Category: history

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.

a marcos milestone: an admission of “questionable wealth”

so, is it to distract us from the alleged links of paolo duterte to smuggling and shabu, this startling revelation by the president that the marcoses are offering to return some of the “questionable wealth” to help the economy?

“The Marcoses, I will not name the spokesman, sabi nila (they said), ‘we’ll open everything and hopefully return yung mga nakita na talaga (those that had been discovered),’” he added. The President said the Marcoses are also willing to return a “few gold bars.”

“Sabi nila na, malaki ang deficit mo, maybe the (sic) projected spending pero hindi ito malaki baka makatulong, but we are ready to open and bring back, sabi niya, pati yung a few gold bars (They said that, your deficit is high, maybe the projected spending but this is not big, maybe it will help, but we are ready to open and bring back, they said, even a few gold bars),” he said. 

in barely coherent sentences, but yeah, we get the drift even if  the president was very careful to say just enough so we get it that there is an offer, and he is open to the offer.  gov imee marcos, for her part, does not deny it, though parang she was caught unprepared, parang the prez didn’t warn them that he would be making it public when he did?

Imee pins hopes on Duterte to end all charges vs Marcoses
MANILA – Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos on Tuesday kept mum about the possible return of the family’s ill-gotten wealth to the government, saying there are no formal negotiations about the matter.

“Wala pa, wala pa. Tiwala kami sa President na siya ang makakapagtapos ng deka-dekadang kaso at yung pamilya nag-uusap pa pero nasa kamay ng mga abogado,” she said when asked if negotiations have started about the return of the Marcos wealth.  Asked if there was an intention to return, the governor said: “Pag-usapan na lang ng mga abogado.”

The governor refused to take any more questions, advising media to instead wait for the statement of their legal counsel.

this distraction is up there as the most distractive of recent times.  because this is the first time ever that the marcoses are conceding that some plundering of the nation’s wealth did happen under ferdinand’s watch.  there is even a justification offered, acc to duterte:

“Sabi nila, isauli nila para walang ano—and the only reason, sabi nila, was the father was just protecting the economy for the [eventuality] na umalis siya. He thought of regaining the Malacañang, that is why ganito ang lumabas na parang naitago,” he added.

ferdinand and fabian did plan to recapture the palace.  the story is, marcos and ver meant to regroup and set up government in paoay kaya lang the marcoses made the mistake of asking the americans, and not the presidential pilots with choppers on standby, to fly them out of the palace.  upon cory’s request and reagan’s instructions, the americans flew him to hawaii instead.  which is why imelda and bongbong insist that they were kidnapped.

this is not to say that if marcos had made it to paoay, naisoli sana agad o nagamit nang maayos para sa bayan ang questionable wealth.  the only thing that’s clear is that if he had made it to paoay and managed to regroup and challenge the legitimacy of the cory aquino government, it would have meant civil war.  at ibinato pa rin sa kanya tiyak ang isyu ng nakaw na yaman, nadiskubre pa rin tiyak ang mga secret $ accounts at ang tone-toneladang ginto, at kung ano-ano pa.

it is quite conceivable, actually, that this is a sign na suko na, give up na, si imelda at ang magkakapatid.  maaaring ngayon lang nila na-realize o natanggap na hindi bibitawan ever ang isyung plunder in the time of marcos, and they’re finally tired of being the bad guys, still the kontravidas in the current telenovela of nation.  i imagine that they must really really like to be done with this three decades old case and wipe away the stain on the marcos name if only for the sake of the grandchildren and, sige na nga, ferdinand in his centennial year.  why not indeed.  in effect, this is a win for nation, panalo ang bayan — the marcoses blinked first.

save the nation movement‘s butch valdes thinks it’s a real offer.

