Saturday, September 20, 2014

Never Again!

by Antonio C. Antonio
September 21, 2014

42 years ago today, President Ferdinand E. Marcos declared Martial Law through Proclamation No. 1081.

A few weeks before Martial Law was declared, Senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. warned the entire Filipino nation of “Oplan Sagittarius”; a military-sponsored operations plan to encourage civil strife and hype a communist takeover as justifications to Proclamation No. 1081.  On August 21, 1971, while the opposition Liberal Party was having a miting de avance in Plaza Miranda (in Quipo, Manila), two grenades were exploded seriously injuring most of the opposition senatorial candidates while killing about a dozen people and wounding more than a hundred.  A few days after, Senator Aquino spoke again in the Senate to warn the public that after the suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus, Martial Law and the establishment of a Marcos-led garrison state was to follow.  Oplan Sagittarius culminated with a “staged” assassination attempt on Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile… who later admitted it was a hoax.  Proclamation No. 1081 was actually signed on September 17th and the “staged” assassination of Defense Secretary Enrile was on September 22nd… a day after Martial Law was announced. 

The formal announcement of the proclamation was made at 7:30 pm of September 23rd after the political opponents of Marcos and anyone perceived to be against Marcos were all herded to jail… with Senator Aquino as the prime target of the arrests.  History would later reveal that the only reason why President Marcos declared Martial Law was to perpetuate himself to power.  Senator Aquino was his most likely successor to the presidency.

On September 21, 1972, exactly 42 years ago today, President Marcos declared Martial Law.  This lone act effectively suspended the 1935 Constitution and dissolved Congress.  Marcos became supreme law and lawmaker in the Philippines.  The Supreme Court declared the imposition of Martial Laws as illegal and without basis but, on the other hand, said there is no way to stop it.  President Marcos was forced to lift Martial Law on January 17, 1981 as a condition to the first pastoral visit of Pope John Paul II to the Philippines for the beatification of Blessed Lorenzo Ruiz.  Martial rule was still very evident even after it was supposed to have been lifted… political persecution, disappearances and human rights violations counting to the tens of thousands continued.  The economy was in shambles from the wanton stealing of public funds by Marcos himself, his family, his cronies and the political and military elite.

The September 21, 1972 proclamation reads in part… Ferdinand E. Marcos:  “My countrymen, as of the twenty-first of this month, I signed Proclamation No. 1081 placing the entire Philippines under Martial Law…”  To this, I say:  “Never again!”

Just my little thoughts…

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