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A sneak peek at ‘Marcos Martial Law: Never Again’ by Raissa Robles

07 March 2016

 By Menchu Aquino Sarmiento

The flurry of anti-Marcos activity at the start of the campaign period may seem a bit late in the game.  Pres. Corazon C. Aquino allowed the Marcoses to return from a scant five year political exile in 1991.  Since 1992 or barely a year after their comeback, the Marcos matriarch, the eldest daughter and the only son have held simultaneous elective posts. 

The saga of the Marcos Dynasty is an outrageous case study of impunity in our sad republic’s brief existence.  This year, Sen. Bongbong Marcos (aka BBM) is a serious contender for the Vice Presidency, or just a heartbeat away from the Presidency.  It is a nightmarish possibility for the tens of thousands who had been imprisoned or tortured during the Marcos Martial Law.  Back in 1999, when he was Ilocos Norte Governor, BBM sneered that “Some of these people who are claiming to be human rights victims have never been victims except (of) their own greed.”

With less than three months to go till the elections, the last week of February began with the launch of CARMMA: Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanan at the UP Bahay ng Alumni.  Many in the crowd were silver haired, and needed canes or a strong arm to lean on.  Still they were in fine voice chanting the familiar: “Marcos, Hitler, Diktador, Tuta!”  It was profoundly moving to see how those who had once locked arms and stood down fire hoses, truncheons and teargas, now struggled to go up the low stage.  Their decades-old dream of a truly democratic Philippines eludes them but they are not giving up.  Time may not be on their side but they fight on for restorative justice.

This added to the urgency of the Feb. 23, 2016 launch of the first sixty pages (foreword, introduction and chapter one) of the exhaustive history  “MARCOS MARTIAL LAW: NEVER AGAIN” by investigative journalist and political blogger Raissa Robles [https://raissarobles. com] and published by Filipinos for a Better Philippines.  The full book will be out before April.  Robles has been writing about the Marcoses and other potentates for decades.  Since she is a journalist first and foremost, she was waiting for a bona fide historian to get around to writing a history of the Marcos Martial Law, particularly its systemic use of torture, “salvaging” and forced disappearances.  Her title makes it clear that this is not a generic martial law but one which BBM’s father Ferdinand E. Marcos created and kept going for 14 years.

BBM claims that the sins of the father should not be vested on his children.  Human rights lawyer and former senator Rene Saguisag, who wrote the book’s foreword, drily notes:  Ang bunga ng mabolo ay mabolo.  In English, the fruit does not fall far from the tree.  Robles found records showing that the Marcos children who reached adulthood midway through the Marcos Martial Law, were co-signatories in bank accounts holding billions of dollars, and Euros.  The death of at least one promising young man: Archimedes Trajano, has been linked to Imee Marcos’ government security detail.

Robles reflects that “Marcos Junior probably won his Senate seat due to the rise of an ominous demographic: by 2010, more than half of Filipino voters had been born after 1986, the year the dictator was chased out of office in a peaceful popular “People Power” uprising.  From 1986 to 2015, no school book detailed the human rights abuses of his father’s brutal reign.”  She warns:  “Bong Bong Marcos may not be our past, but he could be our horror-filled future.”

(Get a free copy of MARCOS MARTIAL LAW: NEVER AGAIN by emailing filipinosforabetterphilippines@ gmail.com)

Menchu Aquino Sarmiento and author Raissa Robles with first copies of the book.

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