MANILA (UPDATED) - Personalities who survived martial rule debunked former defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile's claims that no critic was arrested during the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos' regime.
In an interview with the strongman's only son, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, aired on the anniversary of martial law declaration, Enrile claimed only a Chinese drug lord was executed by the government during martial law and that it was not true that 70,000 were arrested then.
"They claimed that we killed a lot of people, and that's why, when I was interviewed by someone some time ago, I challenged her, name me one that we executed, that we killed other than Lim Seng? "
"That we had 70,000 arrested, which was not true! Maybe if they will include the people who violated curfew and jaw walkers, maybe you can reach that number."
Here's what those who lived to tell the tale has to say about Enrile's claims.
Etta Rosales (former Commission on Human Rights chairperson, jailed twice during martial law):
"If he is saying nobody was arrested, nobody was tortured, nobody was killed because they fought against the Marcos dictatorship, what in heaven's name was he doing in the Senate when they actually passed the law recognizing the martyrdom of all those who fought for democracy under the dictatorship?"
Enrile affixed his signature on the “Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013," a law that former President Benigno Aquino III signed on Feb. 25, 2013.
Judy Taguiwalo (former social welfare department chief, jailed during martial law):
"You can talk to families of Senator Tañada, the families of Senator Diokno, the families of Senator Aquino. Let's talk to the families of National Artist Bien Lumbera, you know, faculty members of the University of the Philippines, who were in the university. I think it is important to argue against the lies, what UP is calling historical revisionism."
"If people believe Juan Ponce Enrile, then they deny the fact that Juan Ponce Enrile is part and parcel of the Marcos dictatorship for years until he broke rank in 1986."
Albay Representative Edcel Lagman:
"Unang-una ang sabi ay walang nakulong nung martial law. Wala lang nakulong maraming sapilitang winala, itong tinatawag na desaparaecidos o enforced disappearance na hanggang ngayon marami pang pamilyang nahahahanap pero palagay ko wala nang mangyayari."
"Members of my family, the late Hermon Lagman, a lawyer, was the first lawyer to have disappeared during martial law. We went to all camps looking for him we were told he was not there. We knew he had been apprehended by forces of the military. No less than Secretary Enrile, then the administrator of martial law, denied having my brother in their captivity. Si Ka Popoy, incarcerated several times during martial law. We have also very many friends and relatives who were victims of martial law during that time. I really feel more aggrieved and insulted by the very statements which would negate what happened during martial law."
Gabriela Party-list Representative Emmi de Jesus:
"To say that no one was arrested for his or her political beliefs and for criticizing the late dictator Marcos is an outrageous lie. I myself was arrested in 1977 for merely putting Labor Day stickers on a jeepney. I was detained in a detention center in Bicutan and was subjected to extreme psychological torture. Even my husband was also arrested and tortured by the fascist military."
Neri Colmenares (Bayan Muna chairman and former representative):
"Thousands were arrested and tortured during martial law for their political beliefs and standing up against the dictator. I know that Enrile is lying through his teeth because I was an 18-year-old student then pushing for the establishment of a student council and paper when I was arrested and tortured."
Family of late Senator Jose Diokno:
"Are we now to take torture, forced disappearance, and loss of life as forms of 'inconvenience? The denial of freedom 'for a while,' whether for a day or for decades, is simply not acceptable, and stating it as a fact—'They were inconvenienced for a while'—distorts the truth."
"Not once was he (Senator Diokno) even interrogated prior to and during imprisonment...To claim, therefore, that no one was arrested simply for criticizing Marcos but for criminal acts is, again, patently false."
Former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel Jr.:
"Siguro nakalimutan na niya ako. That’s part of aging."
"Maliwanag naman siguro na marami ang hinuli. As a matter of fact nung hinuli ako, ‘di ko alam kung bakit hinuli ako."