CBCP sounds alarm on 'radical distortions' of martial law, People Power history

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 25 2022 02:12 PM

Edgardo Mercader, who joined the EDSA People Power revolution in 1986, visits the People Power Monument on Feb. 25, 2022 wearing the ATOM or August Twenty-one Movement shirt he wore 36 years ago. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Edgardo Mercader, who joined the EDSA People Power revolution in 1986, visits the People Power Monument on Feb. 25, 2022 wearing the ATOM or August Twenty-one Movement shirt he wore 36 years ago. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) on Friday warned Filipinos of "radical distortions" in the history of martial law under the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and the EDSA People Power Revolution that ousted him from power. 

CBCP president Bishop Pablo Virgilio David said many bishops witnessed "the injustice and cruelty" of martial law. He said the rights abuses, corruption, grave debt and economic downturn of the country due to the Marcos dictatorship were "all well-documented." 

But David said online troll farms "sow the virus of lies", which distort history and influence public opinion. 

"In this letter, we favor none but the truth. We wish to warn you of the radical distortions in the history of Martial Law and the EDSA People Power Revolution," he said on the 36th anniversary of the peaceful uprising. 
 
He said the CBCP is "alarmed by this distortion of the truth of history and the attempt to delete or destroy our collective memory through the seeding of lies and false narratives."

"This is dangerous, for it poisons our collective consciousness and destroys the moral foundations of our institutions," David added. 

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CHURCH AND THE EDSA REVOLUTION 

The CBCP in the lead-up to the 1986 People Power revolt urged the public to use "peaceful means" against the disenfranchisement of voters, massive vote-buying, tampering of election returns, harassment, and murder following the snap elections between Marcos and opposition leader Corazon Aquino. 

“A government that assumes or retains power through fraudulent means has no moral basis," bishops said in a post-election statement. 

David said millions of voters, election watchdogs, poll officials, government workers, priests, and Catholics then "followed their conscience", leading to the EDSA revolution that forced the Marcoses into exile and installed Aquino to the presidency. 

"We did not invent the historic event that happened in EDSA; it was a fruit of love of neighbor and faith. With you, we were simply part of it," the CBCP leader said. 

"The peaceful revolution was not an invention of one person, one party, or one color. It was a triumph of the entire Filipino People," he added. 

He urged the public, "Let us stand up for the truth. Remember: goodness without truth is pretense. Service without truth is manipulation. There can be no justice without truth. Even charity, without truth, is only sentimentalism."

"An election or any process that is not based on truth is but a deception and cannot be trusted," David continued.
 
The Marcos family returned to the Philippines in the 1990s and began to revive its political fortune.

The dictator's son and namesake, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., is seeking the presidency in May's elections, and has topped recent opinion surveys.

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