why sept 21 #MartialLaw

manolo quezon rightly points out that martial law did not begin on the 21st.  in the explainer The big lie manolo tells us how things unfolded over the 21st and the 22nd to the 23rd of september 1972.  as a matter of fact we were still a free people on the 21st.  in fact marcos gave the GO signal only after enrile was ambushed kuno, that is, on the evening of the 22nd.  and yes we only found out on the 23rd when we awoke to a multimedia blackout that lasted almost all day, and we went to sleep with tv images of marcos declaring that martial law was in place, like it or not.

… martial law was announced with silence: people woke up to discover that TV and radio stations were off the air. Later in the day, some stations started playing easy listening music and some stations aired cartoons. But Marcos’ speechwriters were slow, then the teleprompter broke down, and the speech had to be hand-written on kartolina. So it wasn’t until dinnertime that Marcos finally appeared on TV and the country found out martial law was in place.

So, why do so many people who actually lived through martial law, misremember when it was proclaimed?

Marcos once said that the people would accept anything so long as it was legal. Marcos said he’d imposed martial law on September 21. We know this wasn’t true, because the document itself was co-signed, not by Alejandro Melchor, his executive secretary, but by a presidential assistant. This was because Melchor had left for abroad before Marcos actually signed the martial law proclamation sometime between the evening and early morning of September 22 to 23.

marcos was known to believe in the occult, and in the magic of the number 7 and its multiples such as the lucky 21, which could be why proclamation 1081 is dated sept  21 even if it was not signed until sept 22, or maybe 23.

Marcos went further to wipe the public’s memory clean. He later proclaimed September 21 as Thanksgiving Day. And in every speech, every documentary, every poster, September 21 was the date enshrined as the birth of the New Society. So much so that the public forgot what it had actually lived through. This is the power of propaganda. By altering the date, Marcos helped erase not only September 21 as the last day of freedom, but also how that freedom was lost between September 22 and 23. His lawyerly piece of paper, his Proclamation 1081, became the ultimate instrument for national amnesia.

So, remember September 21 by all means. Not as the fake news date Marcos wanted you to remember, but for the things he wanted you to forget: a still-independent Senate, freedom of assembly, and a free press. But remember what he wanted you to forget: that it was on September 23 that the nation woke up to discover all these things were suddenly gone. And that the next day, the last institution standing, the Supreme Court, received the warning: play ball, or be abolished. They played ball.

indeed 21 worked for marcos but only in the early years of martial law.  parang 22’s vibe kicked in towards the end, but that’s another story.  anyway, 21’s vibe is good for people getting together, rising above self-interests, reconciling differences for the good of the whole.

and it’s not all that inappropriate, marking the 21st as a day of infamy, the day that marcos marked as thanksgiving day, the day marking the birth of “the new society” — THAT was the big lie.  the promise of “bagong lipunan” didn’t pan out, except for the crooks.

notes on edsa uno, change in a time of chaos

we get asked: paano ba mag-edsa.  aliw.  naging verb na ang dati ay noun, which is good. it’s a good question to be asking, and to be thinking on.

in october last year, in the run-up to the burial of marcos sa libingan ng mga bayani, when there was dilawan talk of ousting duterte by staging an edsa in support of the president’s impeachment or a coup d’etat, i said no way.  i was sure there was no ousting duterte: aint gonna happen.

…their best hakot efforts would be as nothing compared to the throngs that the duterte camp is certainly capable of mobilizing throughout the country.  of course they could also shoot for a “crony”-business boycott a la pre-EDSA 86, but the duterte camp could just as easily mount a counter-boycott of the vp’s business allies, and it’s easy to imagine kung sinong pupulutin sa kangkungan.

but here we are again.  and this time, ubos na, said na, ang benefit-of-the-doubt.   read radikalchick’s How we lost our rights in 15 months #Duterte.

i thought the CHR one-k budget was past the limit and hoped it would be the last of the offensives for the nonce, coming so soon after the marcos 100 celeb sa libingan ng mga bayani.  like, you know, give us a break?

instead it got worse.  nasundan ng sereno impeachment — one of two complaints found sufficient in form and substance by house justice  committee (next week pa daw si bautista) —  na nasundan pa ng ombudsman’s indictment of pNoy over mamasapano, this while the president warns against violent protests on sept 21, the war in marawi rages on, finance sec dominguez salivates for the marcos wealth, jinggoy is suddenly out on bail, and the president just called out chr chief gaston: why daw does he care so much about male kids being killed. omg, the president doesn’t care?  it would seem that they really have no valid case vs gascon, and so they’re resorting to dirty tricks to pressure him into resigning.  (why kaya aren’t they doing that to comelec chief baustista instead?)

