Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Nie Wieder

In Memoriam Liliosa Hilao

I was the first murder victim under Marcos’ martial law regime.
I will not be the last casualty of political repression.
What was my crime?
I exercised my freedom of speech and expression.
They were guaranteed under our constitution.
I exercised my freedom of the press.
Associate editor of Hasik, our university student publication,
I wrote articles like “The Vietnamization of the Philippines,” “Democracy Is Dead in the Philippines Under Martial Law.”
The year I died I was 23 years old, about to graduate with honors from Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.
Soldiers forced their way into my home, looking for my brother.
He was a Communist, they claimed.
Not there, they ate our family’s lunch, like wolves, no fairy tale.
Arriving home with my sister, a high school student, I asked for a search warrant.
They slapped me, forced me into a room, attempted gang rape.
They beat my sister, damaging her hearing and eyesight.
Nighttime, they hauled us both off to a military camp.
They pummeled me like a live chicken before it’s stewed.
Bruised all over, I resembled a ripe blackberry bush.
Injected with “truth serum,” I turned into a tender, swollen orange punctured multiple times.
Indentations, gun barrel points, inscribed my flesh like seals of the Antichrist.
Ringed by a bracelet of cigarette burns, my mouth hung open, a door about to shut.
Old hempen bag, I collapsed in the cell I shared with my sister, middle of the night.
Powerless to prevent further abuse, handcuffed by circumstances, my brother-in-law, an army officer, visited me.
They are my last witnesses.
Next day, I was gang-raped in the men’s bathroom.
To destroy my testimony, they poured muriatic acid down my throat
And then alleged I had committed suicide.
Some compassionate man, they said, attempted to save my life by stabbing my throat so that I could breathe.
Hole in my throat says otherwise.
I was butchered like a pig, by pigs.
They excavated my internal organs to destroy any evidence of rape.
They divided my body, top of skull down to pubis, same purpose.
Again, I ask, what was my crime?
I had spoken on behalf of freedom, using my intellectual gifts from God.
My brain was returned to my family in a pail.
I had drawn courage from my heart, my deepest entrails, so to speak.
My entrails were also returned in a pail.
I had opened my mouth in protest.
My tongue was cut in half.
I was the poster girl for the fate of all those who dared to oppose the regime.
I am the first. I will not be the last.
Never forget.
Never again.
Nie vergessen.
Nie wieder.

Originally published in Turk's Head Review (July 30, 2016)

At the Memorial to the Unknown Prisoner, Dachau Concentration Camp, Germany


  1. Contributor’s Note:

    The poem is about the torture and murder of Liliosa Hilao during the martial law regime of Marcos. Some artistic license has been used to recreate her ordeal. References are attached.

    The poem responds to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s expressed intention to bury Marcos at the Cemetery of Heroes (Libingan ng mga Bayani). Duterte recently authorized Marcos’ burial on September 18, 2016. See:

    Dancel, Raul. (August 7, 2016). Philippines’ Duterte Says Former Dictator Marcos Can Be Buried at Heroes’ Cemetery. The Straits Times. Retrieved from http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/philippines-duterte-gives-go-ahead-for-former-dictator-marcos-burial-at-heroes-cemetery

    The poem protests Duterte’s action by inciting remembrance of the heinous crimes committed under Marcos’ command responsibility.

    Allusion to the Holocaust is intentional. Although the scale of the Holocaust exceeds the extent of the abuses under the martial law regime of Marcos, the political pathology is basically the same.

    Burying Marcos at Libingan ng mga Bayani sends the wrong message to the people of the Philippines. We cannot build a nation on the foundation of lies, heinous crimes, and massive corruption exemplified by Marcos, honoring him as a hero. Honor genuine heroes who will serve as an example of sacrifice of self for the entire nation.


    Ang Lagalag. (July 23, 2016). Hero’s Burial kay Makoy? Never Again. Never Forget. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/206869209470230/videos/667982480025565/

    HILAO, Liliosa R. (October 17, 2015). Bantayog ng mga Bayani. Retrieved from http://www.bantayog.org/?p=1059

    Hilao-Gualberto, Alice R. (November 18, 2007). LILIOSA R. HILAO: Her Life and Martyrdom – A Potential Philippine Leader. IT’S XIAOTIME! Retrieved from https://xiaochua.net/2012/09/16/paggunita-sa-limot-na-bayani-ng-martial-law-liliosa-hilao-ayon-sa-kanyang-kapatit-na-si-alice-hilao-gualberto/

    Montalvan, Antonio, II. (May 9, 2016). Remember Liliosa Hilao As We Vote. Inquirer.net. Retrieved from http://opinion.inquirer.net/94661/remember-liliosa-hilao-as-we-vote#ixzz4EGlVRgZM

    Pedroso, Kate, and Medina, Marielle. (September 1, 2015). Liliosa Hilao: First Martial Law Detainee Killed. Inquirer.net. Retrieved from http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/718061/liliosa-hilao-first-martial-law-detainee-killed

    Surviving Martial Law. (October 14, 2011). The Philippine Reporter. Retrieved from http://philippinereporter.com/2011/10/14/surviving-martial-law/

    Yeo, Edmund. (May 11, 2016). Liliosa Hilao and the Martial Law (A Scene from River of Exploding Durians). Edmund Yeo: The Official Website of Filmmaker Edmund Yeo. Retrieved from http://www.edmundyeo.com/2016/05/liliosa-hilao-and-martial-law-scene.html


  2. Photo courtesy of Tafkas

    Photo link: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:KZ_Dachau_Denkmal_Nie_wieder.jpg



    “Command or superior responsibility”...is a form of responsibility for omission to act: a superior may be held criminally responsible under that doctrine where, despite his awareness of the crimes of subordinates, he culpably fails to fulfill his duties to prevent and punish these crimes.

    The commission of one or more crimes attributable to a subordinate is a pre-requisite for the application of that doctrine. In addition, the following requirements have been identified as forming part of the doctrine of superior responsibility under customary international law:

    (i) A relationship of superior-subordinate linking the accused and those who committed the underlying offences at the time of the commission of the crime;

    (ii) The knowledge on the part of the superior that his subordinates have committed or taken a culpable part in the commission of a crime or are about to do so; and

    (iii) A failure on the part of the superior to take necessary and reasonable measures to prevent or to punish those crimes.

    Link: http://www.peaceandjusticeinitiative.org/implementation-resources/command-responsibility

    Bosworth was the American Ambassador to Manila from 1984 to 1987.

    ...Bosworth’s testimony shredded Marcos’ defense. The former US Ambassador to the Philippines revealed to the court that in one of the many phone conversations he had had with Marcos, the dictator told him, “I’m aware that there is torture and everything happens but this is part of the interrogation process and these people are Communists.”

    ...Judge Manuel Real himself appeared impressed by the testimony. In the opinion he rendered on the amount of compensation that each torture victim should get, Real noted—by way of historical background—that Marcos had wielded absolute power during Martial Law. “An example of Marcos’ absolute power,” Judge Real wrote, “was the testimony of Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, who pleaded with him (Marcos) to stop the human rights violations and to get rid of General Fabian Ver, a Marcos relative, the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces.”

