon Yolanda victims, and also divulge her secret meeting with Trillanes abroad.

      • No, I think FVR is not feeling guilty at all. He is laughing his a** off for outsmarting the dumb anti-Marcos by putting all the blame on Marcos.

      • No, I think FVR is not feeling guilty at all. He is laughing his rear end off for outsmarting the d u m b anti-Marcos people by putting all the blame on Marcos.

    8. Just goes to show that our history books are full of yellow fairy tales.

      “After people power and daang matuwid” the Filipino lived happily ever after, kuno

    9. Sir you are very correct. The public doesn’t know that former Pres Fidel Ramos had a secret hatred to former Pres. Marcos. Why? Remember, the late President Marcos did not choose him to be the Chief of Staff! He preferred to choose the late Gen. Favian Ver. Why? The rest is history….! Or ask Lolo Johnny…he he he he he eh!

    10. I agree that Ramos should apologize for his role in the martial law years. Not only that, Juan Ponce Enrile, another opportunist should also apologize and I think many more.

      Ang mga walang hiya, nasa gobierno pa. Every time I see their names in the news, my blood pressure goes up.

    11. Gambel Nuqui-Dizon on

      I totally agree Fidel V Ramos is the most deplorable person I could think of. The old man has no shame. I just don’t know when the suppose to be educated, well read Pilipinos would finally accept our history as it is and not what the powerful would like us to believed. Sad for the country and our people.

    12. Lenia Hetherington on

      Sana nga magbayad si Ramos sa mga katiwalian niyang ginawa. He is very good in looking after himself by licking here and there.

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