26 March 2011
Reference: Marie Hilao Enriquez, Chairperson, SELDA (0917-5616800)
SELDA on proposals for Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and
the distribution of the victims’ compensation from the settlement
“Our struggle for justice is far from over. At this time that martial law
victims are receiving a small amount of indemnification, a dangerous
proposal to bury the remains of the fascist dictator Marcos at the
Libingan ng mga Bayani is being pursued hurriedly and in earnest by Marcos
allies in Congress. We find this grossly unacceptable and a travesty of
Thus said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Chairperson of the Samahan ng Ex-detainees
Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) and daughter of one of the original
named plaintiffs in the historic class suit against Pres. Ferdinand
Marcos, in a press conference today with other victims of the Marcos
dictatorship. SELDA initiated and led the 9, 539 Martial Law victims in
filing the case against Marcos in the US Federal Court system on April 7,
1986, barely two months after the dictator’s ouster by the so-called
People Power I or EDSA I.
Enriquez lambasted House Resolution 1135, recently filed and signed by
legislators from the House of Representatives appealing to President
Noynoy Aquino for former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos’s burial at the Libingan
ng mga Bayani.
“It makes a mockery of the horrors that the Filipino people endured during
the Martial Law era: plunder, numerous human rights violations including
summary executions, enforced disappearances, torture, illegal arrests and
detention, hamletting and forced evacuation, among others. While we
welcomed the distribution of funds from the $10M settlement agreement with
the Marcos crony Jose Campos, such victory won by the victims should not
be seen as a sign that the Marcoses can just get away with the
obliteration of the gross human rights violations committed by the Marcos
dictatorship against the Filipino people," said Enriquez.
SELDA also monitored the distribution of the funds for the Marcos victims
which started on February 28, 2011. Enriquez and her fellow victims noted
the following reports in summary:
1) The reduction of the number of claimants from 9,539 to 7,526 victims is
In the National Capital Region, there were some 150 victims and their
relatives who were among the 9,539 victims who were not given their claims
and were made to accomplish forms to indicate that their claims are for
further investigation. Among the victims who were among the original list
of victims were Fidel and Rosario Agcaoili, Prof. Joma Sison, Satur Ocampo,
Judy Taguiwalo, Josephine Dongail, Bonifacio Ilagan, Carol Araullo, Sonia
Brizuela Planas, Rhodora Julian Clemente, Maxima Luneta, Corazon Casambre,
Manuel Navarro, Ramon Veluz, Melvin Cayabyab, Jose Barsoles, Carlos
Ortega, victims of the Tatalon massacre during the Martial Law period, and
many others were not given the compensation due them.
The victims who struggled against the construction of the Chico River Dam
and operations of the Cellophil Resource Corporation in the Cordilleras
were not in the reduced list even though they are among the 9,539.
Many victims from Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Central Visayas, Western
Visayas, and Southern Mindanao were also arbitrarily delisted. Many of
them belong to the urban and rural poor and are in the twilight of their
lives. They spent money to go to the regional centers of the Commission on
Human Rights (CHR) but their names were not in the so-called masterlist.
2) The system of distribution is not efficient and inconsiderate of the
situation of the victims.
Some victims who were told that their names are not on the masterlist were
soon told that their names are included in other regions’ masterlist.
Some victims did not receive notices from the court or Atty. Swift but
when they checked their names in the masterlist, they were able to find
their names and receive their claims.
Some victims received notices from the court and Atty. Swift but when they
checked the masterlist, their names were not included in the said list.
“With the arbitrary delisting of victims, they find themselves victims all
over again. Such action is tantamount to saying that they are not victims
of human rights violations and therefore not entitled to justice and
indemnification. It denies victims of our legitimacy of status as victims
and their claim to justice,” Enriquez commented.
