What Martial Law was like

Mon, 03/27/2000 - 00:00

by Alan Robles

In 1972 Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law with Proclamation 1081. He did it, he said, to save the Republic and to create what he called a "New Society." A whole generation of Filipinos now exists which only has the faintest recollection -- if at all -- of the Marcos dictatorship. Kids, this is what you missed. Perhaps it's what you should pass on when you have kids of your own.

The lies. The biggest lie -- the mother lie -- was that Martial Law was imposed for the good of the people. It was not. It was imposed for the good of the Marcoses and their cronies, to keep them in wealth and unassailable power forever and ever amen. Marcos was a congenital liar: he lied about the state of emergency. He lied about his ill-gotten wealth ("what ill-gotten wealth?", he would ask amusedly."Tell you what, if you can find it we'll split it". Shows how reliable his word was). He lied about his war medals (almost all of them were fake), he lied about his father's wartime heroics (it turned out Marcos Sr was a collaborator executed by the guerrillas), he lied about his health. He lied about holding free elections and dismantling Martial Law. He lied and lied and lied. This was the man Joseph Estrada wanted to give a hero's burial.

The fear. Anybody could be picked up at anytime for any reason by the military or the police. You could wind up a detainee, or you could just vanish, a "salvage" victim. If you protested against the government, you were labeled a "subversive" or a "communist" or both and you were summarily arrested. People the government didn't like were tailed by security elements, their telephones tapped. A student who spoke up to Imee Marcos was murdered. No two words were more invoked and abused for the purposes of oppression than "national security." People were afraid to speak out. Marcos logic being what it was, the silence meant the people were happy.

The injustice. Only Marcos and his cronies, who plundered the economy, were protected by the law. Nobody else was. Arbitrary arrest, detention, salvaging and torture were the standard. The Defense Minister -- a man named Juan Ponce Enrile -- said in 1982: "We presume that priests and nuns charged with subversive activities are guilty until the courts decide whether they are guilty or not." On one occasion the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, someone named Enrique Fernando, servilely held an umbrella over Imelda Marcos' head.

The censorship. It was only when rebel soldiers finally seized a TV station in the EDSA uprising that people saw in their sets just how big the crowds were. Up until then the media were strictly controlled. Journalists who wrote against the regime -- most of them were women -- were routinely "invited" for questioning by the military. There was no transparency whatever. There were only three national broadsheets, the Times Journal, the Daily Express and the Bulletin Today, all of them offering the same pro-administration pap. The chief Marcos mouthpiece was a columnist named Teodoro Valencia. He died in 1986 and is now considered the "dean" of Philippine journalism. In 1983, when Ninoy Aquino was buried, at least one million people accompanied the funeral cortege as it wound its way through Manila. The next day, the Bulletin scarcely mentioned the story, instead playing up a story about a man struck and killed by lightning at the Luneta Park.(Recently, Joseph Estrada extolled the Bulletin as his idea of a good newspaper).

The poverty. Poverty increased from 24% in 1974 to 40% in 1980 and why not? Imelda Marcos was using the Philippine National Bank as her private piggy bank. One of her ideas of dealing with the poor was to put up whitewashed walls around the squatter areas in Manila. The walls are still there.

The corruption. There were suspicions about the Marcoses dipping into the public till. After EDSA, dazed investigators realized that the truth far outstripped the suspicions. The Marcoses had been screwing the public even before Martial Law. As early as 1968 Ferdinand and Imelda had already salted away more than $900,000 in Zurich accounts under the names "William Saunders" and "Jane Ryan." It was the initial deposit in what would turn out to be a mountain of loot. After having tracked down Marcos accounts and properties all over the world, investigators still aren't sure that they've found all the ill-gotten wealth.

The US support for the regime. The US loved their bases in the Philippines and put up with Marcos as long as they could. When George Bush, who was US vice-president then, visited Manila for a sham inauguration of Marcos, he proposed a toast to the dictator, saying "we love your adherence to democratic principles and to the democratic process."

Imelda Marcos speeches. They were terrible and they dragged on interminably. Among the things she said publicly: The Philippines is the center of the world, because that's the way it looks in a map. There's a cosmic hole in the Universe which shines radiation in the Philippines which Filipinos can tap to deflect intercontinental ballistic missiles. Her audience would applaud frantically. Cowards cheering a loony.

The arrogance of those in power. It was called a "smiling dictatorship" but the only one who was smiling was the dictator. Actually, his friends and family were also happy. When his cronies got into business trouble they were bailed out with taxpayers' money. No investigations into cartels and monopolies were allowed. Marcos "lifted" Martial Law in 1981 but continued to rule by decree. Later it was discovered he had signed dozens and dozens of secret decrees which he intended to flash at the appropriate occasions. During the 1986 snap election when an opposition official said that there had been cheating an election commissioner -- his name was Jaime Opinion -- sneered at him on TV and snapped, "that's a lie!" repeatedly. After EDSA Opinion went into hiding. When EDSA was in full swing, a rebel helicopter attacked the Palace with rockets. Marcos went on air and said "my family cowers in the Palace." He didn't get any outpouring of sympathy.

