Manila archbishop tells Filipinos to remember lessons of martial law; groups protest in QC
“Ang mga mahahalagang aral na ito ay hindi natin matututunan kung pilit nating itatanggi o kakalimutan ang dilim ng kasaysayan,” Advincula said.
On the 50th-year anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, the bells of the Manila Cathedral played “Bayan Ko,” every hour on September 21, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The activists held a cultural protest at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Martial Law declaration, and honored the victims of the military rule.
Members of various groups lighted lanterns with names and photos of Martial Law victims as part of activities along University Avenue in UP Diliman.
Several groups gathered in the university to commemorate what many called one of the darkest chapters in the country’s history with a protest parade and concert titled “‘Singkwenta’ Mga Kanta at Kwento Tungkol sa Martial Law.”
Marcos Sr. declared martial law on Sept. 21, 1972, citing the need to contain growing public unrest and the possibility of a communist takeover after a series of bombings in Manila.
Senators, meanwhile, expressed conflicting opinions over how the nation should mark the 50th anniversary of the declaration of martial law.
Senators Robinhood Padilla and Jose Jinggoy Estrada, who ran under President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s Uniteam slate during the elections, urged Filipinos to “move on” as the Marcoses are not at fault over anything.
“What is there to apologize for?” Estrada said. “Mag move on na tayo (Let’s move on). Imagine, President Marcos got the highest number of votes in Philippine history, 31 million. Hindi pa ba sapat ‘yon? (Isn’t that enough?)”
Estrada explained that the 31 million votes prove that the Marcoses have nothing to apologize for.
Padilla shared the same views, saying that the heirs should not be blamed for their father’s faults.
“Kung may kasalanan man ang dating pangulo hindi po kasalanan ng anak ‘yon. Kahit po sa Islamic faith, Catholic faith, ‘yung kasalanan ni Adan hindi naman kasalanan natin,” Padilla said. “Pag hindi tayo nakaalis diyan sa Marcos issue at martial law issue, kailan pa tayo mag-grow?
Senate minority leader Koko Pimentel opposes the views of Estrada and Padilla.
Pimentel, son of former Senate President Nene Pimentel who fought against the senior Marcos’ regime, encouraged Filipinos to learn from lessons of the past.
For Senator Risa Hontiveros, remembering is not enough and efforts should be made to “keep the truth alive.”
“It is not enough that we remember. Let us continue meditating, sharing, and learning from each other,” Hontiveros said in a statement. “The coping mechanism of cherry-picking and selective amnesia should not be tolerated.”
“Noong ako’y nagsimula nang kumilos at manindigan, wala sa aming hanay ang nagsasabing bakit ngayon lang. Hindi nila ako hinusgahan. They welcomed us because kinikilala nung mga nagma-martsa sa kalye na mayroong mas maliwanag at mas mahalagang layunin ‘yung pagkakaisa ng lahat laban sa diktador,” he said.
Supporters of the Marcoses, meanwhile, claim the late dictator’s regime was the Philippines’ golden era.
Under General Order No. 2-A he signed on Sept. 26, 1972 or five days after signing Proclamation No. 1081, Marcos Sr. authorized the military to arrest personalities believed to be part of a “conspiracy” to seize power.
By the time Marcos addressed the nation on Sept. 23, 1972 about his decision to declare martial law, several personalities, Including opposition senators Benigno Aquino Jr, Jose Diokno, Francisco Rodrigo, and Ramon Mitra Jr. had already been arrested and sent to jail.
Around 100 out of the 400 personalities on the arrest list were already detained in Camp Crame in Quezon City by 4 a.m. of Sept. 23, the Official Gazette said.
Approximately 8,000 individuals, which included 1971 Constitutional Convention delegates, journalists, students, labor leaders, and even a few members of the country’s elite families, were also arrested on the same day.
Marcos Sr. lifted Martial Law in January 1981, although the dictatorship continued until his ouster on Feb. 25, 1986 through the military-backed People Power revolution.
According to reports from global human rights watchdog Amnesty International, there were 100,000 victims of martial law, with 3,000 killed, 34,000 tortured and 70,000 arrested.
The Marcoses also amassed an estimated $5-10 billion, or some P500 billion, in ill-gotten wealth, based on the World Bank-United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Stolen Asset Recovery report.