SELDA calls on Judge Manuel Real and Atty. Robert Swift to accord the
compensation due the victims and demands the reinstatement of the 2,013
The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) is an
organization of former political prisoners in the Philippines. Founded on
December 4, 1984, SELDA was initiated by newly-released political
prisoners of the martial law period. SELDA’s primary task is to work for
the release of all political prisoners and to see to it that humane
treatment of those who are still in detention are complied with by the
Philippine authorities. SELDA advocates justice for current and former
political prisoners. It calls for the mobilisation of resources in support
of political prisoners, former detainees and their families. It carries
out legislative advocacy for the indemnification and rehabilitation of
political prisoners. SELDA goes into partnership and builds solidarity
with concerned individuals and groups for the freedom and welfare of
political prisoners and all victims of tyranny.
SELDA National Office: 2/F, Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag
Brgy. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City 1101, Philippines
Tel: 632-4342837 Fax: 632-4354146
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
REFERENCE: ATTY. EDRE U. OLALIA
Secretary- General, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL)
Contact Number: 09175113373
Hero’s Burial for Marcos?
Glorifying a Dictator Is an Insult to History, Victims of Human Rights
Violations Still Seeking Justice – NUPL
In a press release today, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL)
said that seeking a hero’s burial for the late dictator Ferdinand E.
Marcos, is an insult to our country’s history and to thousands of human
rights victims under the Marcos dictatorial regime.
The statement came as a reaction to a resolution signed by majority
lawmakers led by Sorsogon Representative Salvador Escudero, appealing to
President Noynoy Aquino to give the late dictator a hero’s burial.
Atty. Edre U. Olalia, Secretary-General of the NUPL said that, “Millions
of Filipinos suffered under the Marcos dictatorship, thousands of victims
of human rights violations during his more than two-decade rule are still
seeking justice until now, the wealth that they have plundered remains to
be recovered. Glorifying Marcos is an insensitive act.”
“It is an insult to our nation’s history and a direct attack against the
freedom, dignity and integrity that the Filipino people have fought for
especially during the Marcos regime,” added Olalia.
The NUPL is encouraging Pres. Aquino not to act on the resolution, and
warned that acting on the resolution would give the wrong signals and set
a dangerous precedent to dictators past, present and future, in the
Philippines and elsewhere as it is akin to consenting to the crimes and
the massive plunder that they have committed or are about to commit.
Instead of giving him a hero’s burial, the NUPL insists that the
government should ensure the fast and speedy resolution of the cases
involving victims of human rights violations during Marcos’ 20-year rule.
“Let sleeping dogs, as it were. Do not distort history.” Olalia concluded.
National Union of Peoples' Lawyers(NUPL)
3F Erythrina Bldg., Maaralin corner Matatag Sts. Central District,Quezon
Tel.No.920-6660,Telefax No. 927- 2812
Email addresses:firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
"Visit the NUPL at http://www.nupl.net/
By calling yourselves the 'people's lawyer,' you have made a remarkable
choice. You decided not to remain in the sidelines. Where human rights are
assaulted, you have chosen to sacrifice the comfort of the fence for the
dangers of the battlefield. But only those who choose to fight on the
battlefield live beyond irrelevance." Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato
S. Puno, in his message to the NUPL Founding Congress,Sept. 15, 2007
THE PHILIPPINES: Marcos' Martial Law
Monday, Oct. 02, 1972
Without warning, police squads late last week walked into Manila's
newspaper offices and broadcast stations, ordered staffers to leave and
posted announcements Stating THIS BUILDING IS CLOSED AND SEALED AND PLACED
UNDER MILITARY CONTROL. Domestic air flights were grounded and overseas
telephone operators refused to accept incoming calls. Finally, after
several hours of mystifying silence, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos
went on nationwide radio and TV to proclaim a state of martial law. Civil
government would be continued, he said, but campuses would be closed.
Restrictions on travel, the press and communications would remain in force
until the government dealt with "a conspiracy to overthrow the
It was a drastic step; martial law had never before been imposed in the
Philippines, despite the country's long history of social and political
violence. And yet, though troops took up positions all over Manila, there
were few other visible signs of emergency. Nightclubs, casinos and movie
theaters remained open; shoppers were out in their usual numbers the next
day. Filipinos accepted the measures calmly, even cynically, for they had
been widely anticipated.
