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Political Dynasties in the Philippines: In My Opinion

Next year’s Philippine midterm elections are fast approaching and it paints an all too-familiar image once again: candidates that are ei...



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Here's the list of Top 10 Senators with the most number of bills filed in the 15th Congress. Note that the Senate will adjourn on June 9 and will resume session on July 25.

10 - Juan Miguel Zubiri — 90 (56 bills, 34 resos)

9 - Edgardo Angara — 117 (102 bills, 15 resos)

8 - Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. — 150 (126 bills, 24 resos)

7 - Francis Escudero — 154 (128 bills, 26 resos)

6 - Loren Legarda — 198 (137 bills, 61 resos)

5 - Lito Lapid — 239 (179 bills, 60 resos)

4 - Antonio Trillanes IV — 304 (292 bills, 12 resos)

3 - Manuel “Manny” Villar Jr. with 539 (395 bills, 144 resolutions)

2 - Jinggoy Estrada - 581 files measures (553 bills, 27 resolutions)

1 - Miriam Defensor-Santiago – 882 measures (758 bills and 124 resolutions)

Others who failed to enter the Top 10 list include: #11 Ralph Recto — 88 (50 bills, 38 resos), #12 Pia Cayetano (74: 48 bills, 25 resos), #13 and #14 Franklin Drilon — (45 (23 bills, 22 resos) and Vicente Sotto III — 45 (10 bills, 35 resos), #15 Francis Pangilinan — 43 (15 bills, 28 resos), #16 and #17 Juan Ponce Enrile — 40 (18 bills, 22 resos) and Teofisto Guingona III — 40 (13 bills, 27 resos), #18 Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. — 39 (20 bills, 19 resos), #19 Gregorio Honasan II — 34 (13 bills, 21 resos), #20 Sergio Osmena III — 33 (14 bills, 19 resos), #21 Panfilo Lacson — 31 (31 bills), #22 Alan Peter Cayetano — 20 (7 bills, 13 resos), and #23 Joker Arroyo — 17 (17 resos).

In an interview by GMANews, Sen. Santiago said that, she “worked (her) ass off”. She adds,

“A public hearing on a controversial issue generates a lot of publicity, but usually the result is merely a recommendation to the Ombudsman. By contrast, internet research is very quiet and solitary, but one bill could make a difference in the lives of people”.
On a personal note however, it is more relevant to compare turnover of bills that became a law. This means the initial effort of drafting the idea was successful enough to be supported by everybody, thus becoming a law. Here you can see the real effort, because the political will and leadership is more evident but I believe the better presentation is placing laws vis-à-vis the bills. Only then will we know who makes the most sensible laws of all.

Here’s the list I made based on the latest release of the senators’ net worth.

A senator’s net worth means “assets minus liabilities”. It is the difference between the assets and liabilities of a company or in this case, a person.

10 - Edgardo Angara, P70 million

9- Teofisto Guingona III, P73.9 million

8 - Pia Cayetano, P75.85 million (unchanged from the previous year)

7 - Sergio Osmeña III, P82.3 million

6 - Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, P93.5 million

5 - Juan Ponce Enrile, P116 million

4 - Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., P125.7 million

3 - Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., P311.5 million

2 - Ralph Recto, P418.5 million

Still the richest according to the data in 2010.
1 - Manuel “Manny” Villar, P725.2 million.

Other senators who didn’t make it to the top ten (this time, in regressing order): Vicente “Tito” Sotto III, P48.9 million (Rank 11); Loren Legarda, P45.5 million (Rank 12); Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, P41.2 million (Rank 13); Miriam Defensor Santiago, P40.3 million (Rank 14); Franklin Drilon, P33.4 million (Rank 15); Panfilo Lacson, P24.7 million (Rank 16); Gregorio Honasan, P19.3 million (Rank 17); Manuel “Lito” Lapid, 18.9 million (Rank 18); Alan Peter Cayetano, P15.9 million (Rank 19); Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, 12.4 million (Rank 20); Joker Arroyo, P11 million (Rank 21); Francis Joseph “Chiz” Escudero, P8 million (Rank 22); and Antonio Trillanes IV is still the poorest with P3.8 million (Rank 23).

