“It is very clear that there is no reason to impose martial law in Luzon and the Visayas. Although there is martial law there in Mindanao, there is a reason for that and this is what the people of Mindanao wanted,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said in an interview with radio station dzRH yesterday.
Toto Lozano/PPD
Palace: 'No nationwide martial law'
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - September 22, 2018 - 12:00am

Roque: Duterte is no Marcos

MANILA, Philippines — As protests and warnings of an emerging dictatorship greeted the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law yesterday, Malacañang made it clear it has no intention of expanding martial law in Mindanao to include the rest of the country.

“It is very clear that there is no reason to impose martial law in Luzon and the Visayas. Although there is martial law there in Mindanao, there is a reason for that and this is what the people of Mindanao wanted,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said in an interview with radio station dzRH yesterday.

He stressed there is no point comparing President Duterte with the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, whose declaration of martial law in September 1972 unleashed a wave of human rights abuses by security forces directed at enemies and critics of the regime.

The period of martial law also witnessed the rapid deterioration of the economy weighed down largely by corruption instigated by Marcos, his family and his cronies.

Unlike Marcos, Duterte enjoys wide support from the public, according to Roque.

“To those who are greedy for power, dream on. The President is duly elected by the people and enjoys their support. The President has his mandate, unlike during the time when martial law was declared more than 40 years ago when the former president had lost his mandate,” Roque said.

“So, that is the big difference. The people will only revolt if there is no democracy, but our President is a product of democracy,” he added.

On President Duterte’s placing Mindanao under martial law, Roque pointed out there was a need to quell a rebellion in Marawi City where Islamic State-linked militants like the Maute, Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters had holed up with the intention of making the city the capital of its so-called caliphate in Southeast Asia.

‘Beware of hidden agenda’

For former Senate president Aquilino Pimentel Jr., another cause for worry is the reemergence of political personalities intent on reclaiming power by justifying to the younger generation the declaration of martial law in 1972.

“All I can tell our youth is that they should not be swayed by the opinion of some people who really have hidden agenda,” Pimentel, a member of the consultative committee created by Duterte to review the 1987 Constitution, said.

In a press conference at Malacañang, Pimentel stressed he is a living witness to systematic atrocities committed by security forces of the Marcos regime, contrary to former senator Juan Ponce Enrile’s belying reports of abuses and massive corruption during martial law.

“The hidden agenda is to justify the excesses of the martial law regime and to show that they should therefore be given a chance to serve our people through the elections that are forthcoming, let us not allow that,” Pimentel said.

Enrile, in a video recorded chat with Marcos’ only son and namesake, claimed nobody was arrested for his political beliefs during martial law. The former senator was Marcos’ defense minister and chief implementer of martial law.

Pimentel, one of the many political prisoners during the Marcos dictatorship, said in his message to the youth that the end should never justify the means, as he deplored the killings and forced disappearances during martial law.

“Let us expose them for what they are. They are trying to perpetuate a legacy that had better be placed in the box of history several feet underground,” Pimentel, a human rights lawyer, said.

“So that they will not influence the thinking of the young people of our country and mislead them into the path of that wrong assessment of life that the end justifies the means,” he added.

“I do not desire to take revenge against anyone. I’m only trying to say huwag nating gayahin ‘yung mga masamang mga leksyon na napulot natin (let’s not emulate the bad lessons that we picked up),” he said.

Pimentel said his former colleague at the Senate may have forgotten that martial law victim is in his midst.

“Siguro nakalimutan na niya ako (He may have forgotten about me). That’s part of aging,” he said.

“Maliwanag naman siguro na marami ang hinuli (It’s very clear that many had been arrested). As a matter of fact, nung hinuli ako, ‘di ko alam kung bakit hinuli ako (when I was arrested I didn’t know why I got arrested),” Pimentel said.

While he respects Enrile’s view under the present democracy, Pimentel said he believes Enrile must be “cementing his relationship with the Marcoses… hoping probably that (Bongbong) Marcos will become president eventually, of course without my vote.”

MARTIAL LAW RODRIGO DUTERTE
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Recommended
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with