" . . . For the sake of
our country, we have to hope that a safe passage is possible. I am confident that a
peaceful political solution still is possible. I base my confidence principally on four
factors: first, the capacity of opposition parties to unite; second, the electoral
militancy of the awakened Filipino; third, the moral leadership of the Church; fourth, the
reform movement in the military."
Corazon C. Aquino
(from a paper read on October 1, 1985)
S O U N D C L I P 1
Marcos, "There are no political prisoners . . ."
S O U N D C L I P 2
Marcos declares martial law
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philippines under martial law
By definition, Martial Law is the temporary
superimposition of military government over civil government. This military-run government
is put into place in the event of war or serious national emergencies.
During such times, the
military and its accompanying superiors take over the executive, legislative and judicial
functions normally delegated to the civil government by virtue of its constitution. As a
consequence, the writ habeas corpus, or the right of an individual in custody to be
brought to court to determine whether such incarceration is lawful, may be suspended
indefinitely. This suspension of individual rights denies the person due process of law.
Many reasons can be brought
forward to explain why a government can bring forth such a Draconian system on its
populace. The are cases when civil unrest, such as this case of civil war, threaten to
unravel a peaceful and productive soviety. In such cases, maybe the imposition of Martial
Law can be justified.
However, there are situations
in which such measures are taken in order to cater to selfish and corrupt desires to
remain in power.
September 21 1972, President
Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, President of the Republic of the Philippines signed Proclamation
No. 1081, placing the entire country under his firm grasp. On that fateful day, the course
of Philippine history would be changed forever, signaling the start of a new fight for
freedom, not against a foreign invader, but a mad dictator blinded by absolute power.
Under the guise of
insurrection and by staging of several bogus "ambushes" on members of the
cabinet, Marcos manipulated, ever tailored events to justify the imposition of Martial
Law. He cited rebel factions, seditious Communist elements and Muslim extremists as
reasons for his decision. In truth, many of the said elements were disgruntled citizens
who were fed up with the corruption of the Marcos government, decided to take matters into
their own hands.
Anyone who lived during that
period of Martial Law will tell you that those times were the darkest times in Philippine
history. The common citizens were at the mercy of a man who had every intention of holding
on to power as if it was life itself.
Those were dark times indeed.
As the write of habeas corpus was suspended, the military picked up and
incarcerated many innocent civilians on trumped up charges of sedition. More often than
not, these people were convicted without trial, and denied the due process of law. Curfew
was imposed leaving many stranded in their offices, unable to return to the refuge of
The right to assembly was
also withheld, prompting many student and labor organizations to disband amidst threats of
arrest. The government controlled media and all its related resources; the successive
right to freedom of speech was non-existent. The law as it was intended to be simply
ceased to be, all that existed was the whim of a dictator who sat with the entire nation
in his grasp.
It was during these hard
times that the patriotic spirit of the Filipinos rekindled, many brave souls faced the
darkness and denounced the abuses being performed on the Filipino people under the guise
of Martial Law.
However, the power of the
dictator and his cronies were too great, slowly the corruption and greed overwhelmed the
new heroes. Many of these patriots "mysteriously" disappeared only to reappear
as corpses. Many were incarcerated for many years, denied the right to defend themselves
in court. Those who were too influential such as the case of Ninoy Aquino, were simply
sent away, exiled to foreign lands and denied the chance to better their countrys
The Philippine Republic
simply ceased to exist in that one dark moment of history. The shadow of Martial Law will
always be remembered, as one of the truly tragic events that gripped this gallant nation.