The poorest senator with 3.8 million-peso-net worth.

Blogger’s Note:

I believe that the figures declared by the senators are a good headstart for a BIR investigation. The Filipino people are wondering how they (I’m not mentioning names) amass such wealth. Furthermore, I am sure that majority of the figures declared are questionable. Did they really pay the correct taxes correctly? You decide.

“Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, order more tunnel.” ~John Quinton, a British banker.

 This has been the question which resurfaced once again after decades of winding discussions.

Sorsogon Representative Salvador Escudero, Marcos's former agriculture minister during the Martial Law, says that “while Marcos was ousted from power, it could not be denied that he served the country well”. This then gave birth to the House Resolution 204 (or 1135) and was voted by no less than 204 congressmen in the lower house.

The resolution stresses out that the late Ferdinand Marcos (FM) deserves nothing less, as “he served the country as two-term President and has brought honor to the country as a war hero”. It was of course, greatly subscribed to by Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos.

Years before FM’s presidency, he has already bragged on his stellar achievements during the Second World War:
That he served as a lieutenant in the Army and was awarded one medal of valor. He has claimed to have led a guerilla unit of 8,000 soldiers and has boasted that he received 300 war medals, including the US Congressional Medal of Honor.

The above claims, however, were long debunked in 1982, when journalist Bonifacio Gillego, ran a series of exposés on the alleged phony medals.  Because of that, Pres. Marcos ordered the closure of the newspaper which, in turn led to the arrest of the press freedom editor Jose Burgos Jr.

What I find alarming is, as of presstime, there are 219 lawmakers who have signed the resolution. The same institution which the former dictator closed in 1972, is the one that wants him to be hailed a hero.

Moreover, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted from March 4 to 7 revealed that half of the Filipinos were in favor of the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani while 49 percent were not. Around 30% of those who favored his burial there believe he should be "buried with official honors," while 20% said only for a "private burial."

Should it be called as Heroes' Cemetery or Former Presidents' Cemetery?
I, on the other hand, belong to the other half which believes that Former President Ferdinand Marcos’s remains should never be given a hero’s burial (even though Ilocano blood has been running in my veins). I’ve got to agree that FM had been a great president, but that is, on his first term.

These are some of the congressmen who voted against House Resolution 204:
Rep. Bebot Bello
Rep. Kaka Bag-ao
Rep. Manny Pacquiao
Rep. Roilo Golez
Rep. Sonny Belmonte
Rep. Roman Romulo
Rep. Paul Daza
Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara
Rep. Edcel Lagman

And some of those congressmen who hail Marcos hero are the following:
Rep. Imelda Marcos
Rep. Vincent Crisologo
Rep. JV Ejercito
Rep. Mikey Arroyo
Rep. Iggy Arroyo
Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Heroes' resting place in the Philippines

The first argument on him being a war hero has already been refuted. Next thing to answer is, if he those terms (and 21 years of rule) his regime left an impact that was ruinous for the economy, the society, and the political institutions of his country.

While many would say that it was on his administration that we’ve seen the infrastructures sprouting, it was nonetheless his duty as the President to make those necessary developments. It was a thing expected of any person holding the reins of the government. It was part of his responsibilities so I contend that the infrastructure argument is not an entirely valid point.

Human rights abuses, dictatorship, cronyism, nepotism, corruption, etc - however rampant in past governments - are not part of his duties and responsibilities. How can we even think about this?! To borrow the words from the CEAP, “he is the longest serving Philippine President because he declared martial law, used military repression to silence opponents, destroyed what was then an imperfect but working democratic system, and perpetuated himself in power through an authoritarian Constitution which was never legitimately ratified”.

