Martial law victims: No to Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani!

People's lawyers: Glorifying a dictator is an insult to history!




March 26, 2011


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Photos, documents and testimonies  of repression,  torture and killings during the martial law years








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 agreement

“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 history.”

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 arbitrary.

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 delisted victims.

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 Streets,
Brgy. Central District, Diliman, Quezon City 1101, Philippines
Tel: 632-4342837 Fax: 632-4354146



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 Secretariat
National Union of Peoples' Lawyers(NUPL)
3F Erythrina Bldg., Maaralin corner Matatag Sts. Central District,Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.No.920-6660,Telefax No. 927- 2812
Email and
"Visit the NUPL at

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


▲ NUPL lawyers oppose Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani ▼


Marcos! Hitler! Diktador! Tuta! Hindi Bayani!

Photos, documents and testimonies of repression,  torture and killings



THE PHILIPPINES: Marcos' Martial Law
Monday, Oct. 02, 1972

TIME magazine,9171,906446-1,00.html

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 government."]

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 explosive results.



TIME Magazine

Monday, Nov. 20, 1972
THE PHILIPPINES: Life in a New Society,8816,712196,00.html

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 Alexandra.

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.


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 rivals.

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 dictatorship.

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.

Underground movement

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 martial law.

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 circle.

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.




Horrors of Martial Law Recounted
Stories of valor cheered

Davao activists, young and old, met to commemorate the 33rd year of martial law declaration last Sept. 21, showing that the seeds of political activism planted way back in the martial law years continue to grow.


DAVAO CITY – The covered court of one of the oldest elementary schools here, the Magallanes Elementary School, was where Davao activists, young and old, met to commemorate the 33rd year of martial law declaration last Sept. 21.

The activity became a reunion for old activists and a solidarity night for everyone and was attended by members of the Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (association of ex-detainees against detention and for amnesty) -First Quarter Stormers (SELDA- FQS), League of Filipino Students (LFS), Anak ng Bayan (nation’s youth or AnB), College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and National Union of Students in the Philippines (NUSP), as well as members of the cultural group Kabataang Artista para sa Tunay na Kalayaan (young artists for genuine freedom or Karatula).

Alliances and people's organizations like Karapatan, Bayan and Gabriela and Kahugpungan sa mga Magtutudlo ug Kawani sa Edukasyon sa Mindanao (KAMKEM or organization of teachers and employees in education in Mindanao) were also represented.

If the well-attended affair were an indication, activism in Davao is, indeed, not only alive but continues to grow as well. This may well be because the seeds of political activism planted way back in the martial law years and even before that have paid well.

Prepared by the city’s young activists, the program was replete both with reminiscences expressed in poetry, dances, songs and chants as well as rage that came out in the skits and slogans.

Activists from the First Quarter Storm era (1970s) gave testimonies of their martial law experiences. To the crowd's amazement, they could still recall the exact places where they were arrested, the “UG” (underground) houses they used, the camps where some of their comrades fell, the people they met in detention and, yes, even the rooms where they were tortured by military and constabulary men.

Accounts of how the narrators outsmarted their captors received the loudest cheers from the young ones in the crowd who were obviously enthralled as they listened intently to the stories of their predecessors.

The more than a hundred activists present agreed that their lives as activists may be decades apart but the cause for which they converged that evening was one and the same – to have the courage to fight any force or person seeking to trample on their freedom and civil liberties.

As the narrations unfolded, it became clear they were not merely accounts of suffering; more than anything, they were stories of strength and determination.

Those who survived to bear witness to the horrors of martial law said they will never get tired of telling their stories. The presence of new faces, referring to the new generation of activists, makes each telling take on a different meaning, they also said.

That evening, young activists depicted in a comical skit Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as a president more brutal than the dictator that former President Ferdinand Marcos was.

According to the presentation, Macapagal-Arroyo is not only callous to the cries of the people but has also ordered the killing of countless farmers, workers and activists, most of them conveniently charged as “communist rebels.”

In the light of her declaration that she will now be implementing "get-tough" policies on protests – no doubt due to the activism displayed in Davao that evening and in many other areas of the country where commemorations of martial law were also held – the activists, young and old, showed that they have not forgotten and will never forget the lessons of martial law.