    According to Judge Real, “Marcos’ reply was telling to the jury. He (Marcos) is quoted as saying (to Bosworth), ‘Why are you so concerned about General Ver. (sic) I am in charge.’”

    Marcos was in charge. He had approved and sanctioned the torture. But this fact was masked during Martial Law by a façade of legality and confused hierarchy. All that gave Marcos plausible deniability.

    What Martial Law showed was the emergence in Philippine history, for the first time, of a national leader who ordered Filipino soldiers to systematically detain and torture fellow Filipinos by the thousands, using a legal infrastructure that he himself had created. In the past, such acts were perpetrated by colonial powers (Spain and the US) and an occupying power (Japan), aided by a number of Filipinos.

    ...Marcos and his torture machine did not spring from nowhere, they tapped into a deep vein of oppression and abuse going back centuries in Philippine history.

    In Raissa Robles, edited by Alan Robles, Marcos Martial Law: Never Again (2016), page 67.



    The event of forgiveness, even as it does not entirely or primarily depend on human agency, cannot take place unless the ones who stand to be blessed by it take part in their little way—in that the wrongdoer acknowledges that something wrong was done, and that he or she committed it. And on the part of the one wronged, he or she acknowledges that forgiveness is indeed possible, that conversion is possible—but only by the grace of God. But unless the wronged and the wrongdoer do their part, the event of forgiveness will not take place. Even if the Son of Man is crucified a million times, over and over again, forgiveness will not take place unless the one who sinned acknowledges the sin. And that is its mystery: For the moment of grace to happen, we need first of all to make that act of affirmation of grace, against which alone we can see sin as sin.

    ...The political thinker Hannah Arendt popularized the expression “banality of evil” based on her observations of the trial of Adolf Eichmann. The chief architect of the Holocaust showed no remorse, not even hatred for those trying him, since he was convinced he was simply doing his job.

    “Banality of evil” may not even be enough to describe the actions and general bearing of those who are bent on denying the terror of the Marcos dictatorship. They are even spreading a forgetfulness of evil. In doing so, they desecrate the memory of those who fought against that evil, many with their lives. Worse, they may be deliberately taking part in the efforts to pave the way for the return of that evil, for which they alone will be held responsible.

    Remmon E. Barbaza, PhD, is associate professor and chair of the Department of Philosophy, Ateneo de Manila University.




    "Lupang Hinirang, duyan ka ng magiting, Sa manlulupig, 'di ka pasisiil."

    We are the Duyan ng Magiting Coalition. We are a broad coalition of human rights activists, victims, and claimants, as well as students, teachers, priests and nuns, and good governance advocates.

    We stand united against granting the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos a hero's burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The Libingan is a national shrine in honor of martyrs, heroes, and upstanding Filipinos who served the country with courage and dignity including 32,268 military personnel who died in the Death March to Capas, Tarlac during World War II.

    The AFP guidelines list those who are disqualified for a burial at the Libingan: "Personnel who were dishonorably separated/reverted/discharged from the service; and personnel who were convicted by final judgment of an offense involving moral turpitude."

    Marcos cannot be buried there for these reasons:

    Number 1. Marcos was no hero. He lied about having a distinguished war record. His claims of having led a guerilla group called “Ang Maharlika” were debunked by no less than the US military. His medals were fake and fabricated.

    Number 2. Marcos was a dictator who ordered the torture, detention, and death of thousands who dared question his rule. As President, Marcos maintained power through state-sponsored terrorism and the gross violation of human rights.

    The Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 (Republic Act 10368) recognizes "the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims of summary execution, torture, enforced, or involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos." Under this law, 75,730 claims have been made, indicating the magnitude of abuse under Marcos, so much so that he was dishonorably discharged from service and deposed by the people he swore to serve.

    Number 3. Marcos was a plunderer. He treated the national coffers as if it was his personal piggy bank. He established monopolies that became a burden to coconut and sugar farmers while he and his cronies appropriated the benefits.

    He borrowed extensively from foreign lenders purportedly to finance "white elephant" projects like the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant and the Manila Film Center.

    He forcibly appropriated private businesses that his wife Imelda even boasted that they owned practically everything in the Philippines from electricity, telecommunications, airlines, banking, beer, tobacco, media, shipping, oil and mining.

    The PCGG estimates that the Marcoses amassed US$5 billion to US$10 billion in ill-gotten wealth. On 10 December 1997, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court affirmed that Marcos Swiss bank deposits were “criminally acquired” and must therefore be returned to the Philippines.

    On 15 July 2003 and on April 25, 2012, the Philippine Supreme Court affirmed that US$658 million and US$40 million, respectively, in frozen Swiss bank deposits were Marcos ill-gotten wealth and forfeited the said funds to the Philippine Republic.

    The late dictator himself was declared as the second most corrupt leader in the world by the Transparency International Global Corruption Report. As these offenses involve moral turpitude, Marcos does not deserve a hero's burial.

    The proposed burial of the late dictator at the Libingan is offensive to Filipinos, especially to the thousands who fought and died fighting his tyranny.

    To be continued


    President Duterte, we claim the change that was your campaign promise. And if change is truly coming, we urge you to stop, for always, the proposed burial of Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

    If it is unity and closure you wish to give the nation, then we beseech you to order the Marcos family to permanently bury the Dictator in his hometown in Ilocos, where he is still honored.

    This will be in accord with the Marcoses’ agreement with former President Fidel Ramos as a condition for the return of his body to the Philippines.

    Huwag nang ipamana ang ganid na pamilyang Marcos sa mga susunod na henerasyon!

    No to the Marcos Burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani! Never Again to Martial Law! Never Again to the Marcoses!

    Signed by the following individuals and groups:

    Sr. Mary John Mananzan
    Etta Rosales
    Boni Ilagan
    Erin Tanada
    Bobby Garcia
    Tet Maceda
    Barry Gutierez
    Randy Tuano
    Bernie Jalandoni
    Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation
    Claimants 1081
    Martial Law Chronicles Project
    Akbayan Party and Akbayan Youth
    UP SAMASA Alumni
    Nameless Heroes and Martyrs
    UP Alyansa
    Foundation for Media Alternatives
    Philippine Stagers Foundation
    Filipinos against historical revisionism
    Student Council Alliance of the Philippines
    Center for Youth Advocacy and Networking
    Ateneo Sanggunian Student Council
    BawatBato Initiative

    Link: https://www.facebook.com/duyanngmagiting/posts/277052632651139

    I am a member of this coalition.




    ...A Marcos interment in the Libingan ng mga Bayani will create a tall heap of insults. It would, for one, imply that we think of Marcos as a greater hero than the Martial Law victims whose remains do not lie in the Libingan. The very fact that there is a call for the burial demonstrates the Filipino people's inability to remember and the undisguised contempt for national memory. As if it were not sinister enough that the indictment of Marcos as a tyrant be called "an open book," the proposal demonstrates deceptive shrewdness: bury Marcos among heroes, so that he may be grouped among them. Let us not fall for this deception.

