Wednesday, September 12, 2007


TIME - Marcos' Martial Law - Without warning, police squads late last week walked into Manila's newspaper offices and broadcast stations, ordered staffers to leave and posted announcements Stating THIS BUILDING IS CLOSED AND SEALED AND PLACED UNDER MILITARY CONTROL.

Domestic air flights were grounded and overseas telephone operators refused to accept incoming calls. Finally, after several hours of mystifying silence, Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos went on nationwide radio and TV to proclaim a state of martial law. Civil government would be continued, he said, but campuses would be closed. Restrictions on travel, the press and communications would remain in force until the government dealt with "a conspiracy to overthrow the government."

It was a drastic step; martial law had never before been imposed in the Philippines, despite the country's long history of social and political violence. And yet, though troops took up positions all over Manila, there were few other visible signs of emergency. Nightclubs, casinos and movie theaters remained open; shoppers were out in their usual numbers the next day. Filipinos accepted the measures calmly, even cynically, for they had been widely anticipated.

Only two weeks ago, in an atmosphere of rapidly increasing belligerence between the Marcos regime, its political opposition and a burgeoning Philippine revolutionary movement, the President warned that he would not hesitate to assume emergency powers if he deemed them necessary. He finally did so six hours after an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate one of Marcos' chief aides, Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile. As the Secretary was heading home from his office in Manila, a carload of gunmen intercepted his car and riddled it with 30 shots; Enrile, who was riding with security men in a second car, was unhurt. The gunmen escaped unidentified.

Read complete article here.

Hotmanila - What Martial Law was like - In 1972 Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law with Proclamation 1081. He did it, he said, to save the Republic and to create what he called a "New Society." A whole generation of Filipinos now exists which only has the faintest recollection -- if at all -- of the Marcos dictatorship. Kids, this is what you missed. Perhaps it's what you should pass on when you have kids of your own.

The lies. The biggest lie -- the mother lie -- was that Martial Law was imposed for the good of the people. It was not. It was imposed for the good of the Marcoses and their cronies, to keep them in wealth and unassailable power forever and ever amen. Marcos was a congenital liar: he lied about the state of emergency. He lied about his ill-gotten wealth ("what ill-gotten wealth?", he would ask amusedly."Tell you what, if you can find it we'll split it". Shows how reliable his word was). He lied about his war medals (almost all of them were fake), he lied about his father's wartime heroics (it turned out Marcos Sr was a collaborator executed by the guerrillas), he lied about his health. He lied about holding free elections and dismantling Martial Law. He lied and lied and lied. This was the man Joseph Estrada wanted to give a hero's burial.

The fear. Anybody could be picked up at anytime for any reason by the military or the police. You could wind up a detainee, or you could just vanish, a "salvage" victim. If you protested against the government, you were labeled a "subversive" or a "communist" or both and you were summarily arrested. People the government didn't like were tailed by security elements, their telephones tapped. A student who spoke up to Imee Marcos was murdered. No two words were more invoked and abused for the purposes of oppression than "national security." People were afraid to speak out. Marcos logic being what it was, the silence meant the people were happy.

The injustice. Only Marcos and his cronies, who plundered the economy, were protected by the law. Nobody else was. Arbitrary arrest, detention, salvaging and torture were the standard. The Defense Minister -- a man named Juan Ponce Enrile -- said in 1982: "We presume that priests and nuns charged with subversive activities are guilty until the courts decide whether they are guilty or not." On one occasion the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, someone named Enrique Fernando, servilely held an umbrella over Imelda Marcos' head.

Read complete article here.

Martial Law Memorial Hall
located between
Manila City Hall and Universidad de Manila


posted by Señor Enrique at 6:52 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG, memories!

I was aboard a Pantranco bus going home to Dagupan from Baguio on Sept. 21, 1972, unaware that Martial Law was already declared.

Weeks before that, hot talks were circulating already that Marcos would declare Martial law. But while in the bus that day, I was reading this Mao Tse Tung manifesto given to me by our discussion group leader. Yes, Eric, I was one of those students who would march the streets chanting, "Marcos, Hitler, diktador, tuta!" I was a freshman college stude then, and was just being 'indoctrinated' or should I say... enlightened about the state of our government that time.

When Martial law was declared, classes nationwide were suspended for one month at UP and two weeks in other schools. When we came back, there were professors, students and even dorm mates who were missing and we never saw them again after. Not sure if they were arrested or detained or killed.

One dorm mate, a leader of the SDK, Samahan ng mga Demokratikong Kabataan went into hiding. But know what happened? About a month later, at around 4:00 A.M., while we were still sleeping, we were jolted awake when our dorm matron knocked at our room and called my room mate. When we opened the door, there were armed military men with the matron. Matron said they just wanted to invite my room mate for interrogation, because she was the best friend of this SDK leader. They brought my room mate to the camp and detained her for three weeks. Just because she was the best friend of an activist leader!


Hubby's best friend was a classmate of Imee at the UP College of Law in 1981. In a college convocation, Imee was to give a speech. He gave the introduction, and he jokingly commented on Imee's wild parties, sexual escapades and all. Gosh, was he regretful! He couldn't sleep for days after that, wishing he never said it, fearing for his dear life. I vividly remember this because hubby and I stayed in one apartment with this friend.

And the 12:00-4:00 a.m. curfew! Guess this was never beneficial at all. Kung magpa-party ka, kailangan umuwi ng before 12 midnight kundi, matutulog ka sa istasyon ng pulis. Kaya tuloy, nauso ang mga stay in parties.

Oopss.. sorry Eric, ang haba nito. :) I always get carried away when reminiscing those bad old Martial Law years.

