The methods of Martial Law

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Fr. Shay Cullen

Fr. Shay Cullen

The shocking death toll of Filipinos when Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972 sent shivers through Filipino society at the time. Such widespread killing of Filipinos by summary execution had never been seen since the Japanese invasion of the Philippines and their severe occupation. His regime was marked by brutal killings, torture, the exile of opponents, imprisonment and the disappearing of thousands. The scale of the plunder under Marcos has never been fully tallied but it is said by government estimates to be in the billions of dollars stashed away abroad.

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Marcos had a systematic campaign to kill dissidents, critics and anyone who opposed his iron-fisted rule. The debate raging this past week was about the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to allow the burial of the late dictator’s body in the Heroes’ Cemetery in Manila this coming September 18. The father of President Duterte served in the Cabinet of Marcos and the President made an election campaign promise to allow the burial.

The Supreme Court is holding hearings on the petitions filed by victims of Martial Law to prevent the planned interment from happening, claiming that Marcos was a dictator of the worst kind and was not a hero. The body of the late strongman lies embalmed and preserved in a glass museum in his home on permanent display in Batac, Ilocos Norte.

The hope of the Marcos clan is to exonerate the late President’s long years of martial rule through the “heroic” burial and establish the clan as respectable. Much has been done to prevent the true history of Martial Law years to be included in school books or movies and that dark chapter of Philippine history is generally unknown to the youth of today. Many youth think that he was a good President, not knowing the truth. His son Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was almost elected as vice president in the recent elections. Short memories can bring long suffering.

An online petition that drew more than 30,000 signatures said: “Burying Ferdinand E. Marcos alongside our nation’s heroes who fought for our freedom is an affront to the thousands of lives tortured and murdered during his reign.”

The burial will send a very wrong message to this generation of youth and the next that they who do evil things can still be admired and buried as heroes. The whitewashing of a dark past is the cover-up of the bitter truth.

When Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno wrote a letter saying suspect corrupt judges are under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, not the executive, President Duterte answered the chief justice, “Please, don’t order me. I’m not a fool. If this continues, (that) you’re trying to stop me, I might lose my cool. Or would you rather I declare Martial Law?” he said.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella swiftly calmed troubled waters and told the media later that the President was not going to declare Martial Law. “There is no need to worry about Martial Law. As President Duterte said, ‘I want to make specific changes without having to do Martial Law.’”

Last week, President Duterte said he would not declare Martial Law himself, to the relief of the nation and the stock market. In a recent speech at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) welcoming home Filipino overseas workers, the President said “I won’t do a Marcos.” He said, “I have no plans to become a dictator. I’m a lawyer. They say [I’m like] Marcos, far from it. I am just doing my duty as President or else I will compromise.”

The President also said recently that the death toll of almost 2000 suspects of drug abuse due to his war on drugs was not genocide, like what was happening in Syria under Assad. He said in a speech to mark National Heroes’ Day before a gathering of government officials, war veterans, and foreign ambassadors: “Genocide? Who did I kill? I did not kill any child. I did not drop barrel (bombs) just like Assad. “I’m fighting. . .”

The UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon condemning the killings in June commented: “I unequivocally condemn his apparent endorsement of extrajudicial killings, which is illegal and a breach of fundamental rights and freedoms.”

The UN special rapporteur on summary executions, Agnés Callamard, said over a month ago, “Claims to fight the illicit drug trade do not absolve the government from its international legal obligations and do not shield state actors or others from responsibility for illegal killings.”

Bishop Bacani of Novaliches, Metro Manila said recently: “The Filipino greeting of “Mabuhay” (long live) may now be replaced by “Mamatay” (die). The killings have become so widespread, which I do not think has happened here even during the Second World War and the Martial Law era, especially because they are taking place at the time of peace and not during war time.”

Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle made a statement that encouraged Filipinos to take a stand to protect all life –including children in their mothers’ wombs against being aborted and those being killed in extrajudicial executions. We must protect the sanctity of life and condemn all killings, he said.

The criticism against the killing of suspects is that they are just suspects. Anyone can be marked as a suspect by the finger-pointing of another and then be killed.

shaycullen@gmail.com

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10 Comments

  1. Maybe this priest is referring to the SUMMARY EXECUTION commited by the Communist (NPA) pre and post the Martial Law period! Ikaw na lang father nagsasabi nitong sinusulat mo! Marami ng bumaliktad na mga former communist telling the truth about Plaza Miranda Bombing, Barangay killings, etc. Be objective and read other opinions published in this paper!