    Link: bit.ly/MBStand


    1. I rearranged and reposted my comments below to improve their coherence and facilitate their perusal.



    On Sunday, Malacañang directed the military to “undertake the necessary planning and preparations” for the interment of Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, reigniting the explosive issue of a hero’s burial for the dictator.

    Nothing wrong with that, according to President Duterte, who says it is within the law for a former president and soldier to be interred at the heroes’ cemetery in Taguig City. But a soldier who lied about his supposed war medals? A president who was ousted by his people?

    The planned hero’s burial is said to be payback to the man Mr. Duterte considers instrumental in his political career. His father, Mr. Duterte has said many times, served in the Marcos Cabinet in the 1960s.

    But a political debt should not becloud reason or be employed to dilute the spirit of the law. Neither should it get in the way of an acknowledgement of the sensibilities of bereaved families, for whom the belated honor represents the condonation of the evils of the Marcos regime and the loss of any chance to get justice for their dead, tortured and missing loved ones.

    The planned hero’s burial also demonstrates the impunity with which the Marcos family has flouted its agreement with then President Fidel V. Ramos, who, in 1992, allowed the dictator’s corpse to be brought home on three conditions: that it would be given the honors due a junior officer, that it would be buried immediately, and that it would be buried in his home province of Ilocos Norte. Some 24 years later, not one of the conditions has been honored; the corpse (some say its replica) is still aboveground, encased in glass.

    And while Mr. Duterte cites Republic Act No. 289 to back his plan, the law itself explicitly excludes Marcos when it states that the heroes’ cemetery is meant “to perpetuate the memory of all the Presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and patriots, for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generations still unborn.”

    Does being named No. 2 among the world’s most corrupt leaders by Forbes magazine make one a source of inspiration for future generations?

    In short, the Libingan, as Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said in a privilege speech, is “reserved for authentic heroes and patriots, or for those who are presumed to be heroes and patriots because their records do not document the contrary.”

    Mr. Duterte says that being a former soldier, Marcos should be buried along with the more than 45,000 soldiers interred at the Libingan. But that point has been qualified as well, to include only those men in uniform who died in service of country. In fact, Marcos died in disgrace in the United States in 1989.

    “A soldier disgraced” is how the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) describes Marcos; it says his record as a soldier during World War II was “fraught with myths, factual inconsistencies, and lies.”

    Said the NHCP: Marcos “lied about receiving the US Medal of Honor, Silver Star, and Order of the Purple Heart,” a claim he made as early as 1945; his supposed guerrilla unit, Ang Mga Maharlika, was “never officially recognized, and neither was his leadership of it.” The NHCP further said: US officials “did not recognize Mr. Marcos’ rank promotion,” from major in 1944 to lieutenant colonel by 1947, and his actions as a soldier during WWII were likewise “officially called into question” by the US military.

    “A doubtful record does not serve as sound, unassailable basis of historical recognition of any sort, let alone burial in a site intended, as its name suggests, for heroes,” the NHCP concluded.

    To be continued

  9. HERE MARCOS LIES, STILL (continued)

    But why get stuck in the past? Mr. Duterte asks, insisting that the issue of the Marcos burial should be laid to rest if only to unite and heal the nation and enable it to move on.

    There are many answers to that question. Instead of unity, a hero’s burial for Marcos will deepen the unhealed wounds of the survivors and families of martial law victims, Vice President Leni Robredo said. It is yet another act of thievery, this time of the common soldier’s dignity and the country’s honor, said a member of a martial law victim’s family. It is “an undeserved reward,” said Congressman Lagman, whose own family lost a member to the Marcos apparat.

    Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/96424/here-marcos-lies-still#ixzz4Gz03EsjD

    Well said.



    CATHOLIC schools all over the country have joined mounting calls against granting a hero’s burial to the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

    In a statement, the Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (Ceap), the national association of more than a thousand Catholic schools in the country, called on President Duterte to scrap his plan to bury Marcos at Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.

    “President Rody, we ask that you heal this festering wound. Let this be your legacy. Please do not allow the burial of Mr. Marcos at Libingan ng mga Bayani. [He] does not belong in Libingan ng mga Bayani. He was not a hero,” it added.

    Branding Marcos as “the country’s most infamous plunderer and tyrant,” the Ceap said the pillars upon which the Duterte administration rests—marked by a strong platform of fighting corruption and criminality—would lose value if Marcos was given the undeserved honor of a hero’s burial.

    “We ask you to affirm to our nation’s children that wrongdoing is not something to be emulated,” the group appealed to Mr. Duterte.

    The Ceap also cited reports that Marcos had faked his medals supposedly as a soldier and recalled the “torture, detention and death of thousands who dared questioned his rule.”

    “He was a plunderer who was responsible for a failed economy—the effects of which we are seeing now in the oppressive poverty all around us, causing the massive criminality you are fighting so hard against,” the group said.

    The group contested Mr. Duterte’s belief that a hero’s burial for Marcos would put closure to the martial law episode.

    It urged Mr. Duterte to instead just let Marcos be buried in his hometown in Ilocos.

    Link: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/806154/catholic-schools-join-call-vs-granting-heros-burial#ixzz4HRZLMF50


  11. MALAKAS AT MAGANDA: Marcos Reign, Myth-Making, and Deception in History

    Fear history for it respects no secrets.--Gregoria de Jesus, Lakambini ng Katipunan

    The darkness of dictatorship descended upon the Philippines when Pres. Ferdinand Emmanuel E. Marcos declared martial law in 1972 and the dictator ruled the nation with impunity.

    Great danger now lurks behind a deceptive nostalgia for a past that never really existed--that the Marcos years were a period of peace and prosperity. This is patently Marcos myth and deception. Under martial law, the country was plunged into a climate of repression and plunder and then into a social crisis that exploded in the 1980s.

    Marcos myth-making and deception are not new. Martial law itself was set up by grand deception. Marcos raised the Red scare to justify martial rule, but the communist movement then was still in its infancy; it was in fact under martial law that the communist and Moro rebellions grew in leaps and bounds. Marcos claimed to break up an old oligarchy, but martial law instead created a new type under his control, a crony oligarchy. Marcos also couched his dictatorship in deceptive legalese--“constitutional authoritarianism,” but it only served his yearning for perpetuity in power. The fact is martial law rudely preempted the 1971 constitutional convention, which sought to prohibit Marcos from extending his hold on power. He thereafter ruled for 14 years until he was ousted.

    To prop up authoritarian control, the Marcos propaganda machine contrived deceptive images of Philippine society as in the slogans “New Society” and “City of Man,” which sought to paint a picture of a “compassionate society”; but Imelda Marcos actually put up whitewashed fences to hide urban blight and squalor from foreign tourists. The Marcoses also portrayed themselves in the likenesses of the legendary personae of Malakas at Maganda in the Filipino origin myth, which made them appear as fount of life in murals and photographic visuals. But the dictatorship actually engendered some of the darkest and direst years of Philippine history.