Butch Valdes : … but it would need the cooperation of Duterte to make official requests to intl banks holding the gold. Their previous condition was that the Marcoses are exonerated from all cases against them by the Phil govt. FM’s will indicated that 90% be given to the filipino people thru acceptable foundations. I think Imelda wants it implemented before she goes.

siyempre galit na galit ang mga anti-marcos sa parteng ito: …”we’ll open everything and hopefully return yung mga nakita na talaga (those that had been discovered),” at dito rin: ‘The President said the Marcoses are also willing to return a “few gold bars.”’  dapat daw ay isauli LAHAT ng ninakaw.  at ang tanong nila ay, ano ang kapalit, ano ang ex-deal with the marcoses.  exoneration from all cases din kaya, as with international banks?  read  Palace vows return of Marcos wealth will adhere to laws.

it would be naive to think that the marcoses would ever give up EVERYTHING.  no doubt imelda has documents galore to prove that some of the wealth is legally theirs.  and they will surely quote from the bible: the child will not be punished for the parent’s sins; nor the wife for the husband’s, yes?  heto nga’t gusto na nilang magsauli ng hindi sa kanila.

kung magmamatigasan, negotiations could take another decade before a final settlement.  but because duterte needs the money now na, who knows, baka ma-fast-track nang katakut-takot, and next thing we know, done deal na.  according to justice sec vitaliano aguirre:

The president is authorized and has the power to make compromise or any agreement with the Marcoses. If there will be a new agreement, there should be enabling law or initiative law to be issued by the President himself,” he said.

top off my mind:  if imelda and the children are now admitting that ferdinand was guilty of some plunder, is he now still deserving of the burial as bayani?  what about imelda’s jewels?  will she continue to claim them as legally hers?  sana ibalato na niya sa taong-bayan.  she can spin it anyway she likes, basta she gives up her claim on condition that the jewels are showcased along with her shoes and ternos, soaps and perfumes, as artifacts of a time when she was quite the queen.  as tourist attraction, this would be a gift that won’t stop giving.

When will we have ‘Philippines First’?

Rigoberto D. Tiglao

WHILE the new US President Donald Trump is inarguably a demagogic megalomaniac, he demonstrated a streak of genius, or a deep insight into his countrymen’s feelings, that made him win, when he made his campaign battle cries “America First” as well as “We will make America great again.”

Read on…

marcos burial, duterte, history

There are certain things that are better left for history—not this Court—to adjudge. The Court could only do so much in accordance with the clearly established rules and principles. Beyond that, it is ultimately for the people themselves, as the sovereign, to decide, a task that may require the better perspective that the passage of time provides. In the meantime, the country must move on and let this issue rest.”

that’s from the SC ponencia dismissing the petitions against the burial of marcos in the libingan ng mga bayani.  and here’s president duterte in the wake of that:

“Now the question about the dictatorship of Marcos is something which cannot be determined at this time. It has to have history. Kasi ho, ‘yung nasaktan, and it was a contention really of a political fight initially that turned sour because of the power struggle of the ruling political families in this country, and almost it deteriorated into something almost like a revolution. That part of the sins of Marcos has yet to be proven by a competent court. ‘Yung sabihin lang ‘yan nawala ‘yung pera that is altogether another different issue. As far as the right or the privilege to be buried sa Libingan ng mga Bayani, I simply followed the law. Wala tayong magawa diyan. … He was a president and he was a soldier. I am limited to that issue.”

clearly we have a president and nine supreme court justices who think we’re still in the dark ages and history can be written only after some fifty years, when the participants in a life-changing event or period are either dead or suffering from alzheimers or dementia, that is, with faulty or no memories at all, and by then bongbong or imee or one of their kids would be back in the palace and martial law would be celebrated as a golden age and the four days of EDSA ’86 would come down as a 9/11 kind of disaster for nation, as in, you know, a false flag kind of ugly thingy that unjustly interrupted marcos rule.

in fact, martial law pa lang, the martial law story, the unfolding, was already being documented by amnesty international and other human rights groups, and foreign observers were monitoring developments and taking notes, and soon after EDSA, testimonies of the tortured and the families of the salvaged were put on record, and then the books started coming out: primitivo mijares’s The Conjugal Dictatorship written in ’75, cecilio arillo’s Breakaway (1986), james fenton’s Snap Revolution (1986), raymond bonner’s Waltzing with a Dictator (1987), ninotchka rosca’s Endgame: The Fall of Marcos (1987), lewis simon’s Worth Dying For (1987), Dictatorship and Revolution: Roots of People Power edited by aurora javate de dios, petronilo bn. daroy, and lorna kalaw-tirol (1988), sterling seagrave’s The Marcos Dynasty (1988), stanley karnow’s In Our Image (1989), among many many publications into the ’90s, ricardo manapat’s Some Are Smarter Than Others (1991), mark thompson’s The Anti-Marcos Struggle (1996), paul hutchcroft’s Booty Capitalism (1998), alfred mccoy’s Closer Than Brothers (1999), to name a few, tracking not only the stories and numbers of human rights violations but also of the “rise” and fall of the economy, the ballooning of the foreign debt, the crony capitalism, the institutionalized looting, imelda’s jewels and mansions, the swiss accounts, atbpang kahindikhindik at kalunuslunos na mga kaganapan.