  2. Macoy had his faults All of us do. But it is much easier to look at the other’s smirch than ours. Let’s talk about the good side of Macoy for a while. No matter what you accuse him of, It cannot be denied that he played a very significant role in shaping the Philippines into one of the most recognized and respected countries in the world. So, these Macoy bashers need to look back and notice his achievements. Those alone should put him on a pedestal. And whether you agree or not, no other presidents after him could compare. Here is a good read for all of us.

    https://thetruthaboutmarcos.com/2015/09/24/from-first-class-to-third-class-comparing-budget-allotment-of-health-services-between-marcos-gma-and-pnoy/

  3. FYI Priest, 986 cases were files against the Marcos including your claim of extra judicial killing, disappearances during Martial Law period, guess what, Marcos won.
    If you want to prove the world that Marcos is bad, why don’t you file case in the court of law?
    And if indeed Martial Law is bad, why is it still in the present Constitution?

  4. Dear people of the Philippines:

    An elected government should not declare war and militarize against its own people. Historically, the use of force to address/prohibit non-violent, victimless activities has only ever produced negative results. Such a violent crusade against civilians invariably evolves into a full-blown civil war.

    It is now obvious (at least to the rest of humanity) that you have foolishly elected a psychotic despot for president. This means that you no longer have due process, constitutionally protected rights or fair trials in a public forum. Suspicion or rumor is now all that’s required to terminate the life of any citizen.

    Nowhere on this planet has any nation ever had success with the policy of drug prohibition. Many thousands of you will die. Many of your villages, towns and cities will be turned into killing fields—but the drugs will still be there and the corruption will still be there.

    Things will become far worse than any of you could ever have possibly imagined; your inevitable and dire situation will finally make the rest of the world realize how dangerous and utterly pointless prohibition really is.

    This may not end until hundreds of thousands of you are dead. Your most precious institutions and possessions will be destroyed. Nothing can change your fate. You are in the process of destroying your own society. All of you are now very vulnerable; prohibition has reached its inevitable conclusion.

    Thank you for helping to teach the world this powerful lesson with the blood of your own families!

  5. Mariano Patalinjug on

    Yonkers New York
    \04 September 2016

    It is heartwarming that where the country’s legal and human rights luminaries and the Philippine Constitution Associatioin [PHILCONSA] have so far chosen to be deathly silent about Der Fuhrer Rodrigo Duterte’s ongoing EXTRA-JUDICIAL killing of SUSPECTED drug lords, drug pushers and drug addicts as well as their supporters, a megalomanic drive which has so far netted a reported total of 2,000 victims, FR. SHAY CULLEN has summoned the courage to write critically about it in his Commentary today in The Manila Times.

    Der Fuhrer Duterte may cleverly call what he is doing extra-judicially “A state of Lawlessness,” but that is only a clever mask for de facto Martial Law. He and his “berdugo” [executioner] National Police Chief General “Bato’ de la Rosa are now engaged in a bloody program which is a blatant and reprehensible violation of the Constitution with its Bill of Rights, the Rule of Law, the Rules of Court, and even the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

    The United Nations has already expressed its deep concern. It is even possible that Der Fuhrer Rodrigo Duterte could be held before the International Court of Justice for his blatant violation of human rights.

    MARIANO PATALINJUG
    patalinjugmar@gmail.com

  6. Money could really obliterate the Abuse of Marcos Rule. Somehow the youth-millenials took it, hook, line, and sinker. Despite NCR having access to more infos

  7. Macoy had his faults All of us do. But it is much easier to look at the other’s smirch than ours. Let’s talk about the good side of Macoy for a while. No matter what you accuse him of, It cannot be denied that he played a very significant role in shaping the Philippines into one of the most recognized and respected countries in the world. So, these Macoy bashers need to look back and notice his achievements. Those alone should put him on a pedestal. And whether you agree or not, no other presidents after him could compare. Here is a good read for all of us.

    https://thetruthaboutmarcos.com/2015/09/24/from-first-class-to-third-class-comparing-budget-allotment-of-health-services-between-marcos-gma-and-pnoy/

  8. If, Marcos will not be allowed burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, neither should Fidel Ramos, Juan Ponce Enrile and the Second Lieutenants when Martial Law was declared specifically those who were with the infamous Metrocom Intelligence, those who tortured the Zone One Tondo Organization.

    They are also to blame for the abuses of that era.