Why not a riposte from the Marcos camp?


The 42nd anniversary of martial law, which President Ferdinand Marcos proclaimed on Sept. 21, 1972 and lifted on January 17, 1981, came and went last Sunday without any unusual public demonstrations, except for some of the barbed remarks about “Marcos and his evil regime.” These were completely expected, given the sustained effort to proclaim B. S. Aquino 3rd’s imagined virtues against the “sins” of Marcos and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, his immediate predecessor.

It was not until two days ago that President B. S. Aquino 3rd told a gathering of Filipinos in Boston that he had wanted to exact vengeance on Marcos for the assassination of his father, the late former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., upon his return to Manila from his three-year medical furlough in Boston on Aug. 21, 1983.

Ninoy had been arrested and jailed after the proclamation of martial law on Sept. 21, 1972, tried and sentenced to death by a military tribunal, whose authority he did not recognize. But in 1980, Marcos allowed him to leave for the US to undergo a heart surgery. In 1983, he sent word he was coming home.

Amid rumors of ill health, Marcos tried, through his Defense Secretary, Juan Ponce Enrile, to dissuade him from coming home because of an alleged threat on his life, which, apparently, the government could not satisfactorily contain. This appeal fell on deaf ears.

Using a false passport, under an assumed name (Marcial Bonifacio), but accompanied by some American newsmen, Ninoy found his way to Taipei and then to Manila, where his assassin awaited him. The rest is history.

B. S. Aquino 3rd said he had wanted to exact vengeance at the heat of the moment, but Malacañang was careful to point out that reason ultimately prevailed, and he restrained himself. The regular bashing of Marcos is apparently proof of that restraint.

But certain myths have grown during the nine-year martial law period and since, which must now be put to rest. Only an honest and objective exhumation of the facts can do this. It is the task of this generation, particularly its intellectuals, to do so. They cannot afford to continue quoting the partisan propaganda of the Left and to transmit it to the next generation as the unvarnished truth.

The greatest danger to the country comes from an administration that denounces the “evils of martial law” and yet is determined to foist upon its people worse evils than those of martial law without establishing the constitutional basis for martial law, and formally proclaiming its existence. This is what B. S. Aquino 3rd has done to the country. And his description of the state of checks and balances during martial law describes exactly their present state under his present one-man rule.

Vice President Jejomar hit the nail right on the head when he said, “of utmost importance is preserving the rule of law and constitutional order, especially the independence of our Judiciary from the intrusion or influence of the Executive. We must fight to preserve the ideals of democracy as enshrined in our Constitution from all efforts to weaken the system of checks and balances and fortify the power of one branch over the other co-equal branches, a system that brought about the abuses of martial law.”

But aside from reincarnating the worst part of martial law de facto, the Aquino regime has spread so much political porn about the past that the average citizen could hardly see through the fog of propaganda. Those who have no means to verify the facts, least of all the truth, but simply rely on the conscript media for their daily diet are likely to be misled into believing that the declaration of martial law was the cause of all that has gone wrong in the country.

This is most unfortunate. The declaration of martial law was a consequence rather than a cause, certainly not a “cause uncaused,” but a constitutional response to a declared and virulent communist insurgency. It had its good points and its bad, which we could, and must now, analyze dispassionately. But one thing is clear: without the communist rebellion, there would have been no constitutional basis nor political necessity for the declaration of martial law.

So although his adversaries could rap Marcos for offenses committed by his subordinates, under the principle of command responsibility, it was not Marcos but the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army and the demagogues who helped to put the two together and made use of their insurgency to destabilize the government, who made the declaration of martial law absolutely necessary.

This distinction is absolutely vital if we are to benefit at all from the lessons of our history, and to correctly judge the merits of all the platitudes we hear from the same sources on every martial law anniversary, or whenever it suits their fancy. We need it for our political sanity.

Many consider Ninoy a “hero” because he was assassinated at the rundown international airport that now bears his name, and because he had been “unjustly” jailed, tried and meted a death sentence by a military tribunal before that. PNoy has not only formalized his late father’s status as hero, together with his late mother Cory; beyond that, he has put Ninoy on the same rank as Dr. Jose Rizal, our national hero. But quite apart from his gruesome murder, which should never happen to anybody, Ninoy’s political record was (is) replete with contradictions and controversy.