With this, they showed as well that Macapagal-Arroyo had also better learn her history lesson well. Bulatlat




Torture Methods and Torturers of Martial Law

There can be no talk of martial law without mention of torture, for it played one of the most prominent parts in the Marcos dictatorship’s arsenal of terror. Very rare was the political prisoner of those times who was “fortunate” enough not to be tortured, physically or mentally.


There can be no talk of martial law without mention of torture, for it played one of the most prominent parts in the Marcos dictatorship’s arsenal of terror. Very rare was the political prisoner of those times who was “fortunate” enough not to be tortured, physically or mentally.

A form which martial law victims under the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainee Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (Selda, an organization of ex-political prisoners) used to file cases defines torture thus: “Torture as used herein means any act, directed against an individual in the custody or physical control of the Philippine military, by which severe pain or suffering (other than pain or suffering arising only from or inherent in, or incidental to, lawful sanctions), whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on that individual for such purposes As obtaining from that individual or a third person information or a confession, punishing that individual for an act that individual or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, intimidating or coercing that individual or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind.”

Torture also includes mental pain or suffering from prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from:

- The intentional infliction or threatened infliction of severe physical pain or suffering;

- The administration or application, or threatened administration, of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or the personality;

- The threat of imminent death; or

- The threat that another individual will be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering, or the administration or application of mind-altering substances or other procedures calculated to disrupt profoundly the senses or personality.

Torture methods

The methods of torture during the martial law years can easily be compiled into a sort of encyclopedia of barbarism for their sheer number.

Benjamin Pimentel’s The Unusual Journey of Edgar Jopson is an account of the torture of a certain Laura, an underground organizer in the same team as Jopson. She was stripped naked in an airconditioned room and her breasts mashed by her interrogators. An eggplant dipped in crushed chili pepper was inserted into her sex organ.

Jopson himself was heavily tortured. He was repeatedly punched and slapped while under interrogation. In some instances pictures of his wife and children were dangled in front of him while he was being questioned.

A document in the files of Selda tells of a man squeezed into a rubber tire with his knees to his chest. He was left in that position for some time.

In his book, The Philippine Revolution: The Leader’s View, Prof. Jose Ma. Sison, founding chairman of Kabataang Makabayan (Nationalist Youth) and the Communist Party of the Philippines, tells of having a towel pressed against his mouth and water flushed through his nostrils. He also relates being physically beaten, usually in the form of punches to the floating ribs and solar plexus. There were times when his interrogators threatened to bang his head against the wall. But the most painful form of torture for him and most other victims was psychological, especially long periods of solitary confinement that physically isolated him from loved ones, friends and fellow political detainees.

Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo is one of the better-known political prisoners of the martial law period, not only because he was one of those held longest (1976-85), but also because he had the utter misfortune of being subjected to many of the worst forms of torture. He has described his experiences as a torture victim in various media interviews. He was electrocuted in the genitals, nipples, and forehead, had his head banged repeatedly against a wall and was made to lie naked on a block of ice.

An article by Elizabeth Lolarga for Planet Philippines narrates how Rep. Ocampo, at one point, was made to eat human feces. He was also slapped several times in the ears; as a result, he said in a guesting on Larry Henares’ Make My Day, his hearing was affected.

Writers Pete Lacaba and Boni Ilagan both recount being made to “lie in air,” or to rest their heads and feet between two benches placed far apart—which means that the rest of the body has to be suspended in air. They were also subjected to punches, especially whenever they were sliding down as a result of the fatigue from “lying in air.”

May Verzola-Rodriguez was newly wed when she was arrested. In an article written by Lorna-Kalaw Tirol for the Philippine Daily Inquirer in 1999, Rodriguez is quoted as saying she was repeatedly punched, slapped and sexually molested. Bullets were inserted between her fingers and her hand was squeezed whenever she was asked a question.

Luisa Posa of Iloilo City, in the same article by Kalaw-Tirol, is quoted as recalling having been undressed, slapped, and given a soft-drink version of the water cure (gallons of soft drinks were poured on her face, blocking her mouth and nostrils). She was also subjected to the Russian roulette, whereby the barrel of a revolver is loaded with a bullet and spun, and the trigger pressed in between verbal threats.