Only two weeks ago, in an atmosphere of
rapidly increasing belligerence between the Marcos regime, its political
opposition and a burgeoning Philippine revolutionary movement, the
President warned that he would not hesitate to assume emergency powers if
he deemed them necessary. He finally did so six hours after an
unsuccessful attempt to assassinate one of Marcos' chief aides, Defense
Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile. As the Secretary was heading home from his
office in Manila, a carload of gunmen intercepted his car and riddled it
with 30 shots; Enrile, who was riding with security men in a second car,
was unhurt. The gunmen escaped unidentified.
As Brigadier General Alfredo Montoya, boss of
Manila's tough metropolitan police, put the regime's case last week,
Marcos' measures only reflected "a need to discipline our people."
Ostensibly, the crackdown is aimed at a Maoist-inspired (and
Peking-supported) guerrilla movement known as the New People's Army, which
the government blamed for the attempt on Enrile's life and for bombings
that have rocked the Manila area recently. With about 1,000 arms-carrying
guerrillas, the N.P.A. is nowhere near as large as was the Communist
Hukbalahap movement that terrorized Luzon in the 1940s and '50s; but it
enjoys wide support, not only in the countryside but among disaffected
urban workers and intellectuals.
Another target of the regime's "discipline,"
besides the N.P.A. guerrillas, was the President's vocal political
opponents. The morning after martial law was declared, police arrested a
number of Marcos' critics. Among them: the publisher of the Manila Times
and Senator Benigno Aquino, a leader of the opposition Liberal Party.
Aquino, whom Marcos has accused of
collaborating with the N.P.A., had backed a Manila rally—held the day
before the crackdown—at which 30,000 Filipinos protested that the Marcos
regime would use terrorist violence as an excuse to employ emergency
powers to silence the opposition
Seven years ago, Marcos came to power as an immensely popular reform
President, but opposition to his regime has been growing rapidly in recent
months. Large sectors of Philippine society are waiting for tangible
relief from poverty, inflation and a political system that remains
responsive mainly to a propertied oligarchy. Land-reform programs remain
unfunded; more than 400,000 of the country's 1,000,000 university
graduates are without meaningful jobs. The benefits of the country's
gradual economic expansion have been slow to trickle down to most of its
38 million people. As a result of this summer's record floods, which
devastated much of Luzon and set the economy back five years by some
estimates, that trickle will be slowed even further —perhaps with
Monday, Nov. 20, 1972
THE PHILIPPINES: Life in a New Society
Two months ago Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law
on his archipelago nation—to "save the Republic," he said, from leftist
insurgents. Marcos quickly shut down most of the country's newspapers and
television stations and jailed many of his political opponents. He also
moved to halt widespread bureaucratic corruption and initiate
long-promised but hopelessly delayed economic reforms, and he talked of
creating a "new society" in the Philippines. TIME'S Robert Elson recently
visited Manila to assess some of Marcos' changes and the Filipinos'
reactions to them. His report:
Manila still impresses a visitor as an intensely Catholic and traditional
city. It must be one of the few places in the world since the end of the
Second Vatican Council where a Wednesday night novena can snarl traffic
for miles around. The ramshackle old houses in the central city still
contrast as sharply as ever with the gleaming villas in the new suburb of
Makati, where private security guards carrying carbines patrol outside the
smart shops. One notable change, though, is the whitewashed cleanliness of
city walls that once were covered with revolutionary slogans and
anti-Marcos graffiti. They were washed clean by ROTC students after Marcos
shut down the universities. Now that colleges have reopened, the students
are obliged to spend their weekends cleaning up vacant lots.
Manila is unmistakably under military rule; yet there is a note of hope in
the city and an apparent willingness on the part of Filipinos to suspend
judgment, at least temporarily, in order to give the President a chance to
work things out. If—and it is a very big if —Marcos can carry out his
promised reforms, get the economy moving and provide an honest
administration, he will continue to command the support of most Filipinos.
But whether the people like it or not, the Philippines for the foreseeable
future will continue under a dictatorship that is somewhat more stringent
than that of Lee Kuan Yew in Singapore but less oppressive than that of
Chung Hee Park in South Korea.