 

Comments

Submitted by alan on
@kagbalete<br />Wrong. Marcos was the WORST president the country had, and for the following reasons:<br />1. certainly politics always has been a musical chair for the elite, but Marcos froze the game and refused to get up from the chair.He had absolute

Submitted by Marcial Bonifacio (not verified) on
Not all during martial law are negative, there's a lot of positive thing happened to us during the martial law era. These are few of them:<br />1) There is dicipline all over the country (no jay waking, no mini skirt etc)<br />2) We Filipinos become nationalistic (Cultural center of the Phil was established)<br />3) No thief, no holduper (all seems to be in order)<br />4) Our neighbor countries (Malaysia, Singapore etc) is envy to us. As a matter of fact Singapore &amp; Malaysia use marcos style to transform their country.<br />There are some more positive sides of martial law. I believe that the true intention of martial law is for the benefit of the people. It just go out of control because of marcos cronies, imelda and marcos himself. If it continue the way it is from 1972 to 1976 sure we will be one of the most successful country in asia. From 1972 to 1976 is the most successful year of the martial law, it just go out of control after 1976.

Submitted by guro shigeno (not verified) on
Firipino are very rucky peo-poor, you have a president that rubs you and a first lady that rubs you mur

Submitted by guro shigeno (not verified) on
@Marcial Bonifacio, your using ninoys name,,,,.... if you like martial law then get out of this country, go somewhere else and find a country that have a martial,

Submitted by Glo Arroyo (not verified) on
Only stupid people believes that Martial Law has a good effect on us. Please verify well what you tell people and look back on the after effect of it, then tell yourself you're not deceiving others with your statement. <br />be responsible if you love your country and do not try to pretend you care when in fact you support the evil behind the suffering that we are now experiencing. <br />Look around and wake up from your delusions.

Submitted by Jesus Chua (not verified) on
For me, the period under Marcos is still better than all those after him. During Marcos, the power and money was concentrated in him and his cronies but there was progress, order, discipline and society in general was better off. The radical left, milf, npa and criminals were running scared and almost non-existent. All that happened after Marcos was the wannabees stole for themselves what Marcos had. Now, all politicians are corrupt, criminals rule, people are poorer and there is no future.

Submitted by alan on
@Jesus Chua - and you know all this because a manghuhula told it to you? Give us some REAL facts, not troll tales told by Marcos lovers

Submitted by john Doe (not verified) on
I agree with Jesus: people were disciplined. Filipinos seem to hate being disciplined. Philippines was a respected country. There were infrastructure projects and wealth. Philippines was the asia's powerhouse... and now... filipinos are push-overs. china's picking on filipinos - they wouldnt dare do that 30 yrs ago... The west thinks filipinos are dumb - it is true.. Governed by movie stars.... OFWs are treated like crap because of what is happening back home... but yet theres still &quot;pinoy pride&quot;? proud of?......

Submitted by Some Bloke (not verified) on
@Guro Shigeno &amp; Falcon: You two are probably uneducated and narrow-minded. Martial law does not equal to the Marcos administration. Martial law is an impostion of military rules if shit hits the fan which in turn puts the poeple in place. in other

Submitted by alan on
@Some Bloke: you really think I can't tell looking at the records that you're the same person as John Doe? Anyway my recommendation: take lots ofcoherence pills. Take them immediately after your IQ-boosting medication

Submitted by Another Bloke (not verified) on
@Alan: Not trying to hide here buddy - i have no reason to. Yeh.. John Doe can mean Some Bloke. And to you my friend... need some chill-pill and it'll help if you start thinking outside your little box.

Submitted by alan on
Oh? Not hiding? Could have fooled me, using two different names for two different comments. There's medication for that

Submitted by Another Bloke (not verified) on
LOL. You must be a doctor. Surely you understand the amount of criticsm you and the audience will receive having this available to public. Dont get me wrong... you have a very good website here and it's very biased and critical. However you take BAD offence when people share their opinion which doesnt coincide with yours.<br />Your previous comment is not very constructive at all...but very childish. Lets not go into tangent and bring this debacle back into the table.