    Economic crises characterized the Marcos years, as economists have consistently revealed, the most telling indicator was the extent of poverty. Poverty incidence grew from 41% in the 1960s to 59% in the 1980s. Vaunted growth was far from inclusive and driven by debt, which further weighed down on the nation. From 1970 to 1983, foreign debt increased twelve times and reached $20 billion (Dr. Manuel Montes, 1984). It grew at an average rate of 25% from 1970 to 1981. Much went to unproductive expenses like the Bataan Nuclear Plant, which was unsound and wasteful.

    The Marcos regime then imposed an International Monetary Fund debt-repayment program that resulted in new taxes, massive lay-offs and a towering inflation that stood at 54% in 1984. While wages nominally rose by 29%, prices increased by 92% and the economy declined by 5.5% in 1984. BusinessWorld Research (2016) reckoned for 1984 the highest misery index (inflation + unemployment rates) between 1966 and 2015. From the mid70s, the situation resulted in the massive outflow of labor overseas. The grinding poverty of the majority showed in a sharp increase in two areas, infant mortality and insurgency. Crime rates increased; rebellion surged.

    Even as inflation cut away at the allocations for health and education, there was an obvious increase in the military budget. Government also increased its contribution to government corporations held by favored friends. Monopolies were created in the sugar and coconut industries that pampered a select group. Marcos cronies made a lot of money through behest loans, which were repaid by tax money. Meantime the international media documented shopping sprees, not to mention lavish parties, by the Marcoses that gave scandal due to the scale of wanton spending. Marcos thus earned an infamous Guinness entry as a man believed to have stolen the most from a single country.

    To be continued

  12. MALAKAS AT MAGANDA: Marcos Reign, Myth-Making, and Deception in History (continued)

    To say then that EDSA interrupted our becoming like Singapore is a big joke, a malicious lie. Marcos had mismanaged the economy; it was in shambles long before the EDSA revolt. From 1970 to 1980, among East Asian and Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines registered the lowest GDP per capita at 3.4% (An Analysis of Economic Crisis, ed. Dr. Emmanuel de Dios, 1984). Peace and order, a spurious claim, actually meant an iron-fisted clampdown on civil liberties. Through presidential decree and executive order backed by the full force of the military apparatus, Marcos padlocked Congress, jailed the opposition, gagged media, emasculated unions, and banned student councils. Thousands were jailed without warrant and due process, not to mention countless killings and disappeared. Yet the national crime rate climbed continuously from 183 in 1976 to 279 (per 100,000) in 1980 (De Dios, ed. 1984 citing Philippine Constabulary data). In 14 long years, repression had also stunted the growth of independent-minded new leaders from the younger generation.

    Today the Filipino people continue to seek peace and prosperity as the social structures that gave rise to inequities, debt-dependence, poverty, corruption, human rights violations, rebellion, and criminality have remained after the EDSA revolt. What we ought to do is to expand the spaces for people empowerment and inclusive socio-economic development, uphold selfless public service, seek truth and justice in all corridors of government, render our obligations to Inang Bayan, and make sure that the tyranny of the past will never be written out of history.

    We need to critically evaluate the past so that we do not blindly look for solutions to problems of underdevelopment from those who prospered under the dictatorship or those who allow the same sources of social inequities and injustice. We enjoy greater freedoms today precisely because we fought the Marcos regime and the purveyors of Marcos values that, once in the past, bled this nation dry.

    The sad thing indeed that could happen is to fall for the trap of seeking a better society from a mythical “golden” past. In that past, Marcos myth-making served to hide the power grab and greed of a Malakas at Maganda. Today Marcos deception seeks to evade accountability.

    We reject deception and demand accountability!

    Department of History College of Social Sciences and Philosophy University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City

    March 28, 2016

    Link: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=665703840253429&id=206869209470230&substory_index=0


  13. From “The Pearl of Asia” to “The Sick Man of Asia”:

    “But will I say sorry for the thousands and thousands of kilometers that were built (by his father)?”...Bongbong Marcos (classical half-truth mode)

    It is very true. Marcos built lots of roads, schools, bridges, etc. But was it for love of the Filipinos, or love of money? It is very difficult to see where the line of national interest begins and where personal interest ends. The operating credo was “more missions, more commissions”. Overpricing, kick-backs, rigged bidding – all these modus-operandi, still in practice today – were institutionalized during Marcos’ time. Bankers during those days were all too familiar with Mrs 10% in Indonesia (Tien Suharto) and Mrs 15% in the Philippines. Same bankers used to skip town whenever they received an invitation from Imelda to a function where, after her crooning routine, it was donation time.

    There was a frenzy of projects. Filipinos need to ask where the money came from. Marcos borrowed extensively from the international capital markets. There is nothing wrong with borrowing. We all do that sometimes to buy big ticket items like cars and houses. What is important is responsible borrowing, meaning you spend on worthwhile projects and you can service the repayment. Marcos borrowed like crazy. When Marcos took power in Dec 1965, the national debt was US$500 mm; when he fled the country in 1986, it had ballooned to US$28 billion. Yes, there were roads etc, but just look at the BNPP – a single white elephant project that made up 10% of the entire external debt. How wild can that be?

    Let’s take a bit of a worldview of the US$ during Marcos’ time to have a better understanding.

    Since the beginning of 20th century up to 1972, the price of crude oil was stable at around US$2 per barrel (prices here all not adjusted for inflation). From 1973, it begun to shoot north wildly, peaking at US$36 in 1982. This was triggered by Saudi Arabia’s oil embargo in retaliation to the Yom Kippur War. That was the time when the oil cartel OPEC was at its most powerful. By controlling the supply side, prices inevitably shot up. The price of oil was never the same again after that. Oil is traded in US$ and with the dramatic price increase, OPEC countries sucked up all the currency. The middle east became the noveau riche and deserts suddenly began to turn into gleaming cities. These countries sucked in more money than can be pumped into their small economies, so the excess had to be deposited with banks. The oil money, loosely termed petrol dollars, were mostly deposited in banks in European cities. As US$ are settled in US, invariably most find its way into banks in the US. All these money had to be invested somewhere. The banks were flushed with petro dollars and not enough first tier borrowers to lend to. European countries were in recessionary state at the time, so most of these petrol dollars were invested in 2nd and 3rd tier developing countries like Turkey, Mexico, Brazil and other Latin American countries, and then there was Philippines. These borrower countries became blue-eyed boys of all these international bankers. They came knocking on Marcos’ and Philippine bankers’ doors everyday. That explains why there was a building frenzy by Marcos – the borrowing part was easy. As operations head of a bank in Singapore, I personally authorized telegraphic transfers of hundreds of millions of dollars for loan draw-downs by Philippine entities. Those were wild wild west days.