Regarding the matter, CEAP president Fr. Gregorio Bañaga

''Who doesn't want to be reconciled? We want unity and reconciliation, we want to move on, but let it be true reconciliation based on justice. We cannot reconcile and at your back, I stab you. Is there ever a statement by the Marcoses admitting that they indeed repressed human rights? Are they repentant? That is why in our statement, we quoted St. Augustine, 'charity cannot substitute for justice denied'…”

A good thing to ponder upon is the implications of the supposed former dictator’s hero’s burial. It will definitely have deep implications on the youth, the country and the world.

The bill furthered by Rep. Escudero opens old wounds in the hearts of thousands of Marcos human rights victims. Just what kind of message are we sending our kids – that it is okay to be a dictator and later be declared as a hero?

The youth will be even more confused with the real meaning of history while the country will be further divided. Isn’t it enough that the non-calculating masses have already put the Marcoses back in the reins of government during last year’s elections?

Ferdinand Marcos is arguably the most intelligent political leader of the 20th century and the best Philippine president during his first term (1965-1969) but after that he is one, if not the worst Philippine president that has ever lived. It has been so long since FM’s body was locked up in the iced crypt maybe it’s about time for Imelda to finally bury her husband… beside his loved ones in Ilocos.

Gonzales-Garcia, Lydia. 1991. Mga Pangulo ng Pilipinas. Anvil Publishing, Inc. Pasig, Manila: Philippines. p.75.
I love comics! I had a measly collection of vintage action comics back in grade school. I bought those at auctions, book sales, and some are gifts from my brother. I have X-Men, Icon, Static Shock, X-Factor, Superman, and Wonder Woman Comics. But I believe the comic strip characters, not like those from comic books face terrible unhappiness in life. Usually placed at the back or inside newspapers, I was able to write down their grievances of this cruel world.

Top 10 Complaints by Comic Strip Characters

10. Limited freedom / Can’t roam around.

9. Have to share page with horoscope or crossword puzzle.

8. Word balloon causes pressure on head.

7. Body out of proportion (Many have large heads).

6. Poor night life.

5. Dizziness, vomiting from smell of newsprint.

4. Teeth drawn like a mouthpiece / Individual tooth not seen.

3. “Is the world really colorless or am I just pale?”

2. “Garfield smells bad.”

1. “I don’t have thumbs!”
Originally, this entry was posted on 19 May 2010. But for the purpose of elucidation of a certain point about the Marcoses, I opted to repost this article here.

Are we Filipinos dumb or just forgiving?

Twenty-eight years ago, our country faced a kind of government that curtailed the most basic of our liberties. The Marcos regime was marred by massive authoritarian corruption, despotism, nepotism, and political repression.

Erap para sa Mahirap nga ba?
From that period on, we went from Asia’s hero to zero. In 1986, we were so proud of ourselves being able to topple down the hideous martial law. But right now, what happened?

Three Marcoses back in the political scene. The eighty-year old Imelda is now a congresswoman, Imee’s a governor, and Ferdinand Jr. is now a senator. Are we Filipinos missing something?

 Probably we were just mesmerized with “Asikasong Bongbong” and the wind turbines on his political ads. But we forget the fact that these people should have been paying for what they have done for the country. They became affluent at the expense of the public’s money.

Almost twenty-five years ago the Marcoses fled in disgrace, but here we are, putting the three of them in political seats (without thinking of how much we can probably benefit from reselling Imelda’s jewels or one thousand million-dollar shoes).

Ramon Casiple, the Executive Director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform, said Imelda and Imee's victories were expected since they ran in their stronghold. Okay, I concur. But how about Ferdinand Jr. (Bongbong)? Last elections, two leftist politicians who were among FM’s noisiest critics ran alongside him in the same party (Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza). From mortal enemies to friends, amazing. Those two are pretty forgiving like the 12 million-plus voters who supported him.

