AMID the recent commemoration of the atrocities brought by the declaration of Martial Law in 1972, Malacañang on Monday, September 24, refuted the accusations that former senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. could twist what transpired in history.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that in order to change the facts on what really happened during the regime of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the two former lawmakers would go against the Constitution.
“I don’t think they can twist history when there’s a law and when there are court decisions attesting to what happened during martial law,” Roque said as reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The spokesperson said that the executive office strongly acknowledges the abuses suffered by the martial law victims. He said that the government recompenses for those affected by that dark period in Philippine history.
“As far as the palace is concerned, there are decisions affirming that there were grave human rights violations committed during the Marcos regime. There’s even a law in Congress which provides compensation for victims of martial law,” the spokesperson added.
The said law, Republic Act No. 10368, otherwise known as the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, mandated a compensation for victims of human rights violations of the Marcos rule.
The Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board (HRVCB), the agency that is responsible for evaluating and providing reparations to the victims of gross human rights violations committed during the period from September 21, 1972 to February 25, 1986, said that it will issue monetary payment to more than 11,000 people after completing its final list.
The HRVCB is also tasked to recognize those whose rights were violated by enshrining their names in the Roll of Human Rights Violations Victims. The agency believed that honoring their heroism and sacrifices is the state’s moral and legal obligation.
Enrile denies human rights violation during martial law
The palace’s statement was intended to assure the public that there will be no successful attempt to distort the details of the 1972 dictatorship. This was after Enrile appeared on an interview with Marcos Jr. denying the atrocities of martial law. The said interview aired on Marcos’ social media accounts on Thursday, September 20 — a day shy from the 46th anniversary of martial law declaration.
“Name me one person that was arrested because of political or religious belief during that period. None. Name me one person who was arrested simply because he criticized Marcos. None.”
The 94-year-old former lawmaker, who was the defense chief and the one who implemented martial law during the Marcos administration was asked in the video “JPE: A Witness to History” what was the greatest fallacy being fed among young people.
“They claim that we killed a lot of people. When I was interviewed by someone some time ago, I challenged her, name me one that we executed, other than Lim Seng,” Enrile said.
Critics debunk Enrile’s claims
The said interview was criticized by several lawmakers and human right groups. One most prominent critic is former President Benigno Aquino III, son of late Senator Ninoy Aquino who was assassinated in 1983, for being Marcos’ archrival.
“May edad na si Senator Enrile pero hindi naman siguro pwedeng gawing parang dahilan ‘yun para maniwala tayo sa gusto niyang pagbabago ng katotohanan. Pwede nating unawain pero pasensya na, ang totoo ay totoo; ang pambobola ay pambobola pa rin (Senator Enrile is old but we cannot use this as an excuse to believe his attempt to change the truth. We can respect him, but I’m sorry, truth is truth, deception is deception),” the former president said
Senator Nancy Binay shared her family’s experience since his father — former Vice President Jejomar Binay was imprisoned for being an activist during martial law.
“Based on what I experienced growing up, this was what I saw during that period. It’s a fact my father was jailed. I grew up joining rallies,” the senator said.
She recalled that their family would join rallies where they walked from Gil Puyat Avenue to Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila. They would also visit her father’s friends who struggled to defend human rights violations. Her experience proved different from Enrile’s claim.
Senator Leila de Lima also slammed Enrile for perpetuating “lies about martial law.” She attacked his old age as she reminded him of those victims who lived to tell their accounts.
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chair Chito Gascon noted that Enrile’s denial of the dark part in history “is a lie and will still be a lie even if said a million times.”
“Such attempt at historical revisionism will continue on the part of those who want to forget that sad part of our history,” Gascon said.