    To be continued

  14. From “The Pearl of Asia” to “The Sick Man of Asia”: (continued page 2)

    The external debt of US28 billion on its own cannot give you a proper perspective of the roof crashing down on Philippines in the early 1980’s. The Debt to Gross Domestic Product ratio is a proper gauge. In 1970 it was 33.2% and in 1986 it was 95.2%. The GDP is basically the sum of all goods and services produced in the year. Comparing this to total debt provides a yardstick as to a country’s capability to service its debt. Creditors monitor this figure all the time. There is no hard and fast rule, but generally when it reaches the 70% it spells trouble for the country. (There are exceptions). At 70% the country will find it more difficult and expensive to borrow. Statistics did not lie in this case. Reality caught up with Marcos from 1980. The casino had ran out of chips. I saw the Philippines struggle with debt re-structuring, begging for moratoriums and going bowl in hand to the Asian Development Bank, World Bank and the IMF. Once, in order to meet interest payments, Marcos sent Bobby Ongpin to Singapore to ask for a loan of US$300-500 mm which Lee Kuan Yew refused because he could not gamble with taxpayers’ money. Restructuring is a frightening word in financial markets. It usually means insolvency. Marcos had bankrupted the Philippines. It was a most shameful period of Philippine history. Still, it was better for Marcos to have a bankrupted the Philippines than repatriate the stolen money in his Swiss bank accounts to pay off the loans.

    A second whammy – high interest rates. Back to the petrol dollars to understand why. As the petrol dollars re-circulated back into the US, the liquidity caused prices to increase. To make it worse, the Vietnam War too added to the inflationary pressure. President Lyndon Johnson did not want to increase Fed interest rates to tackle the inflation for political reasons. When Paul Volcker became chairman of the Fed, he started to raise interest rates. The Fed rate increased from 11.2% in 1979 to 20% in June of 1981, almost reaching its usury limit. With loan spreads of 125 basis points over 3/6 months LIBOR, Marcos’ loans were paying at 21.25% per annum. and with 10-15 years maturity, he could barely service the interest let alone make repayments. New loans were taken just to pay off interest. Capitalizing interest just made the loans grow larger in succeeding administrations.

    The third whammy – shrinking value of peso. Because of the high oil prices, all currencies including the peso weakened against the US$. This was accentuated by a weakening Philippine economy. In 1970 it was 6 pesos to a US$, 21 in 1986 and 45 currently. This meant that the US$28 billion of debt that Marcos left behind in 1986 required more and more pesos to repay. In peso terms, it has more than doubled!

    The fourth whammy — When the price of oil shot up in the 70’s/80’s, a country’s economy may still be the same, but it requires more dollars for the same level of oil import. With poor fiscal and monetary management under Marcos, the Philippines had zero US$ reserves and almost no US$ revenue. A big chunk of the budget went into purchasing the dollar for oil imports. The economy basically collapsed.

    To be continued

  15. From “The Pearl of Asia” to “The Sick Man of Asia”: (continued page 3)

    The recycling of the petro dollars brought the Philippines to its knees and left Marcos shell-shocked. If there is any consolation, the same set of uncontrollable external events left Latin American countries with equally huge national debts. That does not exonerate Marcos. Other net-oil importing countries faced similar problems, but they managed. Taiwan, South Korea, Hongkong and Singapore were well on their way to becoming Asian Tigers. No, Filipinos, it was thievery and mis-management of the economy plain and simple. It’s always the economy, stupid. Borrowed till broke, economy down, massive un-employment and poverty up …discontent set in, strong arm tactics were used to combat civil unrest, foreign investors left in a hurry, capital flight followed, more youths turned military and went underground or into the mountains, communists took the opportunity to destabilize the government, and martial law was implemented with its attendant atrocities. That’s how Marcos led the Philippines from “The Pearl of Asia” to “The Sick Man of Asia”.

    Are we to forget this painful lesson of Marcos history? Thank God today we have a good man in Governor Tetengco running the Bangko Sentral. Thank God we have an administration that manages the nation’s money purse better. We now have better leaders who understand the need for delayed gratification, that it is not yet time to reduce taxes (while we are still struggling to pay off Marcos’ debts). It is so easy to simply give in to populist demands and score political points. Bongbong would like to reduce taxes . . . as long as we do not use their stolen wealth to replace the loss in revenue from tax reduction.

    THE TRUTH : Marcos bankrupted the Philippines

    Link: http://www.bantayog.org/?p=1261

    Also: https://www.facebook.com/206869209470230/photos/a.206942782796206.1073741828.206869209470230/668700693287077/?type=3




    By Manuel F. Almario, Martial Law detainee and spokesman, Movement for Truth in History

    What was the true record of President Ferdinand Marcos’ 20-year rule, including 14 years of martial law and dictatorship?

    In the Feb. 13, 2011 edition of the Philippine STAR coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the overthrow of the Marcos regime, Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was quoted as saying:

    “If there was no EDSA I, if my father was allowed to pursue his plans, I believe that we would be like Singapore now.... The truth about the administration of my father is now becoming clear that he accomplished a lot, he helped many people and there was great progress during his time.”

    We must restate the historical record, lest many of our countrymen, should forget, being perhaps afflicted by fading memories and gripped by an undeserved nostalgia for an authoritarian regime especially when compared with faltering succeeding administrations.

    To begin with, poverty significantly worsened during the Marcos years. “A World Bank study estimated that the proportion of people living below the poverty line in [Phl] cities had risen from 24 percent in 1974 to 40 percent in 1986 [the year Marcos was ousted]. The countryside was no better.” Thus wrote the well-respected journalist and historian Stanley Karnow in his book, In Our Image, America’s Empire in the Philippines, which won the Pulitzer Prize for History.

    Economic growth slackened. Penn World Tables reported that while real growth in GDP per capita averaged 3.5 percent from 1951 to 1965, under the Marcos regime (1966 to 1986) annual average growth was only 1.4 percent (Wikipedia). So how could the Philippines have overtaken Singapore which had witnessed “unprecedented economic growth” averaging 12.7 percent of real GDP from 1965 to 1973, according to the Library of the US Congress? Thereafter, Singapore frequently reached growth rates averaging 8-10 percent.

    Workers’ wages decreased drastically. Between 1982 and 1986, real wages of unskilled laborers in Metropolitan Manila declined annually at 5.8 percent, and those of skilled laborers at 5.2 percent. Agricultural wages also declined at the same rate, according to James K. Boyce, associate professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts in his book, The Political Economy of Growth and Impoverishment in the Marcos Era.

    But the rich got richer. In his book, The Marcos File, Charles C. McDougald reported that in 1980 the top 12.9 percent of the Filipino population received 22.1 percent of total income, while the bottom 11 percent just received 16.6 percent. In 1983, the top 12.9 percent now received 45.5 percent of total income, while the bottom 11 percent received only 6.4 percent. The poor got poorer.

    Public debt soared. The peso-dollar official exchange rate was P3.90 to the dollar in 1966 when Marcos became president. It fell to P20.53 to the dollar in 1986. The Philippines’ foreign debt rose from $360 million in 1962 to $28.3 billion in 1986, said Boyce. Hence, more than one-half of the present $53 billion external debt was contributed by Marcos. It is now helping cost our government more than 40 percent of its budget in debt service, forcing the Aquino II administration to cut budgetary allocations for essential services, like education, health and infrastructure.