Ninoy’s proud boast to his foreign correspondent-friends, before Marcos proclaimed martial law, was that, if ever he became president, his first act would be to declare martial law, in imitation of South Korea’s Park Chung Hee. He openly doubted that Marcos would have “the balls” to declare martial law before he actually did. Ninoy became the enemy of martial law only because he became its prisoner rather than its jailer, had his dream come true.

And much about his murder has remained a total mystery. His assassin is known—Rolando Galman, a gunman from Nueva Ecija who was instantly killed by government agents after he had shot Aquino. But the party or parties that had planned or ordered his assassination remain unknown to this day.

No independent investigation has shown any link between Galman and the Marcos regime, just as no similar investigation has shown that the capital charges against Aquino were pure fabrications or a dictator’s cruel whimsy. And neither Cory Aquino, who was president from 1986 to 1992, nor her president-son had ever shown any interest in ending the mystery.

Marcos’s great failure was in failing to prevent that murder, assuming he could have. But cold and indisputable evidence is needed to link him to it. Fifteen years before that, and for many years later, political propaganda blamed Marcos for the bombing of a political rally at Plaza Miranda which nearly wiped out the entire Liberal Party leadership, except for Ninoy, the LP secretary-general, who was serendipitously (some say suspiciously) absent from the stage.

Years later, the surviving victims of that outrage had to admit it was the communists, not Marcos, who were responsible for it. And questions have since persisted about Ninoy’s probable role in it. But this has remained uninvestigated.

Even Ninoy’s alleged role in bringing together Jose Ma. Sison’s CPP and Bernabe Buscayno’s (Commander Dante’s) NPA, which has been the subject of so much urban legend, has remained unexamined.

All that we have is an abundance of constantly recycled and regurgitated propaganda. This propaganda has been permanently loaded in favor of Aquino, against Marcos. It is time we heard from the Marcoses.

Except for one, who has no interest in politics, all members of the Marcos family are now in active public life—Imelda Marcos is in the House, Bongbong Marcos is in the Senate, and Imee Marcos is governor of Ilocos Norte. Yet they have continuously taken everything on the chin, rolled with the punches. They have not delivered any riposte.

In the interest of the historical truth, is it not time to open up an earnest inquisition, and also an open debate, in the pages of the national press or on TV perhaps, on the unresolved Marcos-Aquino controversy, so that the nation, particularly the present generation whose knowledge of recent history is based mostly on partisan propaganda, will know once and for all on whose side lies the whole truth, or at least the bigger truth?

This issue must be put to rest, and this could be the best way to do it.

Correction: In my last column (“A syndicate posing as a government?”), the “Old Testament” erroneously appears as the source of the narrative about the woman caught in adultery. The correct reference is to the “New Testament,” (John 8:6). Such slips shouldn’t happen, but they do, when the fingers and the eyes fail to work together. Sorry.



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  1. >>> What others believe Rolando Galman is not belong to CPP-NPA. He was a hired to assasinate Ninoy Aquino as long time plan, arranged and ordered by a certain mastermind who has a self-vested interest to protect. Because Ninoy at that late years is the popular and only possible presidentiable after FEMarcos. That mastermind knows and believe that Ninoy will not protect his businesses. Then that’s it , it was done according to his plan. Just for a little enlightment to all readers, please browse and read websites the History of HACIENDA LUISITA and noted the persons or family founded, co-founded and inherited this hacienda from the beginning to that years and till this year.

    >>> Take note…Ninoy Benigno Aquino was sentenced to death for crime of rebellion, but he was allowed to travel abroad in Boston,USA for to have his medical treatment. And then he did stay in USA and did speaches engagement in some occasion in Boston, New York, etc. in USA. THAT WAS DURING MARTIAL LAW !!!

    Now his son as a President and in DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM, he had done than the most and highly horrible to constitution and his opponent and unallied. But this country IS NOT IN MARTIAL LAW ( yet).

