MANILA - Victims of former president Ferdinand Marcos’ martial law on Friday criticized his son Bongbong Marcos and former defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile over a video defending the dictatorship.
Opposition lawmaker Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman blasted Enrile for saying no one was arrested or detained during martial law.
"Unang-una ang sabi ay walang nakulong nung martial law. Wala lang nakulong maraming sapilitang winala, itong tinatawag na desaparecidos o enforced disappearance na hanggang ngayon marami pang pamilyang nahahahanap pero palagay ko wala nang mangyayari," he told reporters.
He also said the story of martial law cannot be rewritten.
"Tungkol sa revision na sinasabi nila, you cannot revise the odious facts about martial law sapagkat 'yan ay nakasulat na 'di lamang sa ating istorya pero sa damdamin ng maraming nag-sacrifice during martial law. There can be no revision of the atrocities of martial law at iyung mga millennials naman alam na nila kung ano nangyari ng martial law," Lagman said.
For as long as the Marcos family is trying to revise history, Lagman said the country cannot move on from martial law.
"Sino ba nagrerevise ng istorya ng martial law ay mismong pamilya ng late dictator who masterminded the dark ages of martial law. Sa palagay ko, we cannot move on until these people who are the beneficiaries of martial law will continue denying the brutalities and atrocities of martial law and the economic meltdown of this country," he said.
Lagman recalled that members of his own family suffered under Marcos’ martial law.
"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," he said.
"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," Lagman added.
Gabriela Rep. Emmy de Jesus shared her own martial law experience.
"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," De Jesus said.
For De Jesus, the Marcos-Enrile video is a distortion of the history of the martial law.
"This Bongbong-Enrile tete-a-tete distorts the dark era that was Marcos' martial law, and bastardizes the memory of those who fought the Marcos dictatorship. This is purely aimed at aiding the full political rehabilitation of the Marcoses. But martial law survivors like me will contest these lies head-on. Puwede kaming magdebate tungkol dito para malantad ang pambabaluktot ng kasaysayan na ito," she said.
Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao blamed Enrile's age for his claims.
"I can understand the age of Senator Enrile na may mga ganiyan na siyang infirmities sa kaniyang pag-iisip. I attributed it to his old age. Malamang nakalimot na," he said.
"It’s very outrageous to say the least na walang nacommit na pag-aresto, masaker o pagpaslang. Let me remind former Senator Enrile kaya nga ngayon hinahabol ng Kongreso na maextend yung period ng validity ng compensation because there is a law approved by Congress recognizing that there are thousands upon thousands of Filipinos victimized by various human rights violations during martial law," Casilao added.
Bayan Muna chairman and former representative Neri Colmenares denied Enrile's claim that no one was arrested or detained during martial law.
"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," he said.
"Enrile and Marcos should stop rewriting history to suit their political ambitions. The law for compensating the victims of human rights abuses during Ferdinand Marcos' rule is proof that the Philippine government itself recognizes that there was massive human rights atrocities during his time," added Colmenares
"We must not allow this historical revisionism to gain any traction; we must continue to educate everybody on the horrors of Martial rule and that they are still happening today.We do not only owe this to those who died and offered their lives fighting the dictatorship, we also owe it to our children and our country " Colmenares said.
Rep. Carlos Zarate said there were at least 2 massacres during martial rule.
"The first was the Palimbang massacre or the Malisbong massacre in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat on September 24, 1974 where around 1, 500 men were shot and the women and children were arrested. The mosques were also razed to the ground,"said the Davao-based solon.
"The second massacre happened in Bingcul village in Mindanao on November 12, 1977, where 42 villagers were killed by uniformed men," Zarate added.
"Enrile and Marcos are trying to deodorize martial rule and project it as a panacea for peace and prosperity.They are trying to drown out the growing awareness of the youth of today, the millennials who are now learning what really happened during Martial law," he also said.
Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin, in a statement, said Enrile's claims is part of the effort by the Marcoses to revise history.
“Enrile’s claims are made not for the sake of the truth but part of a grand effort by the Marcoses to revise history. Enrile can’t even use his old age as an excuse for this blatant attempt to lie to Filipinos. It is revolting and insanely disgusting coming from a ‘Marcos traitor’ who was saved by Filipinos from Marcos’ wrath during the EDSA 1 revolution. The Marcos Human Rights Victims Compensation Board has awarded at least 10,000 claimants from some 70,000 potential victim claimants, including families of victims in the 1974 Malisbong massacre in Sultan Kudarat where 1,500 Moro civilians were killed," he said.
In a tete-a-tete with the strongman's only son on the eve of the anniversary of the martial law declaration, Enrile said millennials are misinformed about Marcos' martial rule.
The 94-year-old claimed that the country was peaceful during its first years and denied killings and arrests of dissidents, saying government forces only executed a Chinese drug lord and arrested only those who violated the law.