The “golden era” of the Philippines was during the Marcos Martial Law years. This is the biggest misrepresentation and lie being fed to Filipinos these days by the family and the fanatic followers of Ferdinand Marcos.
Marcos’ son, Bongbong, did a one-on-one interview with Juan Ponce Enrile, his father’s defense secretary on the eve of the 46th anniversary of the Martial Law declaration in the Philippines. The 95-year old Enrile lied about what really happened during those dark years. He lied about the human rights abuse to the extent that he even challenged critics to name one political enemy of Marcos who was persecuted.
“I am 95 years old, so in that span of time, you can just imagine that I remember President Aguinaldo all the way to President Duterte. And that’s my advantage over most people in this land today because I’ve seen history from the time of the Americans all the way to now. History was totally distorted to favor one group . . . little by little, the truth will come out . . . I am glad that you have asked me to join this conversation so that we can somehow correct the distortions of history,” said Enrile.
Enrile was making the claim that “history was distorted” to favor one group. Really? This is the same Enrile who stated in 1986 that his claimed ambush before Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972 was a big lie. This is the same Enrile who came out a few years ago and said that the ambush and attempt to kill him in 1972 was true.
In 1967, stories that depicted the ills of Philippine society came out serialized in “Pinoy Komiks.” Later in 1969 those stories became the inspiration for a film— “Dirty Politician… Sumpain ka!”
Ramon Marcelino wrote those serialized stories to expose the evil ways of politicians and bureaucrat-capitalists in the government. He criticized elected officials who were involved in graft and corruption, abuse of power, and who enriched themselves and their families. He revealed their greed, including their use of guns, gold and goons to eliminate their rivals and enemies in politics.
Marcelino’s stories came out in the late 60s when youths and students, workers, and the urban poor in the Philippines were protesting injustices in the streets. This was the time when youth activism and militancy were at their peak.
When “Dirty Politician” came out, it was not meant for Marcos who was then serving his first term as president. But sooner than later, the characters on “Dirty Politician” found their real life counterpart in Marcos.
Like Marcelino’s stories which were meant to educate and inform the Filipino people about corrupt politics in the Philippines, there were other writers like Primitivo Mijares who dedicated their best work to inform the Filipino people about what was happening in the Philippines after Marcos declared Martial Law.
And unlike Enrile who is a consistent flip-flopper, the late Mijares who was a Malacanang insider and early propagandist of Marcos had a change of heart. After being confronted by the truth that Martial Law was not really meant to protect the Philippines from communist takeover, Mijares wrote his conscience and revealed the abuses and the greed of the Marcoses, including the evils of Martial Law. For his revelations, he and his family suffered dearly as Mijares disappeared and was never seen again. His young son was also kidnapped and murdered by forces believed to be allied with Marcos.
His book- “The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos”– is not little truth but big truth about the evils of Martial Law.
Mijares wrote the following dedication in his book: “To the Filipino People, Who dramatized in the, Battle of Mactan of April 27, 1521, their rejection of a foreign tyranny, sought to be imposed by, Ferdinand Magellan, that they may soon recover lost courage and, with greater vigor and determination, rid the Philippines of the evil rule, of a home-grown tyrant, with the same initials.”
The truth is— Enrile’s version of the Martial Law is a distorted one. It does not intend to serve the Filipino people and the next generations of Filipinos. When you hide or try to hide the truth from the people about their own history, you rob them and the nation of very important lessons that they can learn from as they try to move forward from the past disaster that afflicted their nation.
There are times when we are called upon and given the chance to become heroes by telling and coming out with the truth. It’s sad and disappointing that some do not grab this opportunity.
Jojo Liangco is an attorney with the Law Offices of Amancio M. Liangco Jr. in San Francisco, California. His practice is in the areas of immigration, family law, personal injury, civil litigation, business law, bankruptcy, DUI cases, criminal defense and traffic court cases. Please send your comments to Jojo Liangco, c/o Law Offices of Amancio “Jojo” Liangco, 605 Market Street, Suite 605, San Francisco, CA 94105 or you can call him (415) 974-5336.