  2. without the communist rebellion, there would have been no constitutional basis nor political necessity for the declaration of martial law.
    Who are you trying to fool, Mr. Tatad? Mr. Marcos declared Martial Law to perpetuate himself. And he cheated in the 1978, 1981 and 1986 elections as well. So many people died duringthe 1969 and 1986 elections.

  3. I dare you Tatad to engage Tiglao on debate about Marcos rule. Both right now are anti-Aquino but on different side during Marcos rule. MST can sponsor the debate.
    NOTE TO Mr. TagaDumantay from OpEd Editor:
    Correction, sir.
    Mr. Tatad resigned from the Cabinet and fought the Marcos dictatorship as a columnist of Business Day every other day of the week, exposing the wrongdoings in the Martial Law government. You must update your history, sir. Mr. Tatad was among those who, with Catholic activists, participated in the Edsa Revolt.

  4. Daniel B. Laurente on

    Real history must be told especially for the new generations to know. A generation borned immediately before and after martial law. They must have the right to know to become impartial in their judgement. History is always the good basis of actions for tomorrows generations.

  5. victor m. hernandez on

    I am naive and clueless to all this Marcos’s martial law atrocities. I now friends who were harassed, put to jail for a brief period, but not tortured nor treated uncivily. I know a few, told by friends who went underground and join rebels in the hills, and died, as told by friends. But those were legitimate encounter I believe. I knew of squatters who fought demolitions and evictions, and many have been injured and died, as reported and shown in media. I know of demostrations that had gone rowdy, and both sides tried to outdo each other, but mostly by the government guards who are heavily fortified, and armed. I also know of many programs and projects that Marcos regime did that benefited the nation. Finally, in the court of law, here and abroad, human rights vioations were proven and awards have been given to victims. I don’t know what to make of all this. There certainly is a lot of propaganda about Marcos involvement in the Ninoy assasination, inspite of the Agrava Commission, the deed was certainly not linked with the late President Marcos. I also heard that UP brod frats will not kill each other. Certainly this whole thing is confusing, and definitely not yet unraveled and resolved. So let it be, for now, and for later maybe. Meanwhile, there is a nation to govern, and to govern responsibly, no matter all this historical event. We need leaders who will skipper the ship of state in an even keel and to calmer waters. That’s what leaders must do.

  6. I wish I had written this piece. Nobody could have presented it better, Senator. Congrats and thank you from all those who loved your old boss.

  7. Bonifacio Claudio on

    Father-like son… Ayos !!! Para kumpleto ang uniforme ng yellow eh dapat may suklob silang bayong sa ulo… oh, ‘di ba?! Tomooooooooo… hahahahahaha !!! oh, ‘di nga kasi, ‘di ba, Chris?! hahahahahahaha !!! Tomoooooooooo !!!

  8. As many events unfolds ,and historians are blessed to divulge the truth of the past ,it is their honor and responsibility to tell what they know, because the past holds what future leaders (the young generation) could learn on how he can best serve his country , be as President, Senators , etc. who possess the ability to . introduce unselfish bright ideas, dedication , love and compassion for his country fellowmen ,respectful of the law and psychologically fit and prepared to accept responsibility , unafraid for any consequences, challenges and threat , his highest position may face or encounter .

  9. Indeed, the reluctance, nay the indifference, of the presidents mother and son Aquinos to ferret out the truth regarding the assassination of their husband-father Senator Ninoy Aquino is bewildering and against human nature. This is especially true in the light of President Noynoy Aquino’s Boston revelation that he wanted vengeance or ” an eye for an eye” retribution for the brutal slaying of his father. This is as it should have been for a dutiful son to do. Or a devoted wife to have done. Ten years have elapsed since mother and son respectively have become president of the country with all the resources of the nation at their disposal to have determined the truth. There is no ground for optimism that the son will even lift a finger to try to determine who the real mastermind was in the remaining two years of his presidency. This is a failure that is a loss not only to the Aquino family but equally to the Filipino nation as well.