    To be continued


    The insurgency intensified. “...[T]he US foreign policy experts also perceived that the longer Marcos’ excesses continue, the faster the Communist insurgency would spread... So his profligacy, corruption and repression presented a potential danger to America’s strategic interests,” said Karnow. Not only did the Communist insurgency strengthen, the Muslim insurgency erupted and after protracted war forced the Marcos government to sign the humiliating Tripoli Agreement giving concessions to the Moro National Liberation Front.

    Hunger spread. “In the 1950s, Filipinos had probably been the best fed in Asia; now [the Marcos period] the people in India, Indonesia and perhaps Bangladesh were eating better than they. A staggering 40 percent of all the nation’s death were caused by malnutrition. The infant mortality rate was nearly twice as high in the Philippines as in South Korea.” (Raymond Bonner, Waltzing With A Dictator: The Marcoses and the Making of American Policy, 1978.)

    I will not mention the unparalleled graft and corruption of the Marcos regime and the “Conjugal Dictatorship”. Some estimates say that Marcos skimmed some $30 billion from the economy, foreign aid, private investors and government revenues. Some $450 million were found stashed in a Swiss bank under pseudonyms of President Marcos and Imelda. Millions more were discovered in properties in the United States, which have been monetized by private lawyers and US courts and now is being distributed to martial law victims. We are still suffering the blows of the Marcos legacy of corruption.

    By all standards economic, political, social and moral it is abundantly clear that the Marcos 20-year regime from 1966 to 1986 was a total disaster for the nation. It showed definitely that dictatorship is not the path to progress, a lesson being learned by the Arab nations now in turmoil. For the Marcos family, it raised a vast fortune that now finances a flourishing political dynasty, which could have another stab at the presidency in six years’ time.

    Link: http://www.philstar.com/letters-editor/660957/dismal-record-marcos-regime

    Also: https://www.facebook.com/206869209470230/photos/a.206942782796206.1073741828.206869209470230/670790883078058/?type=3&pnref=story



    DAVAO CITY—Of all the myths that had been built around martial law, it is that which claims that one-man rule brought about the country’s golden economic age which is the biggest insult to Filipinos, according to a militant lawmaker.

    Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate, of the party-list group Bayan Muna, said claims of economic prosperity during the reign of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos were a “manufactured myth.”

    “Under the Marcos regime, the country’s foreign debt skyrocketed from $599 million in 1966 to $26.7 billion in 1986,” said Zarate in a statement.

    “We are so deep in debt that we have been paying the Marcos debt for the past 30 years since the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship,” he said.

    “We will be paying the Marcos debt, which mostly went to their own pockets, until 2025, or almost 40 years after Edsa,” he said.

    Link: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/774774/well-pay-marcos-debt-until-2025#ixzz4FBxJJLxo


  19. Which Philippine President Caused the Downfall of the Philippines’ Economy?

    ...If you view the chart, you'll notice that between 1970 and 1972, long before Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law, the Philippine peso plummeted by a staggering 40% (and a total of more than 80% before he was ousted in 1986). Also, during his term in office we hit our highest Debt-GDP Ratio of more than 90% (which is extremely bad). Though our GDP did improve during his term, it was too little an improvement to cover for our massive debts and a falling peso.

    Link: http://www.ourknowledge.asia/our-knowledge-blog/which-philippine-president-caused-the-downfall-of-the-philippines-economy



    Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. sounds delusional when he trumpets the supposed progress achieved during his late father’s rule as dictator. He adds that he and his family have nothing to apologize for given the kilometers of roads built, the rice self-sufficiency program, power generation and high literacy rates achieved by Marcos Sr. Such “progress,” Marcos Jr. avers, “outweighs the criticisms being lodged against” his father. The son, however, is oblivious of the fact that infrastructure projects during martial law were characterized by scandalous corrupt practices, that rice self-sufficiency was experienced only in certain years and at a net loss, and that education was a low priority in government policy.

    There is, however, one significant sector of the Philippine population to whom the Marcoses owe an apology, and that is, the millions of Filipino tenants and farmworkers who were promised “emancipation from their bondage” via a land reform program that was declared “the cornerstone of the New Society.” Marcos Sr. added that “land reform is the only gauge for the success or failure” of his authoritarian rule and that “if land reform fails, there is no New Society.”

    Well, land reform under Marcos was a colossal failure and the figures easily bear this out.

    ...After 14 years, martial law land reform could only show niggardly results. By Jan. 31, 1986, or three weeks before a popular revolt overthrew Marcos Sr., only 2.27 percent of land titles had been distributed to targeted beneficiaries—a mere 2.2 percent of the target. When measured against the total landless rural labor force, this “accomplishment” comprised a pitiful 0.17 percent.

    The impact of Marcos’ failed “cornerstone program” was disastrous. The tenancy rate in rice and corn farms worsened from the 1971 figure of 33.1 percent in number of farms and 25.8 percent in area to the 1980 estimate of 36 percent of number of farms and 27.1 percent of farm area. For all croplands, tenancy grew from 29 percent in 1971 to 33.4 percent in 1980. From 1976 to 1984, the real incomes of rice farmers fell by 53 percent. Real farm wages declined by 26 percent from 1972 to 1984. By 1982, a rice crisis of production shortfalls was in full swing.

    James Putzel calculates that, by 1988, land inequality in the Philippines had a high Gini coefficient of 64.7 with only 5.8 percent of owners controlling 50 percent of farm land while 65 percent had only 16.4 percent of total farm area. In the 1960s, the Gini index was 50.3.

    If we were to hold Marcos Sr. to his boast that land reform was to be the gauge of success or failure of his rule, the answer is patently clear. Will Marcos Jr. still insist he and his family have nothing to apologize for?

    Eduardo C. Tadem, PhD, is professor of Asian Studies, University of the Philippines Diliman; editor, Asian Studies (Journal of Critical Perspectives on Asia); and president of Freedom from Debt Coalition.

    Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/88150/marcoses-should-apologize-to-filipino-farmers#ixzz4Gq7qujJh



    And so it has been for the last 40 years: the monumental injustice of millions of pesos forcibly extracted from the toil of destitute coconut farmers never for once benefiting their lives. The case has bounced from one post-Edsa administration to the next with no definitive resolution, and the issue merely became fodder for political grandstanding during elections.

    The money itself, which eventually found its way to the coffers of blue-chip conglomerates such as San Miguel Corp. and United Coconut Planters Bank under the names of Cojuangco, Juan Ponce Enrile, and other Marcos associates back then, has become subject to years of labyrinthine paperwork and murky legal maneuverings, seemingly all designed to frustrate the one just resolution on how the blood money should be handled—that it be returned to the farmers who are its rightful owners.