Prof. Judy Taguiwalo’s first torture was also physical. She was undressed and made to sit on a block of ice overnight. She was also given the water cure. After that ordeal, she escaped from prison but was again arrested shortly after. The second time around, the torture was mental: pregnant by then, she was given a book to read, a Latin American novel about a pregnant woman who gets raped while searching for her husband.

The case of former navy captain Dan Vizmanos, which he has written about in his book Through the Eye of the Storm as well as in the forthcoming Martial Law Diary: Part One, is more of mental torture but no less severe. While undergoing interrogation, he was given several injections of truth serum, a mind-altering substance. He was also subjected repeatedly to the Russian roulette.


The website ( of Gaston Z. Origas Peace Institute has lists of military officials and personnel, as well as civilian employees of the armed forces, who were involved in prominent torture cases.

The name that appears the most frequently is that of the late Rodolfo Aguinaldo. (He was executed by the New People’s Army in 2001.) He had a hand in the tortures of Ocampo, Lacaba, and Ilagan, as well as that of former presidential spokesperson now Palace chief of staff Rigoberto Tiglao.

Another name that appears more than once is that of Victor Batac.

The lists mention several more names: Miguel Aure, Cesar Alvarez, Robert Delfin, Cecilio Panilla, Virgilio Saldajeno, Laurel Valdez, Cirilo Batingal, Cayetano Fajardo, Cesar Garcia, Eduardo Matillano, Lucio Valencia, Alejandro Galido, Luis Beltran (not the late journalist), Jesus Caluanan, Welen Escudero (civilian), Florante Macatangay, Joseph Malilay, Pablito Pesquisa, Eduardo Sebastian, Charlie Tolopa, Hernani Figueroa, Amado Espino, Benjamin Libarnes, Lazaro Castillo, Arsenio Esguerra, Eduardo Kapunan, Rolando Abadilla, Billy Bibit, and Gregorio Honasan.

Alfred McCoy’s Closer than Brothers, from which the lists are culled, also names Panfilo Lacson as one of the torturers.

In Selda documents are the names of Balbino Diego, Roger Anista, Felicito Ricardo, and Pat Ordoña.

The widespread practice of torture during the martial law era can be partly traced to the fact that hazing is sort of a standard operating procedure in the military.

Project Sea Hawk: The Barbed Wire Journal, a prison diary by writer and UP professor Dolores Stephens-Feria, who was detained during martial law, tells of one officer whom she calls “Reggie” (most of the persons mentioned in the book appear under code names) defending the practice of hazing at the Philippine Military Academy, where he graduated.

The admission of “Reggie” is corroborated in an interview Lacson gave to the Philippine Graphic in 1999. In that interview, Lacson admitted to having experienced hazing at the PMA, where he graduated together with Honasan in 1971, and even said, “You can’t stop hazing any more than you can stop murder.”

Military officials who experienced hazing in their cadet days often replicate the process on their subordinates and other people under their physical control such as detainees as a way of getting back at those who hazed them. The case is the same with their subordinates who bear the brunt of their “vengeance.”

But the roots of torture in the Philippines go back even further. Torture in the country is in fact a carry-over of both Spanish and American colonialism, under which occupation troops and police popularized the use of water cure and other brutal methods against revolutionaries and resistance fighters. Many AFP officers who trained in U.S. military institutes were also taught interrogation techniques including torture.

Not well known

The widespread employment of torture on political prisoners during martial law is one aspect of the period that is not known to many people today. To many, even to some who claim to have lived through martial law, the period was simply one of quiet throughout the country, one when Filipinos were exceptionally “well-behaved.”

Such people are at risk of falling into the trap of martial law apologists, such as Ilocos Norte Rep. Imee Marcos, who takes every opportunity to claim that martial law was the best thing that happened to the country.

Awareness of the prevalence and severity of torture during the martial law era should be enough to prevent anyone from justifying the declaration of PD 1081 on September 21, 1972, or any new form of martial law.