Submitted by alan on
@ANOTHER BLOKE - wrong on all counts. I take delight in replying to partcularly hilarious and obtuse commenters, especially the thickheaded ones who use multiple identities. As for &quot;constructive&quot; - heheh - I shan't say anything about the BLOKE w

Submitted by p.huber (not verified) on
well, for the information of those martial law babies, there was no freedom during marcos regime. you tubes and internet won't be allowed if we were still in the marcos regime. you can even hardly go abroad to earn a living because only their cronies were allowed to go and it was very difficult to obtain dollars. if some were able to settle down in the USA during that time, they had to be very convincing, and well-connected. Even singing a protest song was considered subversive and could land you in jail. if you have an enemy who is connected with the military, then patay kang bata ka! it's no exageration. so, learn to appreciate your freedom now. it might happen again once you allow the marcoses to sit in the highest position of the government.<br />that's how bad it was during Marcos period. Marcos was Gloria's hero. She studied his history and tried to follow his footsteps and almost succeeded if only the people hasn't learned his lessons.

Submitted by Aurora Pascua (not verified) on
Election is approaching . Begging all Filipinos never vote for a beggar to ruin the country again ?

Submitted by Dazzle (not verified) on
Some information are unreliable, you don't even have enough source to support your statements, you just type whatever is in your head. Some are even mistakes and some are so bias. This article disgraces journalists. What dafuq is this?

Submitted by Edgy Dulds (not verified) on
I was born in 1986 so I hindi ko nasaksihan ang panahong ng martial law. But, usually ever time there's an issue about it and Marcos, I observed that those who whine about Marcos Administration are the middle class and higher socio-economic class people. And most of those who said they liked his administration are those people who are legally poor. Classes D and lower. Anong nakikita ng mahihirap ang hindi makita ng mayayaman at ano ang nakikita ng mayayaman na hindi nakikita ng mahihirap? Or, sasabihin ba ninyo na brainwashed ang mahihirap at ang mayayaman ay gumagamit ng kanilang isip?

Submitted by alan on
porket ikaw lang naka-observe, totoo na agad yon? Sabihin na lang natin subukan mong magbasa o magresearch. Sabihin na lang natin ikaw ay isang tanga

Submitted by Troy (not verified) on
Totoo lahat ito. Nasa first year college ako nang Martial law was proclaimed.Dapat maisulat na ang mga ito sa Philippine History at maituro sa school.

Submitted by elliks (not verified) on
Ano ba yan! Why are people saying that martial law was better? That too much freedom is getting us nowhere? That we need an iron hand to control us? What we should do is elect trustworthy people as our leaders and not stand to be blindly controlled or our money be used for useless projects and selfish reasons! We should get down and dirty and not be okay with just average!

Submitted by Lyan Ferrer (not verified) on
I was two decades late to see how Martial law looked like. only stories was left with me and my generation. Since most of the stories are in favor of the Marcoses (Good life, high economy, disciplined people and all that), it made me believe that he was the one who once made this country a better place. But all of these are apparently just part of the story.The other side seemed to be presented on this film. Although I cannot conclude by just solely watching this video, however, It gave me a glimpse of the "tragic" situation of the Filipinos under FM's leadership. All I though is that people's freedom was suppressed back then. I never imagined how it really looked like. This video gave me a wider understanding on how it's done-- people were either being paid, tortured or killed, injustice is at its peak, corruption is chronic, and people are voiceless. In the most part, I was encouraged to dig deeper, to be more vigilant in every issue presented to me. I hope this will be the same feeling that everyone else would have after watching this. ‪#‎MLchronicles‬‪#‎SinepiyuMLChronicles ‬you can watch the video at: https://www.facebook.com/MartialLawChronicles/videos/1052282358172414/ you can visit Martial Law Chronicles page at: https://www.facebook.com/MartialLawChronicles

Submitted by banana04 (not verified) on
sir if you dont mind how you will know that pres marcos was lying? are you with him in 24/7 to say that. i think he declared martial law because many people against him to manage in our country. some people take it as a positive and some of them as a negative because thay also want to have money and power. since cory aquino declared democracy did you think it helps to our country? i think its not! look there's alot of crime wherever you go. its not safe here. in my opinion the death penalty will fit to the criminals who will against the law #justsaying its so funny that some of politician have a case in our country they will run what they want and they spending money to our taxes? how pathetic!

Submitted by alan on
How do you know Jesus was good? How do you know he delivered the Sermon on the Mount? How do you know Jose Rizal was a national hero? How do you know Andres Bonifacio deserves our admiration? If you can answer those questions then you are on the way to realizing intelligence. We rely on testimony, records, documents and analysis. This is what scholars and political analysts used in deconstructing Marcos. It's what you didn't use, given that you can't - you don't even have the basic intellectual prowess to pass Grade I, it seems. Which means it's probably futile to ask you where you got your info from, because you probably made it all up in your little pinhead. Your best comment in your welter of idiocy is your phrase "I think not." You are so right. You are so so right.

Submitted by Jessiedog (not verified) on
Hi Alan, I've just come across your blog and am enjoying it immensely. I was struck that you referenced Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount and intrigued to know if you were a "true believer", as it were. As a committed atheist myself, I kind of had you pegged as someone who likely wasn't much of a theist.

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