Mythbusting a mythomaniac
In the recent televised one-on-one between Ferdinand Marcos Jr., son and namesake of the late deposed dictator, and former senator Juan Ponce Enrile (so-called architect of Marcos’ martial law), the latter revised history (and his own 1986 confession) by saying there was no one jailed or killed during the Marcos dictatorship. Name me one, he challenged.
Enrile is a mythomaniac, a person with an excessive or abnormal propensity for lying and exaggerating. He revised history in his autobiography.
The 90-ish Enrile conveniently forgets he was among those who signed Republic Act No. 10368, which indemnified thousands of victims of human rights violations with the funds sourced from a Marcos bank account deposit that the Swiss government returned, on condition that it (P10 billion) be used to indemnify victims. It goes without saying that there is more out there to be recovered.
That TV tête-à-tête (please pronounce correctly) has sparked outrage among those who suffered during the dark years of Marcos rule and triggered harrowing stories to come to light again.
Former senator Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel, among those thrown in jail several times, promptly protested Enrile’s lies. Even Malacañang, whose present occupant is an avid supporter of Marcos Jr., said Enrile cannot revise history.
At the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board that presided over the implementation of RA 10368 (whose signatories included Enrile), there was a room with tens of thousands of long Manila envelopes that contained firsthand accounts about the cruelty inflicted on persons during the Marcos dictatorship.
So, name you one, Mr. Enrile? Here’s one (though I could quickly give dozens more from my circle of friends) from mythbuster and writer-friend Maria Cristina Versola Rodriguez. (Here she left out the harrowing details of what her captors did to her.):
“Dear Mr. Enrile, You have to be more careful with your lies. I was a political prisoner in 1983, arrested by virtue of a presidential commitment order signed by President Marcos. My prison cell was in Camp Dangwa in Benguet, an office room converted into a prison cell (whose most memorable feature was that it had no toilet facilities).
“A few weeks after my arrest, a military helicopter came for me and airlifted me to Camp Aguinaldo where, to my surprise, I was brought before you in your office. I had no idea why. Maybe your intelligence people had tagged me as someone important in the Left (wrong), and was worth personally interrogating (wrong again).
“You are likely to have forgotten that half-hour of our meeting. It’s been 35 years, we have both grown older, and you had a busy life as Marcos’ secretary of national defense implementing his martial law, likely overseeing the arrest of more dissenters like me, and then saving your skin and your name later.
“But I haven’t forgotten. You had a pale, brown room. You sat on a huge padded chair and rocked it as we spoke. Behind you was a shelf full of books. Above you was a huge painting of your wife Cristina. I sat on an office chair in front of your table. I was wearing slippers. I sat there hearing you claim that you read all of Marx’s books, and knew more about communism than most communists. It’s useless to fight Marcos, you said, and young people are wasting their lives doing it.
“Cristina’s painting looked down on us. Here were two Cristinas, I thought, one the wife and the other his prisoner. Gen. Fidel Ramos dropped by, took the other seat in front of me, and addressed me in Ilokano. He said the same thing: You are wasting your lives; cooperate with the government instead.
“What exactly am I doing with these two monsters of martial law, I thought. My crime, when finally I was slapped charges, was subversion, specifically membership in the communist party. Prison life was slow and killing. But we, political prisoners, always fought back.
“Fast forward a few months in 1983. It was a day in December. Marcos, looking and talking like a dying man, had a few of us brought to him personally and given orders for our release. Of course it was the year Ninoy Aquino was killed and some brownie points were called for.
“Name one, you said last week. I name myself one then. We won’t go away, Mr. Enrile. We won’t be erased.”
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