MARTIAL LAW: Facts versus opinion

OPINION CANNOT SUBSTITUTE FOR FACTS,  was the assertion of former Senate President Nene Pimentel when asked about former Martial Law architect and implementor Juan Ponce Enrile’s TV interview -revising the reality of Martial Law into his own fairy tale.

“We can understand his old age, but the truth is the truth, regardless”, former President Noynoy Aquino said in La Salle Friday. Senility is not an excuse for revisionism of historical facts.

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Nene Pimentel and Noynoy’s father the late Ninoy Aquino were just two of the thousands of Filipinos jailed for their political beliefs while the 95- year old political cat with nine lives (Enrile) challenged Filipinos to name “one Filipino jailed for his political leanings.”

Another Martial Law detainee former senator Serge Osmena in a radio interview tersely said in referring to the politically spent Enrile: ” Do not ever believe that Enrile. That guy is a liar.”

Last Friday, 14 regions in the country including Metro Manila held indignation rallies versus the excesses of Marcos’ Martial Law and warned not to let it happen once more; “Never Again” was their universal slogan.

The Catholic Church of at least 90 million Catholics was strongly represented by the  Association of Major Religious Orders and the Catholic lay by the Sangguniang Laiko ng Pilipinas. 

In all these protesting regions, the youth was widely represented even as the university stalwarts Ateneo de Manila and De La Salle University (bitter basketball rivals) made a joint statement resisting the efforts to revise history and urged all Filipino students to study historical records, documentaries, testimonies of Martial Law victims who have no other incentive but to broadcast the truth and finger point the perpetrators.

The University of the Philippines inked a deal to establish a Memorial in the campus to preserve the testimonies of the dictatorship’s high handed autocracy and iron-fisted rule.

President Rodrigo Duterte, hemmed in by health consideration, age, political and economic pressures said he would resign if the dictator’s only son Bongbong would succeed him. The young Marcos is in an electoral protest tussle at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal over the results of the vice presidential elections in 2016 -naming Leni Robredo as the winner.

The rallies were various sites in Manila (the largest at the Luneta), Ilocos Norte, Baguio, Calamba, Laguna, Naga City, Iloilo, Bacolod, Tacloban, Cebu, Puerto Princesa, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and General Santos cities.

Friday’s commemoration of the 46th anniversary of Martial Law was the widest and most broad-ranged barrage of protests versus Martial Law in recent memory. 

As for Senator Enrile, he has been a pathetic sight of a chameleon- of ever- changing his version of the declaration of Martial Law. On September 22, 1972, he told the nation and his patron, Ferdinand Marcos, that his car was ambushed at the Wack Wack golf area in Mandaluyong on his way to his Dasmarinas Village, Makati residence but cheated death by riding in the escort’s car instead.

This was the proximate reason why Marcos on September 23, 1972, proclaimed Martial Law (Proclamation 1081) on nationwide black and white TV. But history records affirmed the declaration was actually signed September 21, 1972, a day before the Enrile “ambush”- exposing the charade behind the assassination attempt.

With his life on the line at EDSA I, Enrile proclaimed before the world that his assassination story was a hoax to gain sympathy from anti-Marcos forces who were ready to devour skin and bones all the remnants of the dictatorship. But in “His Memoirs of JPE” launched late on during Noynoy Aquino’s era at the Manila Hotel, he changed his mind again and said the ambush was true.

Enrile, an otherwise brilliant lawyer (11th place in the Bar), was reportedly asked by Marcos ( a fellow Ilocano) to study as early as 1969 when Marcos was reelected in sham “election” over Serging Osmena Jr., the intricacies and benefits of Martial Law.

It is clear to many that Enrile’s grasping for straws today in the twilight of his career is an effort to make “history judge him kindly” and not rank him among the bad guys of history. Can he?

Amnesty International (not your Mocha Uson kind of fake news) declared that during the Martial Law regime 1972-1986, 70,000 were arrested, 34,000 tortured (half of those arrested) and over 3,000 people killed. At that time, it was bruited the Conjugal Dictatorship reportedly spirited away US$10-B in ill-gotten wealth prodding the Guinness Book of Records to install them for record theft and made one word famous: kleptocracy.

Since they had no other businesses then, the wealth could not have come from the salary of a congressman, senator, and even president that Marcos was. Thus, ill-gotten.

In her unguarded hubris and urge to impress Imelda once told an international news magazine, the Marcos wealth was so extensive, she could not put a figure on exactly how much they owned.  In the same breath were denials from the family, they ever stole from the nation.

Yet an American Court had ordered some Marcos deposits frozen and shifted to compensate the Martial Law victims here. However, through the laziness of government prosecutors, the other cases versus the Marcoses allegedly involving  18 bank accounts in Geneva and Zurich, Switzerland (from 1972-1986) with accumulated interest alone of US$20-M- the cases were dropped.

That does not mean the ill-gotten wealth does not exist.

The million dollar question has always been asked: if the Marcoses did not own the 18 foreign bank accounts under various foundations (beneficially owned by them), why did they contest their foreclosure proceedings by the Philippine government? Because the Marcoses did not own them? (Laughter).

Meantime, the Military then was spoiled with privileges and immunity resulting in thousands of abuses. The economic pillars of the Philippines were distributed to crony capitalists resulting in hundreds of the so-called “white elephants”-eventually leading the nation into financial bankruptcy in 1986.

Facts Versus Opinion? Who is your winner?

Bongbong Marcos is a protest away from the vice presidency (presidency?), Imee Marcos, Ilocos Governor wants to be a senator and the aging Imelda Marcos an Ilocos remains a congressperson. 

Do you want the Marcoses back in power? This is your country- decide well.

For comments: email to dejarescobingo@yahoo.com or bohol-rd@mozcom.com



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