    A recent report by Fernando del Mundo in the Inquirer detailed how much the farmers under martial law bled to fund the coconut levy that was supposedly set up for their welfare: “For every P250 earned from copra, the farmers gave up P60 as tax. It was big money at a time when the daily wage was P4 per day,” said activist lawyer Oscar Santos, a contemporary of Enrile. The P9.6 billion that was officially reported to have been collected over nine years is a vastly understated sum; the estimated true figure is nearer P200 billion.

    Instead of being used to develop the coconut industry, the levy not only became the bedrock wealth of certain Marcos cronies, it was also used to “showcase circuses of the ‘smiling martial law’ regime,” as the report put it. Among the Malacañang extravaganzas the coconut levy funded were the Miss Universe contest, the world chess championship between Anatoly Karpov and Viktor Korchnoi, and the Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier “Thrilla in Manila.” Over 3.5 million farmers in 25 million households, meanwhile, had to live not only with the feudalistic agrarian system in the countryside, but also with the compounding misery of an oppressive special tax imposed on their labors.

    In September 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that some P71 billion worth of SMC stocks belonged, not to Cojuangco, but to the government, to be “used for the benefit of the farmers...” But the legislation defining the terms of that use—whether, essentially, to designate a government agency or agencies to manage the money as a trust fund, or to establish a more direct mechanism for distributing the money to farmers—remains pending. The House of Representatives has passed its own version of the bill, but its counterpart is stalled in the Senate.

    It’s been four decades of waiting for the farmers, and three decades of wrangling by legal eagles on this issue, but still the beneficiaries remain bereft. It’s a case that cries for urgent closure by the incoming administration, under whose leadership that might be.

    Read more: http://opinion.inquirer.net/94418/blood-money#ixzz4GqLeJvUZ



    Although Marcos had taught Imelda how to play dirty politics, her drive and ambition were entirely her own. As she succeeded in winning votes for him so he rewarded her with jewellery. She, in turn, would tell journalists and friends that these jewels were Romualdez family heirlooms she had inherited along with a palatial home, priceless antiques, paintings, and a silver collection.

    ...In their 21 years in power, it has now been established, the Marcoses salted away between $18 and $30 billion, most of it intended for aid programmes but much of it from personal “donations” Imelda had successfully extracted from intimidated local businessmen. There is no doubt the Marcoses certainly robbed in style, particularly Imelda.

    Many of my wealthier friends were constantly receiving visits from the Manila Metrocom, Imelda’s own private police force, with a personal note saying,

    “Congratulations! You will be delighted to hear you have been selected to appear at the Palace with a cheque for $10,000 (or shares in your company or deeds to your properties) to donate to my favourite charity,” and it was signed, Imelda Romualdez Marcos.

    It was a novel kind of reverse lottery. If they refused to cooperate they would automatically receive a visit from the Bureau of Internal Revenue. If this tactic still failed to convince them then their businesses were taken over by one of Imelda’s friends or family.

    But with an armed police escort, threats of imprisonment and promises of in-depth investigations into their business affairs by the tax authorities, few dared to refuse such a subtle and seductive invitation. In fact one of my friends said he received so many of these “congratulation notes” that he wallpapered his entire downstairs bathroom with them.

    Link: https://anywhereiwander.wordpress.com/2011/06/24/%E2%80%9Cthe-marcoses-the-missing-filipino-millions%E2%80%9D/

    The “between $18 and $30 billion” range is probably incorrect but we have to remember that Caroline Kennedy is speaking in June 1987, very soon after the EDSA Revolution in February 1986. Today hindsight gives us a more accurate grasp of the scale of the plunder.



    MANILA, Philippines – A librarian and researcher working for a government agency urged netizens and Marcos apologists to “read reliable sources” about the martial law years and not depend on “memes and revisionists videos.”

    In a Facebook post on Wednesday, May 11, Roscelle Cruz asked Marcos apologists to unfriend her for they “don't deserve our virtual friendship.”

    “Then climb to the 3rd floor of the UP Main Library and find me. I’ll give you all the records, documents, and photos I have during martial law. Where can you even find a police report that said the cause of death [of a person] is a probable ‘suicide,’ yet was shot 27 times (6 times in the head), and with the eyeballs sticking out?” Cruz added.

    A licensed librarian, Cruz is taking up her master’s degree in Library Studies. She works for a government agency to archive its martial law record that are deposited at the Main Library of UP Diliman. She declined to disclose publicly the agency she works for.

    Cruz said vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, son and namesake of the late dictator, is not innocent of the atrocities committed against victims of martial law during his father’s rule. According to Cruz, records show that Bongbong Marcos was 23 years old by then.

    Link: http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/132858-up-librarian-marcos-supporters-read-reliable-sources



    Presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte defended Thursday, May 26, 2016 his decision to allow the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani:


    President-elect Duterte’s argument to justify the burial of Marcos at Libingan ng mga Bayani is based on deeply flawed reasoning. Significantly, the conclusions he draws with respect to the issue depend greatly on how he frames the issue, to wit:

    - Marcos’ burial at Libingan is based on his rights as a soldier of the Philippines.

    - Financial payment is sufficient and complete compensation for any abuses Marcos may have committed against or been responsible for against his victims.

    - Nothing more can be exacted in reparation from a man who is dead. Reparations can be exacted from the living only.

    - It is the guiltless family that is being punished for the sins of the dead man.

    - Healing is accomplished by assigning a different name to the wrongs committed by the dead man, in effect, denying the wrongs by describing the dead man as a hero and his acts as heroic.

    We might respond to each of the points as follows. Of course, this response hardly exhausts the entire scope of the issue and the arguments thereto pertaining.

    - Soldiers who are guilty of crimes of moral turpitude are not permitted to be buried in Libingan ng mga Bayani, according to the AFP regulation governing the assignment of plots at the cemetery. Don’t murder, torture, human rights violated, and plunder—offenses for which Marcos has been formally charged and that have been effectively affirmed by final judicial rulings or legislative acts in the U.S., Switzerland, Singapore, and the Philippines—qualify as acts of moral turpitude? Besides, any person’s rights are not absolute, they are constrained by conditions, and Marcos’ rights as a soldier, we should point out, are hardly absolute.

    - It would be an insult indeed to imply that financial payment is sufficient to undo or correct any wrongs committed against the victims. There are many victims, not only of Marcos but of other criminals in history, who would readily forego financial payments for the acknowledgement of wrongs and the expression of sincere apologies on the part of those responsible. Financial payments merely indicate that the admission and apologies are sincere. I would submit that for the majority of victims, heartfelt words would matter a very great deal more than money.

    - Indeed, it is not vengeance against a dead man that is at issue. It is the public condonation of his crimes by the Philippine state and the elevation of his moral turpitude as exemplary for the Philippine people by assigning him the appellation of “hero.” Marcos must be presented to the nation as a man whose example, unworthy, exceptionally so, should not be condoned or recapitulated. It is for this reason that he must not be buried with the nation’s heroes. Vengeance is not the principal motivation, if at all. The principal motivation is instructive, didactic, indeed, patriotic.

