The 94-year-old Enrile, who is seeking to return to the Senate in the May 2019 elections, however said that the magnitude of the killings and human rights violations during the Marcos regime was “debatable” and the warrantless arrests at the time were justified.
KJ Rosales
Enrile apologizes to Martial Law victims, blames ‘unlucid intervals’
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - October 26, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Former Senate president Juan Ponce Enrile has apologized to victims of atrocities during the dark days of martial law and attributed to “unlucid intervals” his controversial disclaimer of arrests and killings of suspected dissidents in his recent interview with the son and namesake of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

The 94-year-old Enrile, who is seeking to return to the Senate in the May 2019 elections, however said that the magnitude of the killings and human rights violations during the Marcos regime was “debatable” and the warrantless arrests at the time were justified.

“I’m sorry for (human rights violations), if I have to apologize, but that was our perception: it was not an intention to harm anybody but to protect society. You are unleashing a system of government control over the society that needs to be firmly established so that you avoid violence,” Enrile told “The Chiefs” on Cignal TV’s One News on Wednesday night, referring to Marcos’ imposition of martial law on Sept. 21, 1972.

“If there were people who were hurt because I could not control all the people, I recognize that there were people who were aberrant and who could not be – who abused their power, and I tried to minimize it as much as I could, as a single person,” he said, referring to his former role as martial law administrator.

Asked if he did something to protect the innocent from the atrocities of the government at the time, he replied: “I did that, I swear to God I did that. I tried to prevent anybody from being killed or hurt.”

Enrile later turned against Marcos and was among the key players in toppling the regime in what was dubbed as the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution.

As Senate president, Enrile signed Republic Act 10368 in 2012 that granted recognition and reparations for the more than 11,000 documented human rights victims during the Marcos regime.

Enrile’s acknowledgment of the deaths and disappearances came weeks after his interview with former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. – where he denied there were arrests and extrajudicial killings during the martial law regime – was met with outrage by human rights groups and families of victims.

The 23-minute tête-à-tête titled “Enrile: A witness to history” was released on Marcos’ Facebook account on the eve of the 46th anniversary of the declaration of martial law last month. Critics slammed the interview as an attempt at historical revisionism.

Enrile said it was the younger Marcos who asked him to grant the interview “to document the achievements of the father.”

When pressed to clarify his challenge during the interview to critics to name anyone who was executed during martial law, he said, “Well, if I said that, it must have been in my unlucid interval.”

Enrile, however, denied saying there were no arrests during martial law.

“I never said that,” he said twice. “What I said was that we never killed people needlessly, or without any reason, needlessly, with impunity. I never said we did not arrest. I never said there were no human rights violations.”

Enrile shrugged off criticisms on his and Marcos’ apparent attempts at historical revisionism, saying everyone has their own stories to tell.

He said it was not easy being the martial law administrator, signing warrants of arrest while trying to protect some of his friends, like the late Senate president Jovito Salonga and the late senator Jose Diokno.

Asked why he also ordered the arrests of journalists including the late STAR publisher Maximo Soliven, he said, “I must tell you, in the initial stages, we must emasculate all the leaders in order to control the situation. I must admit, and afterwards, when we have quieted the society, we started releasing them.”

While he signed RA 10368, he said he was not aware of the number of victims who suffered under Marcos.

“There’s no question that there were (human rights victims) but the magnitude is a debatable issue, that’s what I’m saying, if there were, they’re entitled to whatever justice they deserve,” he said.

2019 MIDTERM ELECTIONS JUAN PONCE ENRILE MARTIAL LAW
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