Enrile’s claims about Martial Law ‘revolting, insanely disgusting’ – lawmakers

Mara Cepeda

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Enrile’s claims about Martial Law ‘revolting, insanely disgusting’ – lawmakers
Opposition lawmakers slam ex-defense minister Juan Ponce Enrile for deliberately attempting to distort the truth about Martial Law

MANILA, Philippines – Opposition lawmakers slammed Juan Ponce Enrile for bending the truth on Martial Law, of which he is the architect and implementer as ex-defense minister of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos. 

Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin said that Enrile’s one-on-one interview with the strongman’s only son and namesake Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr is part of the Marcoses’ “grand effort” to revise history.  

“It is revolting and insanely disgusting coming from a ‘Marcos traitor’ who was saved by Filipinos from Marcos’ wrath during the EDSA 1 revolution,” said Villarin on Friday, September 21, the 46th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law.  

On the eve of the Martial Law anniversary, Bongbong posted on his social media accounts the first part of the show, “JPE: A Witness to History.”

In the video, Enrile made a number of false claims about Martial Law, including supposedly “none” were imprisoned for their political beliefs or for opposing Marcos. (READ: LIST: False claims of Juan Ponce Enrile on Martial Law)

Marcos’ iron fist rule, however, was marred by killings, torture, disappearances, media oppression, and corruption. Amnesty International reported at least 3,240 people were killed from 1972 to 1981, while around 70,000 people were imprisoned, and 34,000 were tortured.

Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Emmi de Jesus said she and her husband were among the tens of thousands imprisoned during Martial Law. (READ: ‘Distortion of truth’: Diokno family slams Bongbong Marcos, Enrile)

“To say that no one was arrested for his or her political beliefs and for criticizing the late dictator Marcos is an outrageous lie. I myself was arrested in 1977 for merely putting Labor Day stickers on a jeepney. I was detained in a detention center in Bicutan and was subjected to extreme psychological torture. Even my husband was also arrested and tortured by the fascist military,” said  De Jesus.

Enrile is considered as the architect and implementer of Martial Law as Marcos’ defense minister. 

But after the 1986 snap elections, Enrile and then-Lieutenant General Fidel Ramos withdrew their support from Marcos. This was one of the key events that led to the EDSA People Power Revolution, the tumultuous episode which led to the ouster of Marcos. 

But years later, Enrile even justified giving a hero’s burial for Marcos in 2016.  (READ: Enrile’s tale: Hypocrisy and contradictions)

‘Deliberate’ historical revisionism

Marikina 2nd District Representative Miro Quimbo added that Enrile’s demeanor during his interview with Bongbong showed his deliberate attempt to distort the truth. (READ: Aquino on Enrile: Old age not an excuse to bend truth about Martial Law)

“I was tempted to dismiss Enrile’s statements as musings of a senile old man but it was clearly not. His eyes, his intonation, the cadence of his words showed it was a conscious, deliberate and methodical attempt to revise history. No fuckin way must we take this sitting down. No fuckin way,” said Quimbo.

He said legal venues both in the Philippines and abroad have already affirmed “brutality, ignominy, despotism and unabated corruption” committed during Martial Law. 

In 2013, Republic Act (RA) No. 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act created the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board, tasked ”to receive, evaluate, process, and investigate” reparation claims made by victims of human rights violations under Martial Law.

A total of 11,103 victims of human rights violations under Martial Law are now mandated to receive reparations for the abuses they endured. 

Ironically, Enrile was the Senate president when RA 10368 was signed into law. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.