MANILA - Forty-five years since the declaration of martial law, Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President and Lingayen Archbishop Socrates Villegas said the horrors of the Marcos regime are creeping up in the country again.
The bishop recalled how the concept of "new society" was bannered back then, at the expense of silencing dissent.
"The streets were clean but dead bodies were mixed with garbage in the dumping sites," the prelate said in his homily on Thursday at the Cathedral of Saint John the Evangelist in Dagupan City.
Villegas was the long-time secretary of the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, who was a key figure in the People Power Revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship.
"We had elections but we knew the results even before the ballots were cast. Television and radio were censored and newspapers were controlled."
In the present, Villegas said martial law may be confined in Mindanao but the killings continue to rise nationwide.
"Killing the poor and the poorest is the only solution they know to stop crime. Fake news abound and liars succeed to mislead and confuse," the bishop said.
"Decency has given way to cuss words. The respectful and the polite are ridiculed and the rude and ill-mannered are the new saints."
While Villegas urged Filipinos to support and demand change, the bishop said what the country needs is change "for the better", and not the "change from life to death."
"Do not relent. Do not tolerate excuses and jokes. Demand for the change promised. Bayan gumising!" he said.