Marcos has frequently expressed his dedication to the Philippines'
libertarian tradition. By downplaying the repressive side of martial law
and emphasizing positive reforms, he has tried to overcome the cynicism
and distrust evoked when he first moved. He rolled back a recent increase
in electrical rates, imposed price and rent controls, brought sugar back
to grocery shelves by putting pressure on local speculators, and announced
that he would seek to increase exports by increased trade with China. He
also introduced a sweeping land-reform decree under which 715,000 tenant
farmers occupying 3,700,000 acres of rice and corn lands will become
owners of family farms of 12½ acres each.
Gun Control. Perhaps his most successful action to date has been an
amnesty for the collection of illegal firearms. So far, 278,000 guns and
more than 1,300,000 rounds of ammunition have been turned in—astonishing
figures in a land where restaurant and nightclub signs used to invite
patrons to "check your guns." The much-needed gun control and a midnight
to 4 a.m. curfew have already resulted in a significant reduction in
crimes of violence, as well as late-night traffic accidents.
One curious factor in Marcos' dream of a "new society" is its puritanical
streak. Brigadier General Fidel Ramos, commandant of the Philippine
constabulary, said recently that his men had closed 124 gambling casinos,
24 of which had been operating openly on plush Roxas Boulevard before
martial law was declared. "I hope, gentlemen," Ramos declared, "that I
have not unduly interfered with your social life." Marcos has also banned
the bombas, pornographic films with titles like Climax of Love and Naked
in the Dark. Strangely, the Manila censor also closed down Nicholas and
Lopsided. Marcos' harshest edicts have been reserved for the press and his
political opponents, many of whom still languish in jail without any
charges being lodged against them. Only three of Manila's seven television
channels have been allowed to broadcast again; last week Marcos ordered
others permanently closed. "It would be too unpopular to keep them all
closed down," observed one Manila businessman. "After all, a television
set is the biggest investment of most families." The only newspapers
available are those that are uniformly pro-Marcos; censorship has
increased the hunger for news, though not universally. "I think it is
better without them," said a waiter. "They used to keep me all stirred up.
I think I sleep better at night now."
Filipinos may indeed sleep better because of what they do not know. As a
result of press censorship, for example, few are aware that last month
Marcos pushed through a new constitutional provision that would enable him
to remain in power indefinitely. The action came at a meeting of the
constitutional convention, an elected body that for more than a year has
been drafting a new constitution that would change the Philippines'
American-style presidential government to a British-style parliamentary
system. To ensure passage, the measure specified that those who voted for
it would automatically become members of the interim parliament. Those who
voted against it would, in effect, be writing an end to their political
careers. Not surprisingly, the provision passed by a lopsided margin of
264 to 13—not including the votes of six members who were in hiding and
six who had been detained.
How long the grace period for Marcos' new regime will last is anybody's
guess. Although the Philippine army seems to have contained the relatively
small cadre of Maoist insurgents on Luzon, there was a bloody clash two
weeks ago between Marcos' troops and units of the fledgling New People's
Army at Marawi in Mindanao, where MoslemChristian sectarian strife could
provide a tinderbox for future flare-ups. Marcos has also made some
powerful enemies in the past two months, including more than 4,500 civil
servants who were fired from their jobs on charges of corruption and
disloyalty, and wealthy oligarchs who were financially hurt by the
President's economic measures. There is as yet no common focal point for
resistance, but if reforms should lag the Filipinos' patience with
dictatorial rule could come to an abrupt end.
Martial Law in Retrospect
Will martial law rear its ugly, fascist head once more? Indications are
that new variants of martial law without the declaration are being hatched
in the form of anti-terrorism bills, as those championed then by Estrada
and Panfilo Lacson and now by President Macapagal-Arroyo. They are meant
to again defuse any new explosion of anti-imperialist protest.