▲ The arrest and torture of Armando Teng ▼
The killing of Fortunato Bayotlang
The arrest and killing of Santiago Arce
The arrest and killing of Generoso Sibay


Chronicle of Troubled Times
A Review of Martial Law Diary: Part One
By Ex-Navy Capt. Danilo Vizmanos
Published by Popular Bookstore

Danilo Vizmanos’s Martial Law Diary: Part One is very timely, not only because it falls on the eve of the 31st anniversary of the declaration of martial law, but also because today there is an increasing number of people who have not the slightest idea of what happened during the martial law years. This book should be made required reading for them. The book not only chronicles events that transpired from Jan. 1, 1973 to May 19, 1974; it helps the reader to make sense of these as well.


Three years after the publication of his book Through the Eye of the Storm, former Navy Capt. Danilo
Vizmanos (known throughout the cause-oriented movement as Ka Dan) is coming out with another book. The book, Martial Law Diary: Part One, will be launched on Sept. 20 at Popular Bookstore in Quezon City.

While Through the Eye of the Storm narrates Ka Dan’s life from his birth to his ordeals as a political
prisoner, Martial Law Diary is a record from Jan. 1, 1973 to May 19, 1974 of his thoughts, as well as some of his activities — very few of which are otherwise told of, and, if ever, without detail. This, along with other books on the martial law era, such as Dolores Stephens-Feria’s Project Sea Hawk: The Barbed Wire Journal, proves—as Pilosopong Tasyo of Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere said—that “Not everyone was asleep in the night of our ancestors.”

Indeed, the martial law era was a long night, but many who refused to be put to sleep by the lies and terrorism of the dictatorship. Ka Dan was one of them; he was both actor on the stage of resistance and chronicler of its history.

Ka Dan’s second book is an easy read. A really fast reader can go through all 236 pages in just about four hours of straight reading, or even less. The author has the ability to write both elegantly and smoothly.

One who has never heard of Ka Dan prior to reading this book will be very surprised to find out that the
entries in this diary were written by a man in his forties. For among the distinguishing characteristics
of the book is that it was written with the burning indignation associated with the stereotypical young

He makes no bones about his admiration for the young rebels of Philippine history. “The revolution of 1896 was initiated,” he writes, “led and carried out by young men who were avoided like the plague by their elders.” And he adds: “With certain exceptions the history of mankind has shown that moral weakness is a social ailment more closely associated with senility than with youth and adolescence.”

Salient features

His first entry is a brief description of martial law and its effects on the Filipino people.

“What are the salient features of what FM proudly proclaims as the ‘New Society’?” he asks. “Never in the country’s history has there been so many decent Filipinos in confinement and behind bars. Politicians, newsmen, teachers, students, civic leaders, writers, priests, businessmen, and others whose crime was to reveal the truth and expose the rottenness and stink of this decaying society.

“Never in our history has there been so many fugitives being hunted down by the PC and AFP intelligence and special units all over the country. They have become fugitives because they dared express their convictions (a crime under the New Society!) at the risk of their lives.”

These comments of his on the martial law era are worth keeping in mind.

You can feel Ka Dan’s rage whenever he writes of atrocities against human rights. For example, in his May 25, 1973 entry, he describes the case of Liliosa Hilao, the first political prisoner to be killed in detention under martial law, a brilliant activist-student writer who would, he notes, have graduated cum laude from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila had she not been arrested by the martial law regime. (Other accounts, though, say she was a summa cum laude candidate). He relates the ghastly details of her ordeal: “The brave girl patriot was tortured and raped by her PC captors and guards. Muriatic acid was forced down her throat. She died almost instantaneously.”

In the diary, he also reveals how PC authorities tried to sweep this violation under the rug: “To cover up their heinous and sadistic crime, PC authorities injected drugs into the victim’s body to simulate drug
addiction. When the body was returned to the Hilao family, a PC lieutenant even gave P460 to the parents for unknown reasons.”

