HOW TO CRUSH A TWISTED MIND

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I saw this FB post on a friend’s wall the other day. I didn’t know if he wrote this himself or if he just copy-pasted this from his ka-DDS. What I knew for certain was that I couldn’t let this go unanswered. However, what was supposed to be a short comment to rebut his statement became a lengthy article –an article that’s only fit for a blog. Read on! 🙂

My Answers:

True, we apparently see different sides of the picture.

YOU CALL YOURSELVES SILENT MAJORITY, I ONLY SEE A LOUD MINORITY.

You see a loud minority, I see a group of courageous Filipinos who are willing to stand up, to go out into the streets, and to make their voices heard in the face of all these blatant attempts to twist, distort and revise our history. I see a group of fearless Filipinos who are trying to fight for truth and justice despite the fear of being bullied, harassed, threatened, humiliated, bashed, mobbed, badgered or stigmatized by online trolls, rabid Duterte apologists and Marcos loyalists. I see a group of dauntless Filipinos who will go to battle with everything that they’ve got to ensure that they will never again go through the same hell that they experienced under Marcos’ tyrannical rule.

YOU HATE MARTIAL LAW, WELL I LIKE THE MARCOS ERA.

You like the Marcos era, well I detest and loathe it. Marcos was a despot, a tyrant, a dictator. He plundered our coffers to the tune of $10 billion. Under his close watch and on his specific instructions (research about the Gen. Orders he issued), 70,000 were jailed, 35,000 were tortured, 3,257 were killed, and 769 were gone without a trace. He was an autocrat who abolished the Congress, destroyed our institutions, persecuted his critics, trampled over our most basic political and civil rights, clamped down on all media entities, and sequestered countless private companies to enrich his family and his cronies. He was an unrepentant liar who fabricated stories about his medals and his role during the WWII, the source of his massive wealth, his reason for declaring ML, the real socio-economic condition of the country, and his excesses and abuses during his reign of terror. He was an economic saboteur who left us with a jaw-dropping external debt of $28.3 billion (debt that we are all paying until year 2025) and the humiliating title, “The Sick Man of Asia.” He was a power-hungry oppressor who made a new Constitution to legitimize and accommodate his desire to take control over the country, beyond the constitutionally-mandated maximum of two 4-year terms in office.

YOU SEE VICTIMS, I SEE PEACE AND ORDER.

You see peace and order, I read and research and listen about the horrors and atrocities of ML. I know the agonizing stories of Primitivo Mijares, the author of The Conjugal Dictatorship of Ferdinand  and Imelda Marcos, (and his son, Boyet, who was tortured and killed in front of his father), of Archimedes Trajano who was severely tortured, mutilated and dumped on a roadside after he questioned Aimee Marcos about the latter’s appointment as the National Chairman of the Kabataang Barangay, of Hilda Narciso who was repeatedly raped by military men while in detention, of Liliosa Hilao who was raped and tortured in front of her 16-year-old sister (Her dead body bore cigarette burns on her lips, injection marks on her arms, bruises and gun barrel marks. Her internal organs were removed and her vagina was sawed off to cover signs of torture and sexual abuse). There are countless more (some remain faceless and nameless up to this day) who suffered water cure, electric shocks to genitals, Russian roulette, strangulation, cigar and flat iron burns, and other brutal torture methods at the hands of Marcos’ torture units.

YOU HAIL NINOY AS A HERO –A MARTYR, WELL HE IS A COMMUNIST SUPPORTER.

You see Ninoy as a communist supporter, yes I see him as a martyr whose assassination ignited the fire of Filipinos’ fury and upheaval against the Marcos’ regime. Any well-read and judicious Filipino knows that the murder, subversion and weapons possession charges hurled at him right after the declaration of ML were all fabricated. Now, if successfully negotiating with Hukbalahap’s Luis Taruc for the latter’s unconditional surrender is being a communist supporter; if consistently and brazenly criticizing Marcos for the latter’s tyrannical rule, corruption and other excesses is being a communist supporter; if exposing the summary execution of the 26 Muslim young men in what was to be known as the Jabidah Massacre is being a communist supporter; if deciding to come home against the advice of the people around him, because he believed that the Filipino is worth dying for, is being a communist supporter; if one’s death triggered a long-awaited transformation in many Filipinos –that they finally found the collective courage to rise against a dictatorship after years of shameful and fearful stupor—is being a communist supporter…. then, yes, I guess Ninoy was indeed a communist supporter.

YOU FLAUNT YOURSELVES IN THE STREETS BECAUSE OF THESE MARTIAL LAW VICTIMS, WELL WHY DON’T YOU DO THE SAME AND BLAME CORY AQUINO FOR THE MENDIOLA MASSACRE?