BY RICCO ALEJANDRO M. SANTOS
Martial law remains one of the darkest episodes in the country's recent
past, although it registers in the
minds of most of today’s Filipino youth as just a blur in history books
and newspapers. The martial law era – from 1972-1986 - also saw a massive
outpouring of heroism, courage and resistance that led to its dramatic
end. Powerful lessons must be distilled and drawn from this dark period so
that if martial law
reemerges the entire Filipino nation would know how best to respond to it.
On Sept. 21, 1972, then President Marcos declared martial law, shutting
down Congress and media outfits belonging to fellow members of the
oligarchic upper class, and arrested and detained rival politicians. This
meant a complete collapse of the old comprador politics, in which the most
well-funded and most effective pretenders as public servants bought and
media-packaged their way to profitable government posts.
But the greatest and central target of the iron hand of martial law was
the radical, national democratic
movement. In the course of the 14-year dictatorship, the Marcos military
and police arrested and jailed
more than 30,000 suspected activists, based on reports by church-based
human rights groups. Drum-beating the crackdown was a rabid anti-Communist
hysteria, labeling militants and critics as "subversives." Brutal torture
of political detainees became standard operating procedure for the Armed
Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine Constabulary, now called the
Philippine National Police (see box). The reign of terror was directed
toward instilling total feudal submission to the supreme warlord in the
person of Marcos, then at the head of a clique of generals and cronies.
Seeds of martial law
The seeds of martial law were lain by no less than the father of the
present Philippine president, Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo -- Diosdado Macapagal -- and the International Monetary
Fund. Instructed by the IMF, the elder Macapagal in 1961 instituted
decontrol -- the free inflow of imports through tariff reductions, and the
free repatriation of dollar profits by foreign investors. This first
policy measure of Macapagal set the Philippine economy into a tailspin,
wiping out more than 10,000 businesses, and creating even greater poverty.
Decontrol tightened the neo-colonization of the economy, and whatever
small gains were achieved in Filipino industrialization during the period
of import and exchange controls.
At the same time, a group of young nationalists led by university
professor Jose Maria Sison was quickly reviving the country's
anti-imperialist mass movement that had already died down during the
1950s. From its initial base in the University of the Philippines, the
ferment grew nationwide, with the formation of the Kabataang Makabayan in
1964. The momentum reached fever pitch in 1968, as the Communist Party of
the Philippines emerged, in 1969, with the birth of the New People's Army,
and in 1970, with the surge of the legendary First Quarter Storm and its
fiery expose of imperialism and feudalism as the country's chief evils.
What was doubly alarming to the foreign corporate powers and their local
partner oligarchy was that not
only did this groundswell against imperialism and feudalism augur the
weakening of the rule of the old
system, but nationalist changes were finding their way into the very
fabric of the ruling power structure.
Three nationalist developments in the country's policy appeared from 1969
to 1972. In 1969, Congress under pressure from a growing anti-imperialist
public opinion, passed a Magna Carta that calling for
national industrialization against the dictates of the IMF. Then from 1971
to 1972, nationalists were gaining ground in gathering support for an
anti-imperialist agenda in the Constitutional Convention. In 1972, the
Supreme Court (SC) issued two decisions unfavorable to the foreign
monopolist corporations: one, in the Quasha case, which nullified all
sales of private lands to American citizens after 1945, and other rolled
back oil price hikes by the oil cartel.
With the nationalist trend on a roll, perpetuating colonial privileges for
foreign interests as the
Laurel-Langley Agreement and Military Bases Agreement soon to expire were
in dire peril. For the
powers-that-be, it was time to cut short the growth of the
anti-imperialist movement responsible for the
nationalist mood in the streets as well as in the halls of government.
Hence, martial law.