“You are so fixated with the death of young males, kaya nagdududa ako na pedophile kang gago ka.”

offensives galore.  nang-iinis, nambabastos, nananadya, dismissing us as bleeding-heart dilawans (which most of us are not)  or subversive communists (which most of us are not either), hoping to provoke us, no doubt, deliberately fueling a simmering rage, the kind that could lead to angry protests that could turn violent which would give him the excuse to sic the police on protesters, sabay declare ng martial law.

paano nga ba mag-edsa.  all i know for sure is that it will take more than one huge protest rally where dilawans and leftists, and everyone in between, come together for a common cause.  the september 21 rally of the multisectoral Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) that very specifically seeks only an end to drug killings and the attendant fascism is one such common cause that both extremist dilawans and extremist leftists (both affirmists and rejectionists) should have no difficulty getting behind in union with independent middle forces.

lampasan muna sana yung “but i want duterte ousted” at yung “but i don’t like leni” for maximum effect in the context of a process unfolding.

the template, of course, is the august 1983 to february 1986 movement that started out as a call to justice for ninoy, justice for all that only towards the end evolved into marcos resign.  it bears pointing out that the ruling mantra of every rally over those 30 months was NON-VIOLENCE.  it helped, of course, that the cops practised maximum tolerance then, kept their distance, marcos was on his best behavior since ninoy’s assassination, the world was watching kasi.

the world is still watching, but these are different times.  we have trigger-happy cops and a president who threatens martial law if rallies get out of hand.  sana the cops keep their distance on sept 21.  but if not, don’t push back, don’t strike back with sticks or stones, don’t burn rubber tires, not even effigies.  where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

non-violent tactics worked then and can work now as long as everyone’s on the same page.  one page at a time.

shamelessly sipsip lower house

119 representatives daw voted to cut CHR’s budget to 1K a year.  i wanted to know who these reps are but they have yet to be officially identified.  the official journal of that event has yet to be posted on the congress website (click on legislative functions, then house journals).  will it ever be?

Critics of the decision may want to know the names of those lawmakers, but the chamber only did a headcount, without recording their names.

As Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas explained it: “There is no such record as voting was by ayes and nays.”

umm, we’ll settle for the roll call then and draw our own conclusions.  meanwhile i beg the 119 (maybe less) to please read inquirer‘s editorial Zero understanding of the Charter?  read also philstar‘s jarius bondoc Given House’s reasoning, CHR deserves P1 trillion, and alex magno Backfire.

The House just pulled the rug from under all official pretenses about the rule of law. The legislators have become unwitting parties to those who claim the country has now fallen under a tyranny.

From all indications, the majority of senators appear inclined to restore the CHR’s original budget – and even increase it as a rebuke to the brainless action of the House.

If the House insists on its budget cut, it risks a confrontation with the Senate. That confrontation could bog down the approval of the entire national appropriations act, leaving government without a budget for next year.

The House could not possibly win such a confrontation. It does not have an armory of justifications for taking the action that they did. The CHR may not be the most popular institution around, but there seems to be no public support for lynching it.

More important, a confrontation between the House and the Senate will be a contest between plain pique and vindictiveness on one hand and the properly appreciated demands of statesmanship. In such a confrontation, statesmanship (and thus properly mustered reason) will be on the side of the Senate.

yes, let’s get behind the senate on this.  by katrina’s last count 16 senators including the senate president #StandWithCHR.  sana madagdagan pa.  20 at best, counting out diehards sotto and pacquiao.  but wait, according to harvey keh’s facebook status, even pacquiao wants the CHR budget restored.  hmm.  maybe he got a memo from the palace?  duterte was just joking when he said he wanted the CHR abolished?

sobra naman kasi sumipsip itong lower house.  read philstar’s ana marie pamintuan Budget cut.

… if congressmen weren’t busy licking the boots of their boss at Malacañang, they would be doing justice to their other role in a democracy besides legislation, which is to provide checks and balances to the executive.

As things stand, that function now seems to rest wholly on the Senate. Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who is behaving these days as if he’s ruler of the universe – and creating a host of enemies along the way – should learn from one of the longest serving of his predecessors, Jose de Venecia.

In his final days as House chief, Joe de V went around wearing a wristband amulet. This, he told us, was meant to protect him from all the backstabbers in the House. As we all know, the amulet didn’t work. Joe de V suffered more stab wounds (all in the back) than that corpse fished out of a creek in Gapan, Nueva Ecija, identified as 14-year-old Reynaldo de Guzman.

imagine kung wala nang senado.  fair warning to citizens who think a unicameral congress run by the likes of alvarez and fariñas under a federal system is the way to go.  isip isip, mga kapatid.