Yes, we flaunt ourselves in the streets because of these Martial Law victims, and we will continue to do so until the Marcoses’ attempts and efforts to crown the late dictator as a hero are completely thwarted. We also attacked the Cory administration for the Mendiola and the Hacienda Luisita massacres; the Ramos administration for its widespread militarization and its pro-imperialist, pro-bureaucratic and anti-people’s policies and programs; the Estrada administration for its shameless corruption and booty capitalism; the Arroyo administration for the Ampatuan Massacre and the plunder and graft and corruption cases filed against her; The PNoy administration for the Kidapawan Massacre and the Mamasapano Encounter; and now, the Duterte administration for the unabated extrajudicial killings, his inaction over the issue of China’s bullying and island-grabbing, his family’s alleged involvement in the Davao Death Squad and in the smuggling of illegal drugs in the country, his idolatry of the late dictator and his propensity to be a dictator himself, his support to the release of big-time plunderers and to the absolution of his erring allies, his refusal to divulge his bank and medical records, his potty mouth, controversial statements and humiliating behavior that have a damaging effect on our relationships with other nations and with each other, his political appointments based on patronage instead of merit, his promotion of a culture of violence and impunity, and his obstinate efforts to silence and thwart dissent. As Philippine-loving citizens, we will continue to be vigilant and clamorous and fierce watchdogs of this country —regardless of who is at its helm. I hope you do your share, too.

YOU BLAME BONGBONG FOR WHAT MARCOS DID, WHY NOT BLAME BIMBY FOR THE BUNGLES OF HIS GRANDMA AND UNCLE?

We blame Bongbong for many of the crimes committed during Martial Law, but we also hold him accountable for the sins he committed henceforth. He continues to whitewash the Marcos dictatorship’s crony capitalism, of which he had been a part. In 1985, when he was 26 years old, his father appointed him chairman of the board of the Philippine Communications Satellite Corporation (Philcomsat). In 1986, after they were ousted, government auditors discovered that Philcomsat was one of the many corporations and organizations used to siphon ill-gotten wealth out of the country. To this day, he continues to shamelessly live off the fruits of the legendary Marcos plunder while arrogantly peddling the lie that his father’s unbelievable wealth is legitimate. He continues to commit a grave injustice to the Martial Law victims when he said, “Pera-pera lang ang habol ng mga ‘yan”, referring to the 9,539 human rights victims in the Hawaii class suit who won the case against the Marcos estate. He continues to play dumb and innocent, while we all know that he is hardly that.

YOU SEE EJK TODAY? WELL, ALL I SEE IS IT IS HIGH TIME SOMEBODY DID SOMETHING.

Yes, we see the state-sanctioned extrajudicial killings today. How can’t we? In just a span of more than a year, the death toll has already risen to 13,000! It is high time that somebody did something, you said? You are absolutely right. Our growing problem with illegal drugs is a menace that is adversely affecting every fiber of our society, and we all have to act now.  The drug lords, drug pushers, drug coddlers and narco-traffickers must be meted out with the most stringent penalty under the law, as they destroy the lives and future of their victims especially the youth and the most vulnerable. The drug users, on the other hand, should be considered as victims or, at the very least, as seriously ill members of society who need immediate treatment. Unless they commit crimes punishable by law, they should not be jailed. Nor killed. They should be rehabilitated.

DON’T EVER IMPOSE YOUR TWISTED MIND ON US.

The last time I checked, we are still living in a democratic country. And under the democracy we enjoy (which the Martial Law victims paid dearly for), we have the right to express ourselves freely. We have the right to speak — or in our present digital age, to voice our opinions, beliefs and convictions using our preferred online social medium. We also have the right to organize. We are not imposing our views on anyone because we know that we can only do so much, especially in as far as educating the open-minded is concerned. You might also want to write an article about your blind support of Duterte and Marcos and, I assure you, I won’t allege you of imposing YOUR twisted mind on us.

EDSA at 31

As we celebrate today the 31st anniversary of the EDSA People Power Revolution, let me address these few questions to our beloved  millennials:

  • What would you feel if you can’t watch your favorite TV shows because all the media networks are closed down except for a few that are government-controlled?
  • What would you feel if all your activities on all your social media accounts are being closely monitored and censored by the government, or worse, if you’re not allowed to have any account at all?
  • What would you feel if you can’t stay out beyond 12 midnight because of an imposed curfew?
  • What would you feel if you are put behind bars if you so much as say, write or post something about your candid, but negative, observation about how things are run in the government?
  • What would you feel if you can’t openly meet with your classmates to discuss a school project for fear that your meeting could be charged as an illegal assembly?
  • What would you feel if your friend, after joining a rally, is found tortured beyond recognition?
  • What would you feel if your girlfriend, sister or mother is abducted and raped by a high-ranking official or his son or even his driver, and that perpetrator is walking around scot-free?
  • What if your father is sbrutally killed because he refused to sell his land to any one of the president’s relatives or friends?

I was just thirteen years old when the EDSA People Power Revolution took place in 1986. I, along with my parents, were monitoring the events unfolding in EDSA from our little home in Bataan through our transistor radio.

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image grabbed from the internet

I sat in rapt attention as June Keithley Castro reported over Radio Veritas and later on, Radyo Bandido, a  blow-by-blow account of the revolution — the official announcement of then Defense Sec. Juan Ponce Enrile and Armed Forces Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel V. Ramos of their withdrawal of support of the Marcos regime; the crucial role that then Army Col. Gregorio Honasan and his allies at the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) played by way of rebellion; Butz Aquino’s decision to bring the August Twenty-One Movement (ATOM) leaders, members and supporters to Camps Aguinaldo and Crame to support the rebel soldiers; and, of course, the late Jaime Cardinal Sin’s historic call to the Filipino people to leave their homes and proceed to EDSA to support Enrile, Ramos and their troops in their fight against the dictator.