Another example of our "forgiving nature" is that of the one who claims to be "for the poor". I remember him well. He was the 13th president of the country who was, in 2007, found guilty of plunder and sentenced to reclusion perpetua. A little thanks to Noynoy, Erap failed to comeback as the 15th president (I am not a Noynoy supporter). But still what is alarming is, Erap surpassed the other ones with 9 million votes! Erasing Villar, Teodoro, Gordon, and the others off the scene.

Twelve million supporters for Bongbong, nine millions for Erap. Tell me, are we just dumb or forgiving?
This is the continuation of the Article, “Martial Law in the Philippines: A Retrospect”. Make sure you’ve read the previous article for a clear view on the topic. You may click it here.

Martial law remains one of the darkest episodes in the country’s very recent past. At every last week of September, we always remember its proclamation that shaped much of the Filipino polity for almost forty years now. I wasn’t yet born when it happened but I felt the need for a discussion of Marcos’s dictatorship and its lasting effect on us.

This two-part article aims to clarify some issues and enlighten also contemporaries about this blur topic in our national history. The first part is a narration of how the 14-year dictatorship went while the second part tackles on its effects and legacy.

In 1972, even before the proclamation of martial law, rumor has it that Ferdinand Marcos was planning to extend his rule. Accordingly, he had two plans of achieving his goal.
Should Ferdinand Marcos be immortalized as a hero or as tyrant?
First, he would aim for a change in the system of government (presidential to parliamentary that would make him “prime minister”). And second, place the islands under Martial Law.

On a privilege speech of Senator Ninoy Aquino, he warned the public of the possible establishment of a “garrison state” by President Marcos. And these forewarnings proved  to be correct as events started to unravel the grim “Marcos master plan”.

A horde of people (and mostly, militant activists) rushed to the Malacanang Palace to denounce the repressive administration. They were able to penetrate to the Gate 6 of the Palace. The pitched battle lasted for the whole night and was the most violent confrontation between protesters and the Presidential Guard Battalions (PGB). This was called as the “First Quarter Storm” in 1970.

On August 21, 1971, while the opposition party (Liberal Party) was having their miting de avance, two fragmentation grenades exploded. It took 9 lives and left more than 100 people seriously wounded. Some Liberal Party candidates were seriously injured including Jovito Salonga, who nearly died and was visually impaired. Marcos singled out communist forces and subversive elements as the causes of the crisis.

A month of “terrorist bombing” of public facilities (which, strange enough none was hurt) in Manila and Quezon City culminated on September 22 with a mock assassination attempt on Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile. Claiming chaos and lawlessness was near, Marcos declared martial law, thereby suspending the 1935 constitution, dissolving Congress, and assuming total power. Scary.

Six hours after the Enrile ”assassination attempt”, President Ferdinand E. Marcos responded with the imposition of martial law. Proclamation 1081 which imposed martial law was dated 21 September 1972, but it was actually signed on 17 September. The formal announcement of the proclamation was made only at seven-thirty in the evening of 23 September, about twenty-two hours after he had commanded his military collaborators to start arresting his political opponents and close down all media establishments.

All newspapers and radio stations were closed while a few were permitted to reopen following the imposition of strict censorship. Many arrests followed, with several prominent politicians—including Liberal Party members and two provincial governors—caught up in the government sweep.

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President Marcos characterized the campaign as an effort to save the country both from Communist insurrection and from criminal and corrupt elements pervading Philippine society. “It was to stop [the country’s] disintegration”, Imelda Marcos, the first lady, says on a TV interview in Batas Militar. This was perceptibly done to simply justify the martial law’s imposition while the truth is, small unit actions were already enough for the various confrontations between the government and some demonstrators.

Later in January the following year, a new constitution was created which gave Marcos absolute power, and elections were indefinitely postponed. Marcos ruled by decree, cloaking his dictatorial decisions in the rhetoric of law. This was definitely not a problem for the 1939 bar exams topnotcher (who got one of the highest rates during his time).

