MANILA, Philippines – Martial law implemented during the rule of then-President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. benefited the country, his son said on Tuesday.
Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos said “objective indicators” such as the poverty rate, the Philippines’ international status, and the government’s financial situation while his father was in power show that the country was in better days then.
He added that the government leaders should learn from his father.
He said one of the lessons taught by Martial Law is that “if political will is properly exercised, nothing is impossible."
The late strongman issued Proclamation 1081 that placed the country under martial law on September 21, 1972.
Thousands of opposition figures, journalists, students, and labor activists were arrested while media companies were either shut down or brought under government control.
Marcos also dissolved Congress and assumed its lawmaking responsibilities.
Former political prisoners during martial law, meanwhile, urged the government on Tuesday to indemnify victims of the Marcos dictatorship.
Fr. Dionito Cabillas, secretary general of the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), said it has been more than 20 years since they filed a case against Marcos in the US Federal District Court System on April 7, 1986.
"Justice delayed is justice denied. In 1991, the U.S. Federal Court system ruled that Marcos was guilty of ‘crimes against humanity,’ which included torture, summary executions and forced disappearances,” he said.
According to Cabillas, the decision ordered Marcos to pay human rights victims US$1.2 billion for exemplary damages and US$7.76 million for compensatory damages.
“Until now, no enabling law has been passed for the indemnification of Martial Law victims,” he said. “It is quite ironic that the current president, whose father and family became victims of political persecution under Martial Law, has not taken keen interest in seeking justice for Martial Law victims." – with a report from Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News