    - In the first place, it is questionable that the family is guiltless. The man has been condemned by judicial rulings or legislative acts in the U.S., Switzerland, Singapore, and the Philippines. Have the members of the family acknowledged the crimes and apologized for them? Do they continue to enjoy the spoils of the plunder? Suppose we set aside these questions and assume that they are indeed guiltless. Then we would say that the purpose of proscribing Marcos’ burial in Libingan is not to punish the family but to accomplish more important, overriding goals of national scope and vital ramifications that transcend the interests of the Marcos family. Marcos must not bear the appellation of “hero” and presented to the Philippine people as a worthy example. He is not.

    To be continued


    - Healing is accomplished not by denial but by admission, repentance, and reparation. Why do you suppose that the reparation for the Asian comfort women victimized by Imperial Japan remains such an enduring issue, fraught with overwhelming emotions? It is because the victims will be satisfied by those acts only on the part of the Japanese government that truly will bring them healing: genuine admission, sincere repentance, and reparation to the extent possible. This President-elect condones denial of Marcos’ crimes and thereby aggravates the injury. He binds the canker without treating the wound. If he were a doctor, his patients’ sores would fester incurably, and they would most certainly die of gangrene.



    Panelo, “President Marcos was a soldier”:


    Sta. Maria and R.A. No. 289, Section one:


    Cebrero and Rule 129 of the Rules of Court:


    Duterte, Panelo, and some others argue that Marcos can be buried at the Cemetery of Heroes because he was a soldier, president, and was not finally convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude. The basic reason why this argument is legally wrong is that you cannot separate the intention of the law from its implementation, and the intention of R.A. No. 289 is explicitly stated in Section one. The intention of the “National Pantheon” is “to perpetuate the memory of all the Presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and patriots” “for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generations still unborn.” Let's highlight that text: for INSPIRATION and EMULATION. Yes, Marcos was a Philippine president, but by no stretch of the imagination is he worthy of emulation and therefore he is not the subject of inspiration as well. His criminal record as a murderer, torturer, violator of human rights, and plunderer is solidly and comprehensively documented and thereby established even without a final criminal conviction, which he evaded through death. Documentation of Marcos' criminal character and deeds is buttressed in particular by national and international judicial rulings and legislative acts that explicitly testify accordingly.

    Marcos burial at the Cemetery of Heroes is illegal because it goes against the explicit letter of the law, not to mention its unmistakably manifest spirit. Marcos is not by any stretch of the imagination an object of INSPIRATION and EMULATION for Filipinos, indeed, of entire humanity.

    To be continued


    I would add that the inclusion of Marcos among those eligible for burial at the Cemetery of Heroes is based on the logical Law of the Excluded Middle, which originates in Aristotle. This law posits that in every logical system only two mutually exclusive propositions are possible. Modern and postmodern logics do not assume this law as a necessary logical premise, and it is not. Today, formal and informal logics explore three-valued as well as other multi-valued logics. Not purely theoretical, the multi-valued logics have practical applications. In the French judicial system, for example, three verdicts are possible: guilty, not guilty, and not proven.

    With respect to the AFP regulations concerning those eligible for burial at the Cemetery of Heroes, it is evident that the authors of the regulations sought to exclude in their exceptions those who are not worthy of “inspiration and emulation” and set forth a list that they assumed at the time to be entirely comprehensive. As conditions have changed over time, it is glaringly obvious that the list is NOT entirely comprehensive. Therefore, to limit the list of those excluded to the exceptions indicated is erroneous. The restrictions assume that the entire list of the eligible and ineligible entirely exhausts the possible universe of candidates, and reality shows that this assumption, which is based on the Law of the Excluded Middle, which, mind you, is not a logical universal, is erroneous. Marcos, a soldier and president not finally convicted of a crime because of the event of death, is categorically NOT worthy of “inspiration and emulation.” Demonstrably, he falls into a third category of candidates not fully described in the law who are nonetheless not worthy of burial at the Cemetery of Heroes by virtue of the law’s intention explicitly stated in Section one: Filipinos “for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generations still unborn.”



    R.A. No. 10368 states in Section two, Declaration of Policy:

    “It is hereby declared the policy of the State to recognize the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos covering the period from September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986 and restore the victims’ honor and dignity.

    “The State hereby acknowledges its moral and legal obligation to recognize and/or provide reparation to said victims and/or their families for the deaths, injuries, sufferings, deprivations and damages they suffered under the Marcos regime.

    “Similarly, it is the obligation of the State to acknowledge the sufferings and damages inflicted upon persons whose properties or businesses were forcibly taken over, sequestered or used, or those whose professions were damaged and/or impaired, or those whose freedom of movement was restricted, and/or such other victims of the violations of the Bill of Rights.”

    The above passage is explicit in declaring the obligation of the government (“the State”) “to RECOGNIZE and/or provide reparation to said victims and/or their families for the deaths, injuries, sufferings, deprivations and damages they suffered under the Marcos regime” [capitals mine] and “to ACKNOWLEDGE the sufferings and damages inflicted upon persons whose properties or businesses were forcibly taken over, sequestered or used, or those whose professions were damaged and/or impaired, or those whose freedom of movement was restricted, and/or such other victims of the violations of the Bill of Rights” [capitals mine].

    Manifestly, Marcos’ burial at Libingan assigns the title “hero” to Marcos and thereby repudiates and even denies claims well established by evidence that he is guilty of human rights violations and crimes of murder, torture, theft, and plunder. Furthermore, for the State to declare Marcos a “hero” fails to RECOGNIZE and ACKNOWLEDGE the victims of Marcos’ human rights violations and crimes of murder, torture, and plunder. His baptism as a “hero” contradicts the very recognition and acknowledgement of his crimes required by R.A. No. 10368, Section two. Therefore, Marcos’ burial at Libingan is inconsistent with and contravenes the explicit declaration of R.A. No. 10368, Section two.

    We cannot honor Marcos as a “hero” and at the same time RECOGNIZE and ACKNOWLEDGE the victims of Marcos’ human rights violations and crimes of murder, torture, theft, and plunder, because the former honorific gives the lie to the latter affirmation.

    We can also cite the 1987 Constitution provisions which are invoked in R.A. No. 10368, Section two:



    “Section 11. The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.”

    R.A. No. 10368 also expounds: “Section 12 of Article III of the Constitution prohibits the use of torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free will and mandates the compensation and rehabilitation of victims of torture or similar practices and their families.”

    By repudiating and even denying Marcos’ crimes, Marcos’ burial at Libingan contradicts state policies and the Bill of Rights, respectively, set forth in Articles II and III, respectively, of the 1987 Constitution.



    Although reason in the service of truth is a powerful instrument to achieve the good, in matters of great moment, the help of God, which is necessary in everything, is especially imperative in order to resist and overcome intransigent evil.

    “Get up, call on your god!” (Jonah 1:6)

    “Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.” (Luke 18:7-8)

    MARCOS IS NOT A HERO. By every means possible, including prayer, let us strive to prevent Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.