The title of this piece got here to me borne on the wings of an omen. It’s in truth the title’s second look on this column, the sooner one for a commentary on the shutdown of ABS-CBN, in Could 2020. It had appeared earlier nonetheless truly, however elsewhere and in addition considered not by me however by the editors of an article I revealed in a international journal for journalists, in 1977, 5 years into Ferdinand Marcos’s martial legislation, 9 years going to its full run. That article earned me an “invitation for questioning” by uniformed interrogators, who tried to hold me on this passage:
About the one forms of information revealed in Manila as of late are optimistic information, which means, information that makes all people completely satisfied, and passive information, which means, information that makes no one sad.
They judged the passage tendentious, and, for essentially the most a part of our night, lectured me by myself job as a journalist. I held my peace, and, clearly, lived.
Since then I’ve stored myself alert to indicators of any emergency on concerning the order of martial legislation coming down. Name me paranoid, however I really feel clearer-minded and really calmer in that situation. In spite of everything, everybody was blindsided by Marcos along with his Martial Legislation. Even because the phrase performed on his lips for all to learn and listen to, nobody thought him severe.
As an example, amid all that saber rattling, Jose W. Diokno, the late senator and patriot, remarked, “Marcos can create a throne of bayonets, however can he sit on them?” He was, after all, picked up on the very first evening of Martial Legislation, held in jail for 2 years, for essentially the most half in isolation, disadvantaged even household go to, and put beneath home arrest for the subsequent twelve years – whereas Marcos, as I wrote, “sat on his prickly throne.”
Do I now know any higher? I can solely say, for myself, that it’s higher to be paranoid than sorry.
In 2016, 5 months into Rodrigo Duterte’s presidency, I revealed, in one other international publication, an opinion piece that, as an alternative of creating the opposite means round, as is the traditional order, grew out of a title, one I actually take duty for: “Descent into authoritarianism.” After testing issues mentioned and written about Duterte and looking out in the event that they squared along with his threatening utterances, I assumed I had cause to be correctly paranoid. Diokno’s personal son Chel, the human-rights lawyer, might not respect my sense of paranoia, however neither is he one so sanguine as his father. Reacting to Duterte’s warning that the writ of habeas corpus may be suspended, he himself instructed me, “The prepare might have left the station.”
That prepare might not have martial legislation written on it, however, piloted by a Marcos idolater, it has run mainly the identical route as Marcos’ prepare – autocracy, militarization, homicide, repression, plunder, cronyism, consorting with a international adversary. And, with one other Marcos taking up from Duterte from right here, to not point out one other Duterte first within the line of succession to him, it seems like a compounding organized in their very own darkish heaven.
Certainly, even earlier than the 2 heirs can assume workplace, I already really feel overwhelmed with grim indicators to course of. For my restricted flip and our instant goal right here, let me concentrate on one, only one, signal bearer. I single her out for her audacity, an audacity so excessive and so freely deployed it appears to me to hold the best imprimatur. That signal bearer is Trixie Angeles, the incoming press secretary, whose workplace we journalists must take care of to get to her president. She desires martial legislation debated. Does she imply martial legislation as an idea or martial legislation within the context of our personal expertise (1972-1981)?
In any case, there appears to me no level debating martial legislation in both sense. Within the first place, Angeles has no ethical proper to even counsel that even the slightest consideration be given a measure so excessive it requires the homicide of freedom, of democracy itself: Right here, in spite of everything, is the chief apologist and promoter of the boy whose personal father dominated as a dictator and who’s now president himself.
However what decisively precludes such a debate as Angeles is selling is that every one arguments for martial legislation have been, in our case, demolished by historic and judicial data that attest factually to the wholesale torture, homicide, and thievery beneath Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s regime. If something should be executed about martial legislation it’s to destroy all of the falsehoods the Marcoses and their cronies and trolls have been propagating about it so as to idiot us into believing that martial legislation did us an ideal good, to which finish, by the way in which, two claims to achievement – one in street constructing, the opposite in rice manufacturing – are insistently made though factually, resoundingly debunked.
Whereas it could be true that every one that street constructing has set a file, metric-wise anyway, two insidious components had been at play in it: first, having been in energy the longest – dictator for 14 of his 20 presidential years – Ferdinand Sr. had essentially the most time, and essentially the chance, to do all that constructing, certainly to do what he happy; second, extra constructing means extra kickback probably.
As for the a lot ballyhooed Masagana 99 program – which aimed toward that variety of cavans of rice harvested per hectare – you’d be a idiot to take the phrase of Marcos’ daughter Imee, the senator, for it. She claims that this system not solely met the nationwide want for the staple however even left some for export. Reality is, not solely was self-sufficiency, by no means thoughts exporting, not achieved, not even remotely, tons of of rural banks enlisted on this system went bankrupt, left with unpaid loans to farmers assured by the Martial Legislation regime.
And comes now Junior showing to fashion himself like his father – a frontrunner exactly fitted to an emergency, which is probably the cue Angeles has picked up. It definitely seems like it’s in perpetuation of the parable of Masagana 99 that he’s making himself agriculture secretary concurrently, promising on his half to carry down the worth of rice to P20 a kilo (the worth is now being raised to much less and fewer implausible ranges, which is an extended approach to go nonetheless).
On the lips of any Marcos, we merely can not take the concept of “emergency” in any benign sense with out placing ourselves within the gravest peril. As I level out each likelihood I get – and I do as a result of it’s one thing that bears repeating, to dying – Junior was raised on the false virtues of martial legislation and soaked up in a way of impunity. Why do you assume he lies as egregiously as he does? Why do you assume he gained’t meet the unprompted, un-kept reputable press? Why do you assume he persists in dismissing a court docket ruling convicting him of tax avoidance and refusing to pay the P203-billion he owes in property taxes? Certainly, why be so numbed within the face of a nationwide financial disaster that may very well be exactly appreciably alleviated if solely he paid up?
By means of mere residual affect, his mom, the residing half of the conjugal dictatorship that produced and raised him, has managed to remain out of jail, regardless of being convicted of graft herself, on seven counts. Now, together with her son president and a daughter within the Senate, and, to not overlook, a favourite nephew presiding within the different home of Congress, I dread to assume what homicide the household will get away with this second time round. – MR
This piece has been tailored from a chat the author gave on the 18th version, on June 24, 2022, of Media Nation, the annual discussion board on press freedom and associated points. And, with the Securities and Trade Fee’s affirmation, 4 days later, of its personal order closing Rappler – thus successfully denying it its constitutional freedom – over a mere ownership-rule subject, in truth one but unresolved and remediable if discovered needed by last judgment, the piece turns into much more ominously related.