The Nixon administration – speaking through the American Chamber of
Commerce in Manila – hailed the
proclamation of martial law and, in particular, expected the growth of
foreign investment in the country. The very first act of Marcos after
issuing martial law decrees was to reverse the SC decision on the Quasha
case to the cheers of his foreign corporate patrons as martial law's chief
beneficiaries. And as an U.S. Congress report admitted, the martial law
period was a time for extending imperialist privileges for foreign
investment even further. In addition, for the masterminds of martial law,
the fascist clampdown on civil liberties "took care" of the nationalist
movement -- or so, they thought. Meanwhile, supported by its foreign
corporate and U.S. government patrons, the Marcos clique exploited the
situation to enrich itself at the expense of its political and business
Even before martial law was declared, the CIA was already aware that the
Marcoses were extremely
corrupt, pocketing huge amounts of military aid dollars. But Marcos’s
foreign patrons were only too
happy that the president’s greed was also matched by his puppetry to
foreign interests. During martial
law, Swiss banks collaborated with the Marcoses in money-laundering and
stashing away the loot, estimated to reach $10 billion by the fall of the
Both U.S. imperialist spin-doctors and the Marcos regime attempted to
peddle the fiction that martial
law was aimed at, and was succeeding in, modernizing the country. This
deception was popularly packaged as "new society" and "democratic
revolution." Advertised as the regime's antifeudal centerpiece, Marcos'
land reform preserved the landholdings of the richest hacienderos, while
forcing amortizing heavily indebted peasants to forfeit their landlords to
merchant-usurers. Philippine society remained as semicolonial and
semifeudal as ever.
While martial law dislocated the revolutionary movement in the short-term,
it boosted the revolution
in the long-term. Thousands of activists went underground and led the
construction of nationwide
resistance among the peasant and urban poor masses. Against tremendous
odds and at the cost of steep sacrifices at the outset, guerrilla war
eventually surged. By the early 1980s, the ruling establishment was
already greatly alarmed at the growth of the New People's Army and the
National Democratic Front.
Released by Marcos under U.S. pressure, Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino, Marcos's
chief rival in the feudal
oligarchy, flew back to the Philippines in 1983, in a bid, as he himself
described it, to help contain the
revolutionary upsurge. His assassination in the hands of the Marcos regime
only fuelled the fires of
protest from all quarters--including sections of the U.S. imperialist
establishment. While U.S. President
Reagan and the Pentagon opted to hang on to Marcos as long as possible,
the U.S. State Department decided much earlier to cast their lot with a
more marketable puppet in the person of a feudal hacienda owner, Corazon
Cojuangco Aquino, the widow of Marcos's rival.
Even as the rise of U.S. sponsored Marcos replacement rapidly shunted
aside and marginalized the open urban national-democratic forces
responsible for largely sustaining the protest from 1983 to 1986, it was
the fear among U.S. imperialist policy-makers of the growth of the
national-democratic revolution that
impelled them to "cut and cut clean" its patronage over Marcos. So ended
Anti-U.S. bases struggle
Although the rise of Cory Aquino did somewhat dampen the anti-imperialist
fever, as Marcos and his foreign patrons hoped to do with martial law,
post-Marcosanti-imperialist consciousness in the form of
opposition to the U.S. military bases remained high. In 1991, amid
nationalist stirrings, the effort to
extend the U.S. military bases agreement was defeated.
However, anti-imperialism did not find equal success in confronting new
forms of imperialism, which were more deceptive and even more disastrous
for the Filipino people. In 1995, Decontrol Diosdado's daughter, then Sen.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, led the pro-globalization drive in the Senate to
foist the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs of 1994, or the World
Trade Organization, on the country. The Macapagal plague had come full
New variants of martial law
Will martial law rear its ugly, fascist head once more? Indications are
that new variants of martial
law without the declaration are being hatched in the form of
anti-terrorism bills, as those championed then by Estrada and Panfilo
Lacson and now by Arroyo. They are meant to again defuse any new explosion
of anti-imperialist protest. This trend has received a massive boost with
the high-gear imperialist campaign of U.S. President Bush launched on the
pretext of anti-terrorism. The Bush forces have already occupied and
imposed martial law in Iraq, but the results are extremely disastrous both
for the American forces and the Iraqi people.
But in the case of the Filipino people, they do not have to search for
examples of martial law beyond
their shores with which to gauge their impact and prospects. The lessons
of the Philippines' own martial law history are clear: martial law will
face certain resistance and even, to the utter disappointment of its
architects, certain defeat. Bulatlat.com