The family of the late Senator Jose Diokno on Friday described as "patently false" several claims made by former defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile about the martial law regime of President Ferdinand Marcos.
In a statement, the Diokno family said 3 statements made by Enrile in his recent interview with the dictator's namesake Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. are distortions of history. The 3 statements made by Enrile are:
- “Very few critics were arrested but they were released. They were inconvenienced for a while, but they were all released.”
- No one was arrested for just criticizing Marcos but rather for “criminal acts.”
- “The late Pepe Diokno didn’t want to be released. I told him, ‘Pepe, just sign anything and just get out of here!’ I told him.”
In response, the Diokno family said many detainees during the martial law regime were not only imprisoned but tortured and some, forcibly disappeared.
"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," the family said.
The family particularly cited the case of the late Senator Diokno who was among the first to be arrested in September 22, 1972, right after Marcos declared martial law.
Diokno was imprisoned for two years before being released by Marcos without any charges filed.
"Not once was he 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," the family said.
According to G.R. No. L-59118. March 3, 1988 Juan Dizon v. Brig.Gen. Vicente Eduardo penned by Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee, the Supreme Court acknowledged that Diokno was arrested and imprisoned for two years because he and then Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. were the "foremost contenders for the Presidency of the Republic in the scheduled November 1973 Presidential elections, at which time Mr. Marcos would have finished his second 4-year term and barred under the prevailing 1935 Constitution from running for a third term."
It noted that Marcos only released Diokno after learning that Justice Cecilia Muñoz-Palma, who had been appointed to the Court with two others on October 21, 1973, "had submitted a dissent with her separate opinion assailing Diokno’s continued detention for two years without charges as a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."
In its statement, the Diokno family also pointed out that thousands of victims of human rights violations under the martial law regime are receiving reparations from P10 billion in the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ secret Swiss bank deposits.