I sat in awe as hundreds of thousands of people came pouring in from both near and far to heed the call of the Cardinal until the part of EDSA from Ortigas Avenue to Cubao was filled with a multitude that reached an estimate of three million.

I sat in horror when I heard that Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Fabian Ver sent armored tanks, carriers and heavily-armed soldiers to disperse the burgeoning throng in EDSA.

I sat in tears when, after Brig. Gen. Artemio Tadiar warned the crowd that he would open fire if they don’t disperse, people responded by singing “Bayan Ko,” praying the rosary, and offering the soldiers flowers and food.

I sat in immense relief when not a single shot was fired. The EDSA People Power Revolution — our revolution – was later hailed as the first non-violent, bloodless revolution that the world had ever witnessed.

I sat in excitement as the late Corazon Aquino and Salvador Laurel, in an inauguration at the Club Filipino, were sworn into office by Senior Justice Claudio Teehankee as the duly-elected President and Vice-President, respectively.

I sat in jubilation when the news broke out that, after the crowds stayed to serve as human barricades both in EDSA and Malacanang for four days, the Marcos family and their closest allies finally left the Palace and fled the country. The entire world rejoiced with us. Bob Simon, a CBS anchorman, even said, “We, Americans, like to think that we taught the Filipinos democracy. Well, tonight, they are teaching the world.

I sat in solemn silence when it was all over. Still overwhelmed with a myriad of emotions, I thanked the Almighty for His guidance and protection in allowing the voice of the people to prevail without bloodshed, in ousting the dictator that put us in hell for more than a decade, and in providing hope and a ray of sunshine for a nation that has been shrouded in darkness and misery for far too long.

During that entire time, I was just sitting within the relative safety of our home.

Listening.

Observing.

Learning.

But at that tender age of 13, I already knew what drove those hordes of people to EDSA.

The nightmarish tales of disappearances, tortures, killings, warrantless arrests, detentions and other horrendous acts of human rights violations and abuses against political leaders, student activists, journalists, church personalities, and virtually anybody who would dare challenge the people in power during Martial Law were my father’s favorite topic back then. (My father used to be an activist in Manila before my mother, afraid for his safety, whisked him off to the province.) He told me everything he knew about how the Marcoses and their cronies would blatantly and wantonly plunder the public coffers and ransack and sequester huge local companies until they had almost drained the country and its people of all their resources. He also introduced me to the tyrant’s insatiable greed for power when Marcos pressured the Constitutional Convention to replace the 1935 charter, which would have disqualified him from seeking another four-year presidential term. Marcos also made sure to maintain his tight grip on power when, during the snap elections a few days prior to the EDSA revolution, widespread practices of fraud, vote-buying, intimidation, violence and tampering of election returns were reported.

We, Filipinos, could be long-suffering and forgiving, oftentimes, to a fault. But there would always be that proverbial straw that would break the camel’s back.

In our case, it was the treacherous and ruthless assassination of Ninoy Aquino on August 21, 1983. That event, which triggered a series of civil disobedience campaigns that eventually culminated in the 1986 revolution, proved that a dead Ninoy could be a more formidable opponent to the Marcoses than the fearless, fast-talking, hard-hitting political leader that the former was when he was alive. Ninoy’s death inspired and empowered the masses to go out to the streets and shout, “Sobra na! Tama na! Palitan na!”  It resulted to public outrage that eventually put an end to Marcos’ 21-year oppressive rule. It changed our country’s history.

Today, exactly thirty years after that fateful day when democracy was finally restored, I have to ask myself. And again, you, my dear millennials.

Have we, as a nation, adequately learned our lessons from that dark part of our history?

Or are we like some people who try to bend history itself? To conveniently forget? To forgive the perpetrators without a single person held accountable for the atrocities of Martial Law? To reinstate the same people who had been principal players during the dictatorship?

If you want to hear it, in a nutshell, here goes.

According to the historian and writer Alfred McCoy, “the Marcos government appears, by any standard, exceptional for both the quantity and quality of its violence.”

  • 70,000 were incarcerated; 35,000 were tortured; 882 went missing; and 3,257 were murdered.
  • The country’s foreign debt of US$7 billion in 1965 when Marcos was first elected President ballooned to US$25 billion in 1986, the year he was ousted.
  • PCGG pegged at US$10 billion the total amount of the ill-gotten wealth amassed by the Marcos family during their 21-year reign. Of that amount, only US$4 billion had been confiscated and returned to the treasury. The remaining US$6 billion is yet to be recovered.

Despite all these glaring statistics, though, people, mostly those your age, are still singing a totally different tune. Many of our young voters are fooled into believing that the Martial Law era was the best part of our history, and that a Marcos scion should be catapulted back into power.

Ninoy and Cory Aquino, along with the thousands of Martial Law casualties, must have been rolling over in their graves right now.