Abominable crime

One wonders whether or not Ka Dan anticipated Imee Marcos’s recent justification of martial law, when she said: “The best roads and bridges were built during martial law. Even the movies then were very good.” Although written in 1973, his condemnation of the abuse and murder of Liliosa Hilao is a searing reply today to the Marcos daughter, now a congressman from Ilocos: “For this single crime that Marcos and his gangsters have committed on the brave but defenseless Liliosa, a million kilometers of paved
roads and all the gimmicks they have come up with cannot erase from the Filipino people such an
abominable crime that will forever serve as a dark legacy of the New Society.”

In his diary, he also writes frequently of the sufferings and psychological torture of oppositionist detainees Jose W. Diokno and Ninoy Aquino. He lauds Diokno’s solid resolve amid mental pressure and denial of much-needed medical aid.

In the diary, too, can be found Ka Dan’s lavish praise for leading radical opponents of the dictatorship, including Jose Ma. Sison, Tony Zumel, Satur Ocampo, and Pete Daroy.

His diatribes against the then First Family, not only for their complicity in building a climate of fear but also for their extreme profligacy, are winners. He compares Ferdinand Marcos to Caligula, the insane Roman dictator of 37-41 AD, who believed himself a god, wanted to make his horse a consul, and demanded that a statue of himself be built in the Jewish temple of Jerusalem. First Lady Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, for her part, is likened to Marie Antoinette, the intolerably ostentatious French queen of the late 18th century who, when told by ministers that the French people had nothing to eat, replied: “Let them eat cake!”

Powerful punches

He reserves particularly powerful punches for those “writers” and “journalists,” such as Primitivo Mijares and Doroy Valencia, who used their pens to deceive the people into believing that martial law was the best thing that ever happened to the country. “It would be an insult to mention the names of Mijares and Valencia in the same breath as Tony Zumel or Ernie Granada or Satur Ocampo or Roz Galang,” he writes.

(Mijares himself would later be sickened with his work for the martial law regime and make an expose of its crimes in his book The Conjugal Dictatorship. After the book’s publication, he mysteriously disappeared, while his ten-year-old son was found dead with bruises all over. Primitivo Mijares has not surfaced to this day.)

Through his diary, Ka Dan also castigates the Marcoses for using entertainment as an opium to divert the attention of the people from the nauseating ugliness of the times.

As early as 1973, Ka Dan in his diary predicts the ultimate fall of the Marcoses. Nay, he does not only predict it; he is also sure of it. In 1986, the Filipino people would prove him right by ousting the Marcoses through a people-power uprising at Edsa.

Another characteristic of this book that distinguishes it from other chronicles of the martial law era is that it describes martial law in the context of U.S. imperialism. The diary is full of virulent attacks on U.S. imperialism. He assails the U.S. for preaching “democracy,” “freedom,” and “free enterprise” while inflicting the most unspeakable violence on peoples who desire true freedom and democracy, such as the Vietnamese, and backing up the most anti-democratic regimes such as the Marcos government. He compares the freedom-loving peoples of the third world, the victims of U.S. hegemonic greed, to Christ and the early Christians, who during the Roman Empire “were hunted down and killed like dogs in the Catacombs.”

Roman emperor

Then U.S. President Richard Nixon is likened by Ka Dan to the Roman emperor Caesar, while his puppets Van Thieu, Lon Nol, Suharto and Marcos are each depicted as a contemporary Herod who “betrays his own people.”

At the same time that he condemns U.S. imperialism, Ka Dan in his diary lauds internationally known symbols and pillars of the anti-imperialist struggle: Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, Fidel Castro, and Che Guevara. He repeatedly asserts that military force alone cannot guarantee victory, that the strongest military force can be defeated by a united and awakened people, and that Vietnam would (as it did in 1975) eventually triumph over the U.S. In his diary, Ka Dan looked up to China as a model society. His accurate forecast about Vietnam would come true while Ka Dan was already in detention, himself a leading victim of martial law.

He makes it clear, though, that while against U.S. imperialism he is not against the American people. He writes that he can differentiate between the U.S. government and corporate establishment, on one hand, and the American people, on the other. In his May 25, 1973 entry he tells of having read Mary McCarthy’s Vietnam, and says: “I have not lost faith in American people so long as there are Mary McCarthys and Daniel Ellsbergs and Benjamin Spocks and Father Berrigans among them.”