100 years of ferdinand marcos

BATAC CITY—Opening a forum here on the legacies of Marcos, whose 100th birthday on Sept. 11 had been declared by Malacañang as public holiday in Ilocos Norte province, Imee referred to her late father’s comment when they landed at the Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu after their ouster following the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution.

“We were all in tears and everyone said, ‘The end is nigh, it is finished, we are dead and doomed,’” Imee narrated.

“My father said, ‘No, children. To my family and to everyone, history is not done with me yet.”

… Imee said some people had described the Marcos 100 Forum as “very disappointing because it is very simple.” But the family organized a “humble celebration for an extremely austere and simple almost monkish man like my father,” she said.

She said: “There will be no parade, like what my mother [former first lady and now Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos] wants. No concert, like what [former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.] wants, and there will be no shows and dancing, like what I want.”

Instead, the family and the Ilocos Norte government organized debates, storytelling sessions, and a lecture series “that will define Marcos 100 in this very reflective effort, the Marcos legacy,” she said.

hard naman to fault the wife and children, family and friends, for celebrating the centennial of ferdinand marcos in as big a way as possible.  ferdinand marcos, after all, was, truly, unlike any other president we have had. 

The forum, hosted at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) Teatro Ilocandia from September 8-9, is an effort of the Marcos family to make this year’s commemoration of their patriarch’s birthday mirror his character: “very cerebral, reflective, and mindful.”

It contrasts previous celebrations of FEM’s birthday every September 11, which had involved parades, flash mobs, concerts, and other festivities. Governor Marcos explained, “Gawin natin ang gusto ng tanging ama ko: simple, diretsuhin, payak, intelektwal, at palaisipan.”

The North remembers,” she said, “Ferdinand E. Marcos is, after all, every Ilocano. The story of every Filipino is embedded in that biography of being born of an arid and harsh landscape, struggling through life and every adversity, and finally coming out triumphant.”

Gracing the forum as lecturers are De La Salle University (DLSU) Professor Antonio P. Contreras; Former Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) President Dr. Raul M. Sunico; UP Prof. Clarita R. Carlos; lawyer Estelito P. Mendoza, solicitor-general during the FEM presidency; Marcos’ former Budget and Education Secretary Dr. Jaime C. Laya; and the former president’s namesake, Former Senator Ferdinand “Bong Bong” R. Marcos Jr.

Discussions revolve around Marcos’ sense and narrative of nationalism; the “Golden Era” of arts and culture during his administration; his foreign policy; FEM’s martial law; the Philippine economy during that time; and the barangay in institution-building.

“Why is it that this debate, this argument about who President Marcos is, continues to burn, unabated, a hundred years after his birth? What is his legacy? What do we bear today that bears his mark and will have changed the Filipino people forever and made the Ilocanos what they are today?”

the non-ilocanos remember, too.  i look forward to transcripts or videos posted online.  it could be enlightening to read / hear what some of our public intellectuals are saying about the marcos dictatorship these days, 28 years after his death, 31 years after his ouster.  palaisipan naman talaga.

Ang problema kasi noon, ang dami-daming trabaho ng papa ko na lahat umaasa sa kanya. Sa bandang huli, noong nagkasakit, nagkaloko-loko na kasi. Either talagang nakikinabang, o nag-abuso, o hindi alam ang ginagawa yung mga nasa baba. Kasi everybody, for years and years, siya ang inaasahan (The problem then was that my father was loaded with work that everyone relied on him. Towards the end, when he was sick, things got crazy. People below him either gained, abused or didn’t know what they were doing because everyone relied on him for so long),” the governor pointed out.

it can’t be easy spinning marcos history, especially now that they’ve offered to return some of the wealth that imelda had always claimed to be rightfully all theirs. i wonder now if duterte wasn’t supposed to announce it until after the centennial fiesta, but he couldn’t wait, needed to distract us from all the killings?

marcos was right, history is not done with him yet.  or with imelda and kids.  heto nga’t magsosoli daw ng yaman na hindi daw nila sadyang natangay.  kaloka.

by the way, it is not the first time such an offer has been made.  back in ’89, said vp doy laurel, marcos’s dying wish was to come home and be buried beside his mother, and he was prepared to donate 90% of his wealth to the philippine government and the filipino people via some foundation, except that imelda was willing to donate only 75 to 80%, and anyway cory didn’t even want to hear of it.

so this is a take two.  90% sounds good to me, actually.  that is, 90% of ALL the wealth, found AND unfound.  time to come clean.  may the spirit of the “monkish” father so inspire.

and then maybe let’s put it all in a trust fund of sorts, waiting for a visionary kind of president who truly cares, and actually knows what to do, to make the economy, and the politics, work not just for the few rich but for the many, many, many more who are poor.