never has the marcos camp issued any categorical denials, issue by issue, with supporting documents — just a finger pointed at ver as the culprit in human rights violations, and another at the fabled yamashita treasure as the source of the marcos wealth.  deafening is the silence of FVR, honasan, and lacson on the stories of torture, murder, and disappearances.

president duterte insists that he is only following the law that imelda invokes, the one qualifying marcos, as former president and soldier, for burial in the libingan ng mga bayani, even as he and imelda et al. willfully ignore the exceptions laid down by the very same law.  read associate sc justice antonio carpio’s dissenting opinion:

AFPR G 161-375, which respondents rest on to justify the interment of Marcos at the LNMB, specifically provides that “personnel who were dishonorably separated / reverted/ discharged from the service” are not qualified to the interred at the LNMB. Marcos, who was forcibly ousted form the Presidency by the sovereign act of the Filipino people, falls under this disqualification.

In Marcos v. Manglapus (1989), the Court described Marcos as “a dictator forced out of office and into exile after causing twenty years of political, economic and social havoc in the country.” In short he was ousted by the Filipino people. Marcos was forcibly removed from the Presidency by what is now referred to as the People Power Revolution This is the strongest form of dishonorable discharge from office since it is meted out by the direct act of the sovereign people.

The fact of Marcos’ ouster is beyond judicial review. This Court has no power to review the legitimacy of the People Power Revolution as it was successfully carried out by the sovereign people who installed the revolutionary government of Corazon C. Aquino. The people have spoken by ratifying the 1987 Constitution, which was drafted under the Aquino government installed by the People Power Revolution. The Court has been steadfast in dismissing challenges to the legitimacy of the Aquino government, and has declared that its legitimacy is not a justiciable matter that can be acted upon by the Court.

As the removal of Marcos from the Presidency is no longer within the purview of judicial review, we must accept this as an incontrovertible fact which has become part of the history of the Philippines. This ouster, which was directly carried out by the sovereign act of the Filipino people, constitutes dishonorable removal from the service. Marcos was forcibly removed from the position as President and Commander-in-Chief by the Filipino people. In Estrada v. Desierto (2001), the Court reiterated the legitimacy of the removal of Marcos and the establishment of the Aquino government:

“No less than the Freedom Constitution declared that the Aquino government was installed through a direct exercise of the power of the Filipino people in defiance of the provisions of the 1973 Consyitution, as amended. It is familiar learning that the legitimacy of a government sired by a successful revolution by people power is beyond judicial scrutiny for that government automatically orbits out of the constitutional loop.”

The removal of Marcos from the Presidency, therefore, was a direct exercise of the sovereign act of the Fiipino people that is “beyond judicial scrutiny.” It cannot be said that this removal was an “honorable” one. Truly, there is nothing more dishonorable for a President than being forcibly removed from office by the direct sovereign act of the people. (pp3-4)

the cruelest and most condemnable cut of all is the way president duterte shrugs off EDSA ’86 as simply the culmination of a political fight between two families and nothing more, when in fact ninoy was mostly helplessly in jail, and then in exile, and then dead on the tarmac, while marcos’s people were mostly committing gross human rights violations with impunity, among other morally turpid stuff.  read marcos, kleptocracy, moral turpitude.

According to Amnesty International, 3,249 were killed; 34,000 were tortured and 70,000 were imprisoned during the Marcos dictatorship. The Human Rights Victims Claims Board, meanwhile, has already received more than 75,000 applications for compensation.

and someone please tell the prez that the “something like a revolution” that successfully ousted marcos was not even endorsed by cory until the third day of EDSA, feb 24, when she finally made a brief appearance in front of the POEA, and only because the sovereign people who were in the throes of revolution gave her no choice but to reconcile and join hands with ninoy’s jailer enrile vs. marcos.