The publication of the first part of Ka Dan’s Martial Law Diary is very timely, not only because it falls on the eve of the 31st anniversary of the declaration of martial law, but also because today there is an
increasing number of people who have not the slightest idea of what happened during the martial law years. This book should be made required reading for them. The book not only chronicles events that transpired from Jan. 1, 1973 to May 19, 1974; it helps the reader to make sense of these as well.

The book is being co-published by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan.


The arrest, torture, rape and killing of Liliosa Hilao
▲ The arrest and killing of Marsman Alvarez  ▼

▲ The arrest and torture of Charlie Palma  ▼



A Family of Martial Law Victims


Main Story: Martial-Law Victims Urge Aquino to Fast-Track Reparation Payments

MANILA — Romeo Luneta was only 19 when he joined Kabataang Makabayan (KM or Patriotic Youth). He was a student at the University of the Philippines College of Agriculture in Los Banos, Laguna, when he was arrested in October 1972.

“Elements of the MIG [military intelligence group] arrested me. There were no charges, only Marcos’s Asso [arrest and search and seizure order],” Tatay Romy, as he is fondly called by colleagues in the human rights community, said.

Former dictator Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law the month before. From that day on until almost four years, Tatay Romy was detained at the Camp Vicente Lim in Canlubang, Laguna. He was made to endure all sorts of ill-treatment and torture.

“Naked, they electrocuted me. Naked, they beat me up. I have chosen to forget the details because it still pains me,” Tatay Romy, now 68, said in an interview.

On Dec. 22, 2010, Tatay Romy was among those who received a letter from a United States court, informing him about the claims he would receive. (see related story) For him though, no amount of money could ever compensate for what he and his siblings suffered during the dark years of the dictator’s rule.

Tatay Romy said he was arrested by the military on the belief that he was Jose or Pepe, a younger brother, who, according to the military, was then a high-ranking member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). Five other siblings Ernesto, Domingo, Maxima, Franco and Francisco were also activists. Tatay Romy was the first to be arrested.

Francisco, 59, said he was arrested in the early morning of May 12, 1974. That afternoon, Domingo was also arrested at the house of Fidel Agcaoili, another activist who was also arrested. Pepe was arrested in 1975 somewhere in Navotas.

On April 12, 1974, Franco’s wife Margarita and two-year-old daughter Ningning were among the eight individuals who were abducted by state agents in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija. They remain missing to this day.

When asked about the torture, Francisco just said: “All types of [kawalanghiyaan] cruelty.” But Francisco said their brother Ernesto suffered the most.

“Hands tied, he was drowned in a swimming pool. The torturers would revive him and repeat the process over and over again,” Francisco said. “They would also pour hot water on him, followed by cold water that made his body shake involuntarily,” he added. Long after Ernesto was released from prison, Francisco said, his brother’s legs still trembled.

Ernesto was beaten up repeatedly to the point that his legs and arms became bloated, said Francisco.

Ernesto died last year. Domingo died in 2007. Only five of them, including Maxima, Franco and Pepe are still alive.

When he received the news about the claims, Tatay Romy said, he welcomed it. “Our struggle for justice is far from over; I would use it for that,” he said. Now 68 years old, Tatay Romy has diabetes and hypertension; he takes 12 types of medicines per day. He needs to spend P3,500 ( $78) a month for his medical expenses.

Tatay Romy said no amount would be enough to compensate for the crimes of the Marcoses. “If they [Marcoses] would be punished, our sufferings would not be for naught,” he said.

But the Marcoses are back in power. “They are rich. They can buy votes,” Tatay Romy said.

While Tatay Romy and Francisco support the call of the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (Selda) for the immediate passage of the compensation bill for the victims of martial law, Tatay Romy said, he bears no illusion that President Benigno S. Aquino III will render justice to the victims.

“He, like the Marcoses, belong to the ruling elite. They wish to preserve the status quo,” Tatay Romy said, adding that Aquino is also implementing a repressive counterinsurgency program. “Aquino has been in power for less than a year and yet, many activists have already been killed,” Tatay Romy said.


▲ The arrest and torture of Flor Glor ▼