  10. Dictatorship is a crime of humanity (Hitler, Mosolini, Pinochet, Muammar Gaddapi atbp). Kung babaligtarin ng ilang barkada’t kasabwat ng pamilyang Marcos ang kasaysayan at igo-glorify at papupurian ang Diktadura (Marcos),

    Alam ng marami na mahihirapang tanggapin ng mamamayan European na kilalaning bayani si HITLER at MOSOLINI… Tiyak tayong hindi matatanggap ng mga RUSO (Russians) na gawing BAYANI si STALIN, gawing bayani ng mga KMER (cambodians) si POL POT, gawing BAYANI ng mga Libyan si Khaddafi at iba pa..

    Kung mananaig na iburol sa LIBINGAN ng mga BAYANI si MARCOS na isang pusakal na DIKTADOR, PAGTATAWANAN lang ng mundo ang Pilipinas..
    Kung sa bagay, isa ka (Sec Tatad) sa pangunahing nagtaguyod ng Marcos dictatorship sa bansa.

    • Tama si Kit. Communist si Ninoy. Kaya pinapatay sya ng mga rightist. I was fortunate to have associated, though short, with the former Secretary of Agriculture of the late President Magsaysay. In one occasion he related to me that Ninoy boasted to him that upon his arrival from a provincial sortie, he would be afforded a hero’s arrival by the military at the airport(forgot the name of the airport). The late secretary(a friend of Ninoy) doubted Ninoy’s boast because then, it was yet the time of Marcos’ regime. It turned out the military honors composed of communist rebels. His flight was a chartered one. FYI and FYR(Research).

  11. The sins of the past still remains the sins of the present, So much disdain and criticism for the late strongman yet this present administration continues the martial law style of politics. From KBL and now the Liberal party. Herding politicians through bribes or juicy positions to form one big ruling party is still the practice today, Do we have career officers in government and military who gets appointed to high or sensitive positions based on their merits or expertise? Definitely not. Jailing the opposition with false charges and shielding the allies is very much martial law practice. From Gen. Ver then now you have Purisima. Media was controlled then but try buying critical newspapers from the stands today and you will be lucky to even find one.

  12. QUESTION: Mr. Tatad why is it that Cory and PNoy despite the vast power they enjoy did not show interest to find out who masterminded Ninoy’s assassination?

    This is really, really a big question that begs an answer, esp. considering their vindictive nature.

  13. Yes..an open and objective debate about this never-ending issue of Martial Law evil and the Aquino’s so that we could at last be free and end this non-sense Sept. 21 propaganda that haunts us since 1972.

  14. 42 years already? Gosh Kit thanks for reminding us were getting old,
    As long as an Aquino or ally is in power – the “hero” and “saint” myth shall continue to poison the truth. That he was executed by a relative and they know it!., We are all living under a cloud of deception to continue the charade, for how else could you explain the mother and son’s disinterest in the case. The Avsecom soldiers have spoken post mortem, his penchant to payoff the Legislative to keep the throne?

    Kit, i suggest you read the memoirs of the late Doy Laurel, his description of Cory when she was presented by irrefutable evidence linking her relatives, and i hope you publish that particular book chapter and link the dots with reports from the Agrava Commission and Narvada Commission as well, it will glue you to your seat……

  15. There are many turning points in history and the outcome depends on the viewpoint of the viewer. Philippine Independence or staying a territory of the United States and finally becoming one of the states? Marcos dictatorship, good or bad? Aquino assasination? These are all things Filipinos love to talk about. Nothing will change the past. The problem we have is there is always someone covering up the facts when it happened and the truth is never revealed. So a consensus is never made. It is just like now when DAP documents are being covered up and destroyed.

  16. I wonder what good did it to our country when Ninoy Aquino was assassinated in MIA then. I think we have regress more when Cory became the president. The only one who beniffited from Ninoy death was his family and not our country.

  17. Past is past, we must look for the future. The only thing we can do is learn from the past and not dwell on it. Our generation has produced so many events that we could look upon and learn. The only thing that is sad about it is we may never learn.

    • Tama ka Ding, we must learn from the past not dwell on it. We jailed Ali Baba but released the Forty Thieves as what the late Jaime Cardinal Sin said. The Forty Thieves multiplied so with their PDAF and DAPS. All of us must be prepared for these THIEVES, Di ba Ding ?

