September 23rd, 2012
Published on 22 September 2012
Written by Jaime R. Pilapil Reporter http://www.philnews.com/headlines/2012/headline_news_0922aa.htm
President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin tours the refurbished Aquino-Diokno Memorial and the new Armed Forces of the Philippines Center for Human Rights Dialogue at Fort Magsaysay in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija province, on Friday. MALACAÑANG PHOTO
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd on Friday led government officials in marking the 40th anniversary of the imposition of Martial Law, an event that Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile defended, saying that it was needed at the time.
In a speech at an event commemorating the anniversary at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani grounds in Quezon City, President Aquino addressed several issues regarding Martial Law, among them the date of its declaration.
“Marahil, pamilyar ang ilan sa inyo sa video ng deklarasyon, kung saan nakaupo si Marcos, nakaturo sa kamera, at tila nakatitig sa sambayanan nang binigkas, ‘I signed Proclamation Number 1081 placing the entire Philippines under Martial Law.’ Naganap ito noong ika-23 ng Setyembre. Ang tanong ngayon: kung pinirmahan niya ang proklamasyon sa ika-21 ng Setyembre, bakit naghintay pa siya ng dalawang araw bago isapubliko ito? Ang sagot: upang pansamantalang ikubli ang Batas Militar sa taumbayan, at mabigyan siya ng sapat na panahon na masugod at dakipin ang mga walang-kamalay-malay na kumokontra sa patakaran niya,” President Aquino said.
The President noted that not too many people know about the details surrounding the date.
“Ito ang dahilan kung bakit noong ika-22 ng Setyembre, inaresto ang aking ama, gayundin ang ilan pang mga personalidad at sibilyan na kilalang banta sa rehimeng binubuo ni Marcos. Lingid din sa kaalaman ng taumbayan na sa parehong araw, inilabas ng dating pangulo ang una, at ang isa sa pinakamasahol na atas niya bilang diktador: ang General Order No.1, na nagsasaad na lahat ng kapangyarihan at operasyon ng buong pamahalaan ay direktang mapapasailalim sa kamay ng nag-iisang tao kay Ginoong Marcos,” said Mr. Aquino, whose father is the late senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., one of Marcos’ fiercest critics who was assassinated in 1983, allegedly on the strongman’s orders.
President Aquino expressed disbelief that many Filipinos still believe that life under Marcos was better compared to the years following his ouster in the February 25, 1986 EDSA Revolution.
“Hindi ko alam kung minsan kung matatawa ako, o iiling na lang sa tuwing may mga ipinagduduldulan ang ideyang mas maganda raw ang buhay noong Martial Law. Maraming nagtatagisang pananaw sa mga panahong iyon, at hindi ko masisisi kung may mga kababayan tayong kampi talaga sa kanya, at sinasabing kung natuloy daw ang Martial Law, tiyak na mas maunlad at matiwasay tayo ngayon. Na kinakandili na daw dapat tayo ngayon ng isang bagong lipunan,” the President said.
Mr. Aquino asked how could the Martial Law era be better when thousands were abducted and killed during the time.
“Magderetsahan po tayo. Kung Batas Militar ang sagot para bumaba ang krimen, bakit tadtad tayo sa balita tungkol sa pagkawala, salvage, at summary execution noong Martial Law? Kung Batas Militar ang sagot para mapatid ang pag-usbong ng komunismo, eh bakit ayon sa librong Dictatorship and Revolution: Roots of People’s Power, mula sa halos 1,250 kasapi noong 1972, tumaas sa tinatayang 40,000 ang bilang ng NPA [New People’s Army] pagdating ng 1983? Kung Batas Militar ang tugon para gumanda ang ekonomiya, bakit noong pag-upo niya, four is to one ang dollar, pero sa pagbagsak ng kanyang rehimen, 25 is to one na ito? Ito ba ang ipinapangako nilang bagong lipunan? Kayo na po ang humusga,” the President said.
President Aquino said that he had directed the National Historical Commission to form a committee that will collect personal accounts of people who were victims of Martial Law.
“Nais nating tiyakin na katotohanan lamang ang bukal ng mga impormasyong nakalimbag sa mga aklat ng mga estudyante—hindi sa pinagtagpi-tagping kasinungalingan ng mga propagandista; hindi sa mga retaso ng panlilinlang ng mga rebisyonista,” the President said.
Meanwhile, Enrile said that Marcos did the right thing in declaring Martial Law.
“At that time, it [martial rule] was decided to be imposed. I think the decision was correct,” said Enrile, who served as defense minister that time.
The Senate chief said that he and Marcos agreed to implement Martial Law for a year and only until the strongman’s term of office ends in 1973, but it was prolonged and so it caused many problems.
“What made it problematic was the length it was maintained. We have already stabilized the country at a certain point. In fact, ang usapan lang namin ni President Marcos [is that it should last until the] end of his term in 1973, but it was lengthened,” he added.
Enrile explained that Martial Law was declared only to stabilize the country because the government had been experiencing security and insurgency problems in Luzon and Mindanao at the time.
The Senate president also denied that the ambush involving him triggered the declaration of Martial Law.
“That is not true. When I left the DND [Department of National Defense] and I got ambush, Martial Law was already on. It was ongoing already. How can it be the reason to impose Martial Law?” Enrile asked.
With a report from Ritchie A. Horario
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