Martial law and mission creep

'Mission creep is usually considered undesirable due to the dangerous path of each success breeding more ambitious attempts, only stopping when a final, often catastrophic, failure occurs'

DR MARGARITA HOLMESDear Senators Marcos and Enrile:

Please help me? I cannot decide whether what you said about martial law is part of mission creep or merely predictable self-serving claptrap.

Wikipedia defines mission creep as “the expansion of a project or mission beyond its original goals, often after initial successes.” Mission creep is usually considered undesirable due to the dangerous path of each success breeding more ambitious attempts, only stopping when a final, often catastrophic, failure occurs.

The term was originally applied exclusively to military operations, but has recently been applied to many different fields. An example of a non-military mission creep is rehabilitating your father’s or your own reputations to such an extent so that former President Marcos and Sen Juan Ponce Enrile actually end up the good guys where Martial Law is concerned. 

And what might the “final, often catastrophic failure” mean at this point?

Sen Marcos, the symbolic one would be your father’s being buried at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani. Alas for us, Sen Enrile, your having been voted senator and misrepresented as the hero of the Corona trial have already happened.

The actual tragedy, however, is yet to come and only should your mission creep be completely successful: convincing younger Filipinos that the so-called brutality during Martial Law was a gross exaggeration, perhaps even concocted by their elders to appear more heroic.  

For Marcos

I think I understand why you posted what you did on your Facebook page on Sept 21, 2012. Among other things, I considered it an appeal to not taint you with the same brush as we did/do your father.

You are right in the sense that you were only 15 years old at the time Martial law was proclaimed. However, at the time your family and hangers on fled to Hawaii, you were already 29, certainly old enough (by at least 11 years) to take responsibility for your own actions.

You have a wonderful way of expressing yourself, Sen Marcos, which together with your use of irony, actually makes your post an engaging read.

However, 3 parts of your posting were particularly distasteful.

The first was your saying, “Martial law…was neither ‘a bed of roses nor a bed of nails.'” Talk about understatement; the most glaring being that it was not the same people that smelled the roses and suffered through the nails.

For your father, mother, siblings and your family’s cronies, life was a bed of roses. For the rest of the country, life was a bed of nails, not to mention unremitting rape, electric wires attached to one’s genitals and worse. Take the late Monico Atienza, an exceptional UP professor and nationalist, who was never the same after the torture he suffered from Sen Enrile’s soldiers. 

The second was the part about moving on. The thing is, Sen Marcos, it is difficult to move on when we can see you, Congresswoman Imelda Marcos, Governor Imee Marcos, and Senator Enrile still enjoying the same privileges (and possibly abuses) that you all did, while others have memories of their children, parents, and comrades still battered, bruised, if not buried six feet under, for no other reason than that they fought against Martial Law.

The astute actress Angelina Kanapi said it best: “Move on? What am I, a vehicle?” We have hearts and mind, and memories, Sen Marcos, and while it might even be our preference to be able to “move on” in the way you want us to, never ever will we be able to — unless you and the others who colluded with your dad, admit what really happened. Returning the money your family squirreled away during that time might also make it easier for us.           

The third is your characterization of claims of human rights abuses during martial law as “self-serving statements by politicians, self-aggrandizement narratives, pompous declarations, and political posturing and propaganda.”

I agree 100% with former party-list Congressman Satur Ocampo that in doing so, you are “insulting the victims.” In your own small way, you are joining the ranks of David Irving and others, denying the great crimes of the 20th Century like the Holocaust.

For Enrile

Sen Enrile: you, on the other hand, are an entirely different kettle of fish.

The Manila Times reports: Recalling the declaration of martial law 40 years ago, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said on Friday that it was a time the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos brought positive physical developments for the Philippines.

Enrile cited electrification and massive infrastructure programs that saw the development of major road networks, the north and south expressways, bridges, airports, and harbor facilities as among the positive undertakings of the Marcos administration.

It beggars belief that one so intelligent (as your memoir points out again, and again…and again) should even try such a rationalization.

Adlai Stevenson gave you the perfect answer to your hollow rationalization: “In the tragic days of Mussolini, the trains in Italy ran on time as never before and I am told in their way, their horrible way, that the Nazi concentration-camp system in Germany was a model of horrible efficiency. The really basic thing in government is policy. Bad administration, to be sure, can destroy good policy, but good administration can never save bad policy.”

Or, put more eloquently and much closer to home and thus the bone, here is “consti192” commenting after reading “The ghosts of martial law” by author, professor, and nationalist Nathan Gilbert Quimpo

Amazing how people consider Marcos a great president because ‘the country was better off. That’s the kind of ignorance that stemmed from:

1. Ignoring that we were only better off in relation to the third Republic and the laws that made us overly dependent on US assistance.

2. Without realizing that the number of infrastructure built was mainly from borrowed money, which eventually hit us back when the US demanded the money back, only to realize we can’t pay them because Marcos and his cronies stole them.

3. ‘Progress’ is good, even if it means the sacrifice of thousands of people’s lives and the suppression of every Filipino’s dignity and right to freedom……if you want to believe the propaganda, the statements of loyalists like Bongbong, then go ahead, live in your fantasy world that spits and insults those that have fought and died for the sake of the very right that we can use our computers to express our opinion.” 

Fiction writing

Phil Cruz, who commented in a article, says:  “So there he goes again trying to rewrite history just as the Marcoses are trying to do. This is Enrile’s last train.”

“But how can people not be skeptical about his truth? He has been known to twist and turn with every whiff of the political wind. A man so desperate to leave a proper legacy in the country’s history books…but is obviously afraid to leave it to historians to write about.

“But the Enrile history is not yet finished. He still has several more years as a senator. But already his recent verbal joust with Senator Trillanes on the CamSur and China issues has left him scarred again. Maybe after he is finally through with his Senate duties, there will be a Book 2 of his memoirs to update and again ‘correct’ history from his perspective.” 

And why not? Especially since Filipino readers often complain we don’t publish enough fiction. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.