On the whole duration of the military rule, scholars say that 3,000 decrees and orders were issued by Pres. Marcos proving him to be well-versed in legal matters. Marcos even called his brand of leadership as constitutional authoritarian.

The rule was backed up by the Americans. The Nixon administration (yes, the star of the Watergate) – speaking through the American Chamber of Commerce in Manila – hailed the proclamation of martial law and, in particular, expected the growth of foreign investment in the country.

The very first act of Marcos after issuing martial law decrees was to reverse the SC decision on the Quasha case to the applause of his foreign corporate patrons as martial law's chief beneficiaries. And as an U.S. Congress report admitted, the martial law period was “a time for extending imperialist privileges for foreign investment even further”.

For the masterminds of martial law, the fascist clampdown on civil liberties "took care" of the nationalist movement – or so, they thought.

With the nationalist trend on a roll, perpetuating colonial privileges for foreign interests as the Laurel-Langley Agreement and Military Bases Agreement soon to expire were in dire threat. For the “powers-that-be”, it was time to cut short the growth of the anti-imperialist movement responsible for the nationalist mood in the streets and government halls. To contain communism in the Philippines and to protect American businesses and military bases, martial law is a sound solution. Supported by its foreign corporate and U.S. government patrons, the Marcoses was in for a 14-year joyride.

On Martial law’s outset, under the guise of fairness and uprightness, the administration slung out 6,000 government officials from their posts because of corrupt charges.

Another highly-publicized case that time was that of the Chinese national Lim Seng, who was shot to death by firing squad because of illegal drugs.
He is the real McCoy.

Imelda on the other hand, wanted to show to the world “what is beauty, good, right and true”. These ideals can best be described with her “edifice complex” which indiscriminately erected bunch of infrastructures all around Manila.

While many say that 1972-76 was Marcos’s best years of economic growth, the rest of the period was tied in with low export earnings because of the oil price increase.

According to Prof. Winnie Monsod, the government borrowed $10 billion from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund just to pay for loans. And just to remember the good old days, one peso during this time was equal to $0.15.

As mentioned, thousands of Marcos’s enemies were quickly captured and imprisoned. Senator Jose Diokno, together with Sen. Ninoy Aquino, was accused of conspiring with the communists. Ninoy Aquino was accused of subversion, murder, and illegal possession of firearms. They did not try to escape, thus disapproving the accusation that they had conspired with the communists to overthrow the republic.

Both Aquino and Diokno were placed in a high detention cell and were held incommunicado for 43 days. In an interview, former President Cory Aquino said that it was the first time he saw Ninoy cry and breakdown.

During the martial law, there was a centralization in the armed forces and the Philippine Constabulary (often called as “PC”; now “PNP”). The mayor’s jurisdiction over the police was eliminated and which then led to a system that lacked checks and balance. General Fidel V. Ramos (now former president) was the head of the PC.

Accused civilians were tried in military courts.The military judges (who aren’t even law practitioners) are apparently one-sided. Thousands of people suffered under the regime: many were imprisoned, tortured, killed, or just magically disappeared.

The previously non-political armed forces became highly politicized, with high-ranking positions being given to Marcos loyalists (mostly his Ilocano kababayans). Marcos appointed his every-loyal cousin Gen. Fabian Ver to head three very important posts: 1) The Presidential Guard Battalion; 2) The Intelligence Service of the AFP; and 3) National Intelligence and Security Authority.

On the other hand, the martial law administrator was Juan Ponce Enrile. He spearheaded the cabinet meetings on his office in Camp Aguinaldo. He was also one of the Marcos’s “Rolex 12”, the twelve loyal group composed of 10 military officials and 2 civilians. Marcos’s wife Imelda was appointed as both the Minister of Human Affairs and the Governor of Metropolitan Manila.

The second decree of the proclamation was on land reform measures. It was half-heartedly implemented where only 4% of farmers finally owned the lands. And the funny thing about its implementation is that, the agricultural reforms were targeted only to those lands owned by his enemies. One of FM’s enemies was the Lopez clan; he closed down ABS-CBN and imprisoned Geny Lopez (with Serge Osmena) for five years.

