News Commentary

Controversial book on martial law now available for free

MANILA, Philippines – One of the controversial books detailing the abuses and corruption of the Marcos regime can now be easily accessed.
"The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos," a book authored by Primitivo Mijares, is now available for free download. It can now be accessed through the Ateneo de Manila University's online hub of the Rizal Library.
Mijares was the former head of the Marcos administration's Media Advisory Council that controlled the local press from May 1973 to November 1974.  
He served the Marcos government for three years before defecting from it on February 1975. He eventually sought asylum in the United States (US).
The former Marcos confidant and propagandist went on to testify before US' House international International Committee on June 17, 1975. He was quoted in a Herald-Journal report saying that an aide of the president even tried to offer him a bribe in hopes of keeping him from from testifying. 
After the publication of his book, Mijares was nowhere to be found. He was believed to have become a "desaparecido" - a Spanish word that means "disappeared," and a term widely used for individuals who notably took on the government and disappeared during the Martial Law.
Mijares's book hit the shelves in 1976. 
A year later, Mijares' son Luis Manuel "Boyet" was found dead with multiple puncture wounds and a bashed head in a vacant lot in Taytay, Rizal. 
A book penned by Sterling Seagrave in 1988 noted that the "'Conjugal Dictatorship' was systematically plundered from every book store and public institution in the US, including the Library of Congress. Eight months after his book vanished Mijares himself disappeared."
Priscelina Patajo-Legasto said in her book "Philippine Studies: Have We Gone Beyond St. Louis?" "was banned in the country but nevertheless widely circulated via extensive photocopying and mimeographing."
Mijares's work is not the only book that covered and examined life during Martial Law.
Among notable reads were “Waltzing With a Dictator” by  investigative journalist Raymond Bonner, “Not On Our Watch,” an anthology by the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, “Turning Rage into Courage: Mindanao Under Martial Law,” a compilation of memoirs by 38 Mindanaoans and “Some are Smarter than Others,” by Ricardo Manapat. 
For the past years, the only source for a new copy for Mijares's work was via Amazon.com, where the book retails for $25 (P1,169.49) in paperback and $3 (P140.34) for the digital edition. 
A comment in renowned book site Goodreads.com indicates that a copy of Mijares's book can be found in the University of the Philippines's library.

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