it bears repeating, too, as often as i have to, that also on day three, the dictator marcos ordered the bombing of camp crame where FVR and enrile were holed up.  fortunately for nation, the marines (who did not join the rebel forces and were poised to fire from camp aguinaldo) refused to follow marcos’s orders because hosts of unarmed civilians inside and outside the camp would have been hit, too.  please read my first chronology (1996) here and/or EDSA Uno the book (2013), both fully documented, the latter available at the UP press bookshop in diliman and f. sionil jose’s solidaridad in malate.  or i could send the president a hundred copies for family and friends, cabinet officials and other allies, FYI lang, in the spirit of FOI, just say the word.

i concede that marcos did some good, particularly when he got the U.S. to pay rent for the military bases in subic and clark in ’76, even if it was less than (just half of) the $1B kissinger first offered (that he foolishly turned down) for a period of 5 years.  but land reform?  it was selective, to put it mildly.  infrastructure?  that’s par for the course, isn’t it.  though imelda’s babies — the CCP, the heart, lung, and kidney centers — were / are winners, and so too was imee’s short-lived ECP.

i draw the line though at rice self-sufficiency which was also short-lived.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte during his presidential campaign kick off rally in Tondo, Manila on Tuesday said the late Ferdinand E. Marcos is the best president the country ever had. He said Marcos was a good president before he became a dictator, praising his Biyaya ng Dagat and Masagana 99 programs.

“On hindsight, kung balikan ko ang panahon, noon at ngayon, kung hindi lang siya tumagal ng pagka-presidente, kung hindi lang siya naging diktador na matagal, pinaka the best na presidente na dumaan, Marcos,” he said while the crowd cheered.

thing is, both masagana 99 and biyayang dagat were credit programs that failed, according to this article on AIM’s website:

In the early 1970s, the main challenge was providing credit to the poor; there were market imperfections most experts concluded. If the private service, particularly private banks, didn’t want to provide credit to the poor, could the government do it then? Thus, the government implemented many credit programs for the poor. Even government agencies that were not financial institutions were implementing credit programs to address what was perceived as market imperfections: there was Masagana 99 (Bountiful Harvest 99) which provided loans to help farmers harvest 99 canvas of rice per hectare; there was Biyayang Dagat (Ocean’s Gift), a credit program for the fisherfolks, and Tulong sa Tao (Help for the People), loans for livelihood projects. But all these government-managed credit programs experienced very low repayment rate among the borrowers, even if government agencies were offering subsidized credit programs with minimal or no interest rates. There was also the mindset among those borrowers that what the government agencies were offering were dole-outs. Government credit programs failed. Director Almario teased, “Masagana 99 became Masamang 99, and Biyayang Dagat became Buwayang Dagat.” 

and both were programs launched during martial law, not before.  i have praised president duterte for his sense of history, declaring the little lectures priceless, but only about the moro story and american imperialism.  about marcos, martial law, and EDSA, i dare say the president needs to read up, rethink, and reboot, and so do the nine justices of the supreme court.

it’s not too late, mr. president.  it doesn’t take rocket science, or a crystal ball, to see that a marcos burial in the libingan ng mga bayani will not bring healing, rather it is certain to deepen worsen exacerbate the wounds and divisions that already afflict nation.

i would address the same appeal to the marcos family, but a mutual friend, leslie bocobo, who cheered the SC decision of nov 8, has done me better with this facebook status of nov 12.

It is my personal opinion that after the Marcos family, led by former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, VP Bongbong Marcos, Gov. Imee Marcos and Irene Marcos Araneta, acknowledge and thank the Supreme Court for finally giving its affirmative decision to allow a controversial remains a befitting final resting place in the LNMB, that the Marcoses, as a family, decide thereafter to bury FM in Ilocos Norte. There, a park-like shrine may rise so that the Filipino people may visit him without being interrupted by occasional vandals and rabid Marcos haters that I foresee may happen at the LNMB. The affirmative decision of the SC is enough. That makes it official and a sort of burying the issue (pun unintended) once and for all, thus granting Marcos the accolades and honors for a Filipino soldier. Burying him instead in Ilocos raises him to a higher level. After all, most of our past presidents are buried elsewhere. Rizal stands majestically alone in Bagumbayan. Let Marcos lie in peace in his hometown, but with a monument erected to perpetuate his memory where he too can stand alone – far away from those who hate him, but closest to all those who acknowledge him as a great leader.