The Marcoses plundered the Philippine economy through their system of “crony capitalism,” in which they controlled monopolies in industry, communications, and banking. They amassed a huge personal fortune, much of which they hid in foreign bank accounts and investments.

The Marcoses (and Romualdezes) took over the industries and companies all over the country: 48 companies were controlled by the Marcoses plus 11 owned by Imelda’s brother, Kokoy Romualdez. FM’s friend and member of the Rolex 12 Danding Cojuangco, was given the control over some coconut plantations and San Miguel (the country’s biggest corporation).

Marcos’s sense of invulnerability eventually prompted him to lift some of the oppressive rules that stifled political dissent and press freedom. In 1980 Marcos permitted Aquino to go into exile in the United States. He also permitted Radio Veritas, a Catholic-run radio network, to make broadcasts critical of his regime. Also upon US’ instructions of “democratization”, Marcos allowed some small-scale anti-government press to reopen. Marcos called these the trivial “mosquito press” (such as “Malaya” and “Mr. and Ms.”). The Catholic hierarchy, led by Jaime Cardinal Sin, the archbishop of Manila, became vocal in its opposition to Marcos.

On January 17 1981, Pres. Marcos officially lifted martial law, but he still retained sweeping “emergency” powers, in order to validate his power through a sham presidential election. Two years after, on August 23, 1983, Ninoy Aquino, minutes after arriving in the Philippines was shot at the back of his head on the tarmac of the Manila International Airport. Public indignation heightened because of the blatant lies and dirty tactics of the government. Two years after, Aquino decided to return to the Philippines, even though he anticipated being rearrested. Aquino was shot at the head and killed minutes after his arrival at Manila International Airport (now Ninoy Aquino International Airport).

Aquino’s death proved to be the galvanizing force in Marcos’s downfall. Many people reacted to the various maneuvers by the administration the continued. Public demonstrations were like fad those days. My father was one of the first six people who first instigated a strike against the MSU-IIT administration for the increase of tuition fees. Thousands of students then followed, and boycotted their classes which then finally pressured the administrators to avert a fifty-peso tuition increase.

Aquino’s widow, Cory Aquino, put the ailing Marcos on the defensive by depicting him as a brutal dictator. In a gamble to regain some political legitimacy and secure continued U.S. support for his regime, Marcos announced that a “snap,” or unscheduled, presidential election would be held in February 1986, a year before his term was to expire.

Marcos fully expected to win the election (duh). But Cardinal Sin arranged an opposition alliance, convincing Corazon Aquino to run for president and Salvador Laurel to run for vice president. With Cory running for the presidency it trounced the Marcos administration and emboldened the demonstrators all over the country.

Pres. Marcos was declared winner by the legislature and Commission on Elections against Cory Aquino because of his election riggings. Seeing enough of the Marcos’s dirty tactics, a mutiny was staged on February 22, 1986 by Juan Ponce Enrile, and Minister of National Defense Fidel V. Ramos. Enrile, after 14 years of silence, finally broke his silence and confessed that the “assassination” attempt that happened in 1972 was a faux set-up.

Millions of bold Filipinos gathered at the EDSA Avenue in Manila to denounce the dirty tricks of the ruthless dictator (which now we refer to as the “EDSA People Power”).

Finally, on the fourth day of the EDSA People Power, the Marcoses left the Philippines and flew to Hawai’i installing Cory Aquino to be the eleventh president of the Philippines ending the 14-year dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.

For "Martial Law in Retrospect", please click here for my second article.
President Ferdinand Marcos had the intellect, the leadership skills, and the opportunity to be the greatest president of the Philippines in the 20th century. In fact, on his first two years as president, he was able to build 17,000 classrooms (compared to Pres. Diosdado Macapagal’s 500). The Maharlika highway was created at his time; same as the mighty San Juanico Bridge. He definitely made some feats unparalleled by any other presidents before him.

