Religious leaders on martial law: We should not move on


Posted at Sep 21 2018 05:50 PM

Protesters join a church-led protest at the People Power Monument in Quezon City, November 5, 2017. About 3,000 people joined the event with calls to "Stop the Killings" and "Start the Healing." Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A group of local religious leaders on Friday slammed members of the Marcos family who insisted that critics should "move on" from martial law. 

This, as the country marked the 46th year since the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. declared martial law, a period remembered for thousands of cases of human rights abuses, disappearances, and killings.

In a statement released on Friday, the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines said the Marcoses were discounting the suffering of the Filipino people when they "dismissively suggest" that the people should just move on. 

"We cannot 'move on' without addressing the oppression and suffering of the many. We must not move on and simply forget on the basis of lies and historical revision of the Marcoses ushered in, venerated even, by the Duterte administration," the group said. 

The religious leaders said the current situation of the country is reminiscent to what happened under Marcos' strongman rule. 

The group cited the soaring prices of basic goods and services, heavy and regressive commodity taxes, food insecurity, deepening poverty, increased control and authoritarian rule, and the weakening of basic checks-and-balances.

"All these constitute a semblance of that dark past; looming once again even before its horrors have been truly accounted for," the group added. 

The religious leaders also urged Filipinos to resist what they called the "rising tyranny and dictatorship." 

"We cannot remain silent in the midst of exploitation, oppression, where majority are left to suffer in despair and poverty and, worst, killed brazenly with impunity," the group said.

"The Duterte administration’s widespread and systematic campaigns of blood and violence are undeniable. The streets have been soaked with blood and the cries of the people are for justice."

The administration has many times denied involvement in summary killings under the drug war. 

President Rodrigo Duterte, meanwhile, said in October last year that becoming a dictator was not in his nature. In February, he said he "will be a dictator" to put the country in order. 

Earlier, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, daughter of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, said Filipinos who continue to rail against her family should move on. 

Meanwhile, asked about his sister's statement, Marcos' namesake son former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. refused to answer the question categorically, saying the issue is more than 30 years old. 

He also claimed that the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG), the agency tasked to recover the Marcoses' ill-gotten wealth after the regime was toppled by the 1986 EDSA revolution, has been abolished. 

But, in a statement, the PCGG, under acting Chairman Reynold Munsayac, said that the agency has not been abolished and, in fact, continues to do its work.