Off topic: today is Erap's and et al's case promulgation. And our cable is busted here! Darn!

September 12, 2007 8:45 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember in college when everytime we were lectured by the tyranism of the Marcos regime and not let Ramos do it again (this was the time of the introduction of the Anti- terror bill which Enrile wrote). We were so full of vigor then... Naive and full of belief we can make a change.

September 12, 2007 10:41 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the Marcos regime was toppled down by the People Power, how many of Marcos cronies and relatives were called to answer for their misdeeds?

September 12, 2007 11:26 AM  

Blogger Sidney said...

We better remember...

September 12, 2007 1:22 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great night shots !

Re martial law - I heard this was Marcos' grand plan to prolong his power, on the pretext of saving the country from the threat of communism :(

September 12, 2007 2:40 PM  

Blogger grumpyurbanslacker said...

i'm ashamed to admit i didn't even know there is a Martial Law Memorial Hall! i was a ML baby.....hope that history doesn't sanitize this dark era completely.

May Imelda suffer eventually for what she and Macoy did!!

September 12, 2007 4:35 PM  

Blogger  gmirage said...

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men." -Lord Acton
I was 6 years old when the EDSA Revolution happened so I barely,actually, I have no memories of the Martial Law era... =(

I believe Marcos to be an intelligent man, hence, he thought of this plan, hehehe. Somehow, I also want to believe that he did want what was best for the Filipinos...(at first alright).

But no matter how noble a stateman is, he will not succeed: " earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step."—Jeremiah 10:23.

Ironically what happens in reality: "...Man has dominated man to his injury." -Ecclesiastes 8:9

September 12, 2007 10:25 PM  

Blogger  gmirage said...

Btw, the play of lights make the photos 'alive..' Lovely!

September 12, 2007 10:28 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am happy that such a memorial stands. It may not be as grand as one can imagine it to be, but we cannot risk the spectre of people actually forgetting that this once happened to us.

Like war, I pray that it will not happen again.


- Dylan of Superpasyal

September 13, 2007 12:03 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Many thanks for sharing with us such stirring personal experience, Rhoda. I had already left for the States then, but certain prior incidents which occured somehow told me that Marcos might take extreme measures in diffusing the growing public turmoil.

Marcos and his cronies may not be as severe as Pol Pot, Stalin, or Hitler, but nonetheless, many Filipinos suffered painful and deathly consequences from their wrath.

May we as a race learn from such tragedy.

September 13, 2007 7:07 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

But many young people from all over the world precipitated major changes in the course of their respective country's path, Rey, despite that many of them endured much sufferings and deaths in their struggle.

September 13, 2007 7:11 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I'd like to think, bertN, that in one way or another, through the basic laws of the universe -- karma -- those who participated and profited will correspondingly receive what's due them

September 13, 2007 7:13 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I agree, Sidney.

September 13, 2007 7:14 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

" ... hope that history doesn't sanitize this dark era completely."

It is the responsibility of every elder to remind the youth about this dark history of our country, GrumpyUrbanSlacker.

September 13, 2007 7:16 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Many thanks, G. Mirage.

Many truths behind these quotes you shared with us. Thank you!

September 13, 2007 7:17 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's right, Dylan ... we ought to remember and learn from this national tragedy.

September 13, 2007 7:18 AM  

Blogger Watergirl said...

I used to be told that I was a Martial Law baby since I grew up under the ML period. I felt a sense of relief when ML was lifted, and a final feeling of release when People Power turned things around. But now, I'm cynical about government and the short, casual memories people have about freedom and rights.

September 13, 2007 9:54 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

If not the short, casual memories, how about being too forgiving, MTan? Only a couple of years or so, everything seems forgotten and forgiven. Without the necessary vigilance and fortitude as a nation, how can we discourage plunder, corruption and abuse of office by our top oficials?

September 13, 2007 1:10 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I envy the marcoses, they accumulated so much wealth by whatever means they deemed fit and will never have pay back a single cent or spend an hour of incarceration. I guess one could really have his/her cake and eat it too.

September 13, 2007 1:45 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I don't envy them at all, Leo, though I'm sure they did what they thought was best for themcselves at that time.

I do believe of certain universal laws that apply to humanity, and I would want to be in their shoes when karmaic retribution comes around.

September 14, 2007 6:59 AM  

Blogger reyd said...

I'm glad that this thing is all over and we all learned from it.
Somehow, some of us learned what discipline and fear is all about.
Sadly, some people who should have been punish for playing a role in injustice to the Filipino people are still protected by some sort of laws.

Mahirap umilag sa bala ng garand at 45 sa Mendiola during my college days. :)

September 18, 2007 11:03 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I really hope we did learn from this dark period of our history, Reyd. I had already left for New York then, but I'm sure it was horrific for many of our fellow Pinoys.

Sana nga huwag ng maulit ito.

September 18, 2007 11:22 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are those, like baby boomers, who were there and do feel that it was actually not that bad because people were more disciplined, more orderly, and it's quite something to point out that the Philippines was at its economic and social standing peak during Martial Law. At least the first part of it. There are also those from that time who were against what was going on, but now because they see what is going on, they have changed their minds and feel that maybe it wasn't so bad back then. But there are those that say Marcos did not really take from the country, but did take from the foreign aid which is not really direct. Some even say that some groups, including the US, sabotaged Marcos and his rule by going against him and ruining the flow of his plan and by ruining the country in order to prevent the Philippines from growing economically and socially. I don't blame those people for feeling this way because look at the history, it's always been countries putting down other rising countries, and people putting down other people to keep them down.


October 10, 2007 8:34 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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