The authoritarian Marcos proclaimed Martial Law on the whole islands.
But sad to say, his regime left an impact that was ruinous for the economy, the society, and the political institutions of his country. The lost opportunity of economic growth and social prosperity stunted an entire generation and left the Philippines far less competitive than many of its neighbors in Southeast Asia, where spectacular economic growth became the trend.

Thirty-eight years after its imposition and 23 years after our liberation from the dictatorship, our country is still haunted by the Marcos’ specter. Because of these ills that we’ve experienced when the Pandora’s box was opened, it was I think the reason why many of us fail to appreciate and in turn, despise any “authoritarian tendencies” of our leaders these days. Many of us fail to understand the strong leadership styles of Bayani Fernando, Senator Dick Gordon, Alfredo Lim, or Mayor Rudy Duterte. The masses (and the media) immediately equate authoritarian rule with Marcos, Hitler, brutality, and other dark hues to the authoritarian concept.
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But setting side these factors aside, according to Professor Winnie Monsod, Martial Law Legacy left us with three significant learning. First is the martial law’s legacy of “world-class” corruption. His authoritarian regime is remembered for its rampant corruption at the highest levels of government and its suppression of political dissent and the democratic process.

On the list compiled by Transparency International in 2004, Ferdinand Marcos ranked second only to Indonesia’s Mohamad Suharto in the “World Ten Most Corrupt Leaders”. Marcos was one-rank shy because Suharto reigned for 31 years while his was 14 years. The Indonesian president amassed $15-35 billion while ours accumulated a wealth of $5-10 billion.

And oh well, just for an additional information, do you still remember former President Erap Estrada? He ranked tenth with wealth amounting to $78-80 million. Basing on the list made by Transparency International, it makes us the only country with two leaders on the list of most corrupt leaders. Come to think of it, Estrada nearly won the presidential seat finishing second in the 2010 Presidential race. Ambot na lang.

Next is the “politicization of the military”. There were lots of appointed military officers to civil posts. Even with military officials still on active duty, these people authorized encroachment to the Filipino civil life.

According to the feature of the Asian Political News (August 26, 2003) on the “Number of Retired Military Appointment per Administration”; we can infer these pieces of information:
  • Corazon C. Aquino – Appointed 22 officials
  • Fidel V. Ramos – Appointed more than 100 officials
  • Joseph E. Estrada – Appointed 18 officials
  • Gloria M. Arroyo – Appointed 80 to 100 officials
And lastly, the human rights violations that has not still achieved closure up to now. Here’s the information gathered by Alfred McCoy’s book, “Dark Legacy: Human Rights under the Marcos Regime”:
  • Incarcerated: 70,000 people
  • Extrajudicial Killings: 3,257 people
  • Tortured: 35,000 people
  • Disappeared (between 1975 and 1985) – 737 people
An American court tried Marcos in Hawaii, and after the verdict, he was to pay the victims 10,000 individually. Even with $1.9 billion exemplary damages and $624 million Swiss Bank account, no bill has been created yet from the legislative for the compensation of the victims.

Victims should be addressed properly and I believe the Marcoses still have to pay for the injury they have done on their heydays. On the other hand, after 38 years, we have to move on and lessons must be distilled and drawn from this dark period so that if it reemerges the entire Filipino nation would know how best to respond to it.

The 1987 Constitution of the Philippines, for the obvious fear of the martial law from happening again, added enough safeguards and adamant oppositions for its proclamation. This is clearly stated in Sec. 8; Article VII of the Constitution:

The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.

The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without need of a call.

The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing.

A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilians where civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

The suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in, or directly connected with, invasion.

During the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days, otherwise he shall be released.

The lessons of martial law in the Philippines are clear. Martial law has a minute hope of happening again. That's for sure.

For the Legacy and Effects of Martial Law, please click here.