Never forget the horrors of Marcos’ martial law – and its beneficiaries | Inquirer Opinion

Never forget the horrors of Marcos’ martial law – and its beneficiaries

/ 05:01 AM November 11, 2021

The disqualification of the candidacy of Ferdinand Marcos Jr. matters. It is not just a fight between him and the other candidates. It is about the Filipino people who long for justice and indemnification. It is about bringing to the fore the notion that the Filipino people deserve respect and justice. We have been robbed, and we would not want to be robbed again. How can we forget?

In 2016, Imee Marcos pleaded for forgiveness for the “sins” of her father, the dictator who was toppled by the Edsa People Power Revolution in 1986. She mentioned that her father was a human being who made mistakes. Mistakes?

Forty-nine years ago, martial law was declared by the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. What followed was a tumultuous and dark episode for the Filipino people. It would be a betrayal of the people and this country’s history if this national experience were not imprinted in the nation’s memory, as the Marcos family and their supporters so dearly wish.


Many of our youth in the prime of their lives chose to resist and defy the dictatorship. They were not only snatched away from their families and loved ones; we lost hundreds of them, along with their brilliance, idealism, and dedication to serve the people.


The stories of the survivors of martial rule who continue to push for social transformation even after Marcos fell are a powerful inspiration and a challenge to us all — especially to those who have become cynical of the struggle for meaningful change. In their stories, unimaginable things are real, and shocking tales are facts. Their stories tell of thousands of people unjustly incarcerated, deprived of food, beaten, electrocuted, raped, and tortured. Some were made to eat human excrement or forced to lie naked on a block of ice. Quite a number were summarily executed. Warped militaristic minds invented methods to break the spirit of those who resisted Marcos’ terror.

Martial law is not just a piece of history to be told, but one that should “never again” be repeated.

Never ever forget: Many were killed by the agents of Ferdinand Marcos. Many children were orphaned. Mothers and fathers lost their sons and daughters. Even today, relatives and kin still seek the bodies of their loved ones who disappeared under martial rule. These stories must be told again and again, not because victims opt to continue the struggle, or enjoy the retelling of the story for the sake of storytelling. Their stories need to be told so that we would not forget, so that we would be constantly reminded of our historical accountability. The horrors of martial rule must not be repeated.

Remembering that the fascist attacks against the people (including violence against women, the torture of the imprisoned, and the salvaging of activists and ordinary citizens) were coupled with the massive plunder of the nation’s coffers is essential in keeping aflame our vision for genuine freedom and democracy.

We must not vote for those who supported martial law, and those who benefited from it or became wealthy because of the dictatorship. And, especially, those who now refuse to recognize the evils of martial rule. We must oppose opportunists who use their ill-gotten wealth from the Marcos dictatorship to try to buy their so-called present legitimacy. Never again!

Never forget those who sacrificed their lives to restore democracy. Let the coming elections be a moment for decisive action that builds on our legacy as a people committed to freedom, justice, and democracy.


Our vote matters much. As we engage in our sacred act of voting in May 2022, remember those who sacrificed their lives to serve the people and to pursue justice.

Kapatirang Simbahan Para Sa Bayan (Kasimbayan)
[email protected]

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TAGS: Ferdinand Marcos, Letters to the Editor, Marcos martial law, Norma P. Dollaga

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