  18. Dominador D. Canastra on

    For the sake of truth and accurate information, which should guide the decision-making of citizens and leaders in a democracy, we Filipinos must know all the facts about the Marcoses and the Aquinos. Not only them but but everyone important in our history.

  19. Yellow creator,cronies at media,
    Ang pinaKa-demonyong manipulators ng kasaysayan.
    Ang yellow oligarchy at haciendero na humahawak ng power ay samasama tinatag ang kasinungaling,na ang Aquino ay pinaka-mabuting tao na dapat paniwalaan, hindi dahil ito ang totoo, kung hindi ito paraan muli nilang makuha ang Mga yaman ng bayan at muling makuha muli ang kapangyarihan na inalis ni Marcos sa kanilang mga kamay!
    Mula noon Ang mga Aquino at yellow gangs ay nagpasasa sa salapi ng bayan.ang masakit ginawa pang hero at santa ang pumatay sa mga magsasaka!
    Ang salot na yellow ang naging kasangkapan upang gahasain ang bayan at naghati sa bansa .
    Ang dapat ang kulay ng bandera ng pilipinas ang iwinawagayway ay kundi ang yellow na hanggang ngayon ang nagpapahirap sa bansa
    At higit Sa lahat patuloy sa pagsipsip ng yaman at pagnanakaw sa salapi ng bayan,
    Ang media na komokontrol sa katotohanan, abs-cbn ang kamay upang patuloy na lukohin ang taong bayan,
    Panahon na para linisin ang salot,ang demonyong yellow !!
    At ibaba sa lupa ang holy Aquino!!

    • let the truth out so that everyone knows who are the real enemy(s) of the people. the news about like fathe and son translate to like lolo and father to son. what happened in plasa miranda is a truth

  20. If a person can commit murder in revenge for an election defeat of a father that was rubbed in with a parade of a coffin depicting his political demise and if the same person can steal a presidential election and lie with staged fabrications to justify his self-serving marital rule to satisfy his lust for power and avoid retribution, then what would a nation of upstanding citizens have to do to such a person? Naturally not wait for 20 years but immediately put to sleep this murderous, lying and thieving animal. It took the United States 89 years before its first and greatest president in the person of Lincoln was assassinated. If a great US president like Lincoln could get assassinated, how much more justification is required to kill a mad man like Ferdinand Marcos. Besides RP being only a 37 year-old young democracy in 1983, I believe presidential assassination is not in the DNA of the Filipinos.
    For the Aquinos, Nalundasans, and the other victims of the Marcos martial rule, the Marcoses and the Laurels are still around to make amends for their past.

  21. Horacio B. Freires on

    The truth now is coming out. . .after the dust has been settled fgor decades. . the itenerary of MARCIAL BONIFACIO’s secret coming back. . only Cory Knows. . not Marcos. . not Imelda. . nor the CIA. . A kapamilya is the mastermind. . not out hatred. . but out of business interest & power. . What will happen to his business if Ninoy will replace Marcos. . the Mastermind’s head is only filled with money. . & power for his family. . knows whoever will kill Ninoy, Marcos will be blamed by the public. . an ingenious mastermind. . He was connected to AVSECOM at the time of murder. . Mr. Martinez has his affidavit. . He was later murdered at the Roxas Blvd a few months ago. . I am watching current history unfolds as KARMA’S LAW manifest itself on the family that benefited from Ninoys murder. .Mother and son in power. . but did not give justice to that poor guy named in the passport as “MARCIAL BONIFACIO”

    • muriel magtanggol on

      Just look at the friends of Ninoy who came into power…did any one work for our progress or their own? Look at the relatives…look at those anti-Marcoas activists like Binay. Did they make our country any better? Did they lessen or eliminate corruption? Kitang kita ang ebidencia. Tell me who your friends and relatives are and i’ll know who you are!

  22. if and when bongbong becomes president, history will be re-writen. i like to see how a bongbong presidency observe sept.21, feb. 24 and august 11. would this set the record straight or would it further muddle and complicate things leaving our youth lost to reality?