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“How shall freedom be defended? By arms when it is attacked by arms, by truth when it is attacked by lies, by faith when it is attacked by authoritarian dogma. Always, in the final act, by determination and faith.”

― Archibald MacLeish

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

To The Philippine Supreme Court: Is MARCOS a Hero?

"Is Marcos a Hero?". That's the basic question!
 The Supreme Court is composed of two groups known as the "Brave Few" and The "Price is Right" Group. Abangan!
Ferdinand Marcos : "He might have started as a hero 
but ended up as a crook.” 
Singapore's Former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew
“Ver, Marcos and the rest of the official family plunged the country into two decades of lies, torture, and plunder.
"From former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s book “From Third World to First”
"The difference lies in the culture of the Filipino people. It is a soft, forgiving culture. Only in the Philippines could a leader like Ferdinand Marcos, who pillaged his country for over 20 years, still be considered for a national burial." 
From Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s book “From Third World to First”
Remember the 30, 000 Victims of Martial Law!
Rape; sexual assault; beatings; electrocution; enforced disappearances; being buried alive; shot in cold blood; hog-tied; water torture; solitary confinement; sleep deprivation.
The stories are as varied as the forms of torture, but these sordid tales all scream in pain; the cries reverberate beyond the confines of the prison cells and locked-up chambers of 44 years ago.
To this day, the thousands of victims of the military rule imposed on our country on 21 September 1972 still carry the marks of the torture they suffered in the hands of the military – rape; sexual assault; beatings; electrocution; enforced disappearances; being buried alive; shot in cold blood; hog-tied; water torture; solitary confinement; sleep deprivation.
The list goes on and on – and so does the memory of pain,sealed in the victims’ weary voices, their bruised hands, blank stares, burnt legs and the wounds that they carry. And to those who have disappeared, their loved ones’ empty nights of waiting desperately.
From New Internationalist
What Martial Law was like
by Alan Robles (Hot Manila)
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. 
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.
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. 
(The following excerpt is taken from pages 299 – 305 from former Singapore Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew’s book “From Third World to First”, Chapter 18  “Building Ties with Thailand, the Philippines, and Brunei”)
The Philippines was a world apart from us, running a different style of politics and government under an American military umbrella. It was not until January 1974 that I visited President Marcos in Manila. When my Singapore Airlines plane flew into Philippine airspace, a small squadron of Philippine Air Force jet fighters escorted it to Manila Airport. There Marcos received me in great style – the Filipino way. I was put up at the guest wing of Malacañang Palace in lavishly furnished rooms, valuable objects of art bought in Europe strewn all over. Our hosts were gracious, extravagant in hospitality, flamboyant. Over a thousand miles of water separated us. There was no friction and little trade. We played golf, talked about the future of ASEAN, and promised to keep in touch.
In Bali in 1976, at the first ASEAN summit held after the fall of Saigon, I found Marcos keen to push for greater economic cooperation in ASEAN. But we could not go faster than the others. To set the pace, Marcos and I agreed to implement a bilateral Philippines-Singapore across-the-board 10 percent reduction of existing tariffs on all products and to promote intra-ASEAN trade. We also agreed to lay a Philippines-Singapore submarine cable. I was to discover that for him, the communiqué was the accomplishment itself; its implementation was secondary, an extra to be discussed at another conference.
We met every two to three years. He once took me on a tour of his library at Malacañang, its shelves filled with bound volumes of newspapers reporting his activities over the years since he first stood for elections. There were encyclopedia-size volumes on the history and culture of the Philippines with his name as the author. His campaign medals as an anti-Japanese guerrilla leader were displayed in glass cupboards. He was the undisputed boss of all Filipinos. Imelda, his wife, had a penchant for luxury and opulence. When they visited Singapore before the Bali summit they came in stye in two DC8’s, his and hers.
Marcos, ruling under martial law, had detained opposition leader Benigno (Ninoy) Aquino, reputed to be as charismatic and powerful a campaigner as he was. He freed Aquino and allowed him to go to the United States. As the economic situation in the Philippines deteriorated, Aquino announced his decision to return. Mrs. Marcos issued several veiled warnings. When the plane arrived at Manila Airport from Taipei in August 1983, he was shot as he descended from the aircraft. A whole posse of foreign correspondents with television camera crews accompanying him on the aircraft was not enough protection.
International outrage over the killing resulted in foreign banks stopping all loans to the Philippines, which owed over US$25 billion and could not pay the interest due. This brought Marcos to the crunch. He sent his minister for trade and industry, Bobby Ongpin, to ask me for a loan of US$300-500 million to meet the interest payments. I looked him straight in the eye and said, “We will never see that money back.” Moreover, I added, everyone knew that Marcos was seriously ill and under constant medication for a wasting disease. What was needed was a strong, healthy leader, not more loans.