An undated photo showing toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos who placed the entire country under Martial Law on Sept. 21, 1972 supposedly to counter the threats posed by communists. More than 100,000 people experienced human rights violations during the Martial Law, according to Amnesty International.
Malacañang archives
Palace calls martial law 'tool to save... democracy' despite recognizing Marcos atrocities
Alexis Romero ( - September 22, 2019 - 1:48pm

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang called the application of martial law a "tool to save the exercise of democracy" even as it acknowledged that the abuses committed during the Marcos regime created a "deep wound" to an entire generation.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the military rule under the late president Ferdinand Marcos had promoted discipline and achieved gains in countering the communist rebellion but had also caused "traumatic experiences."

"The imposition of Martial Law and the abuses it spawned even as it instilled discipline among the citizenry at its inception, as well as reaping success in dismantling the then spreading communist insurgency in the country, created a deep wound to an entire generation," Panelo said in a statement issued a day after the 47th anniversary of the military rule.

"Regardless of political persuasion, the Marcos Martial Law continues to haunt those who have traumatic experiences during the one-man rule. Perforce, it is best to reflect on this day to learn the lessons derived therefrom, using the same to unite us as one people and one country," he added.

READ: Duterte is open to Mindanao martial law extension. Is that an effective response vs terrorism?

Panelo disputed the view of groups opposed to the very concept of martial law, saying it only becomes "obnoxious" if there are abuses. He said the proclamation of martial law "arises only upon constitutional dictates."

"Despite the fears and the trauma it created following its declaration, the framers of the 1987 Constitution acknowledged the necessity of its use to save the Republic from ruin against the enemies of the state, deeming it wise to vest it once more with the President albeit diminishing its discretionary use by adding more safeguards for its abuse," Panelo said.  

"Those who perceive that a declaration of martial law is anti-democratic is oblivious of the fact that its application is precisely the very tool to save the exercise of democracy. It is only when it is clothed with abuse by its enforcers that it becomes obnoxious," he added.  

NewsLab: 31 years of amnesia: Stories on the myths that made Marcos

Panelo said any violation of the Constitution under a military rule would subject transgressors to "the wrath and vengeance of the Constitution."

"Relative to our quest to strengthen the republic and its institutions, the Palace urges everyone to look at the past to guide us on what to do with the present, that it may serve us better in the future," the presidential spokesperson said.

Marcos placed the entire country under Martial Law on Sept. 21, 1972, supposedly to counter the threats posed by the communist insurgency. The military rule was tainted with allegations of human rights abuses, censorship and cronyism, issues that hounded the Marcos administration until the late dictator was ousted in the historic 1986 People Power Revolution.

More than 100,000 people experienced human rights violations during the Marcos Martial Law, according to Amnesty International.  

READ: Duterte says no proof Marcoses amassed ill-gotten wealth despite overwhelming evidence

Duterte, a vocal admirer of Marcos, has placed Mindanao under martial law in 2017 as a response to the attacks of Islamic State-aligned extremists in Marawi.

He was accused of trying to revise history and deodorizing the image of Marcos after he allowed the burial of the late president at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery) in 2016.

Duterte has justified his decision, saying Marcos was qualified to be given a hero's burial as a former president and soldier.

READ: Hero's burial for Marcos: How did we get here?

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