ON THE DECLARATION OF MARTIAL LAW
BY MARCOS FORTY YEARS AGO
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
19 September 2012
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
19 September 2012
Forty years ago, on September 21, 1972, then Philippine President
Ferdinand Marcos signed General Order 1081, proclaiming martial law over
the entire Philippines in order to prolong his rule. For fourteen years
the Marcos fascist dictatorship, with the full backing of US imperialism,
inflicted terrible hardships and suffering on the Filipino people. But the
Filipino people, with the support of freedom-loving peoples all over the
world, valiantly struggled against the dictatorship until it was
overthrown through a people’s uprising in 1986.
The International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) hails the
determination and heroism of the Filipino people in fighting and
eventually overthrowing the Marcos fascist dictatorship, and commends the
international solidarity of the peoples of other countries with the
Filipino people in their struggle for national independence and democracy.
Even before Marcos proclaimed martial law in 1972, revolutionary forces in
the Philippines had been waging the new democratic revolution through
people´s war against the US-directed Marcos regime. Revolutionary armed
struggle was integrated with agrarian reform and rural mass base building.
Organs of political power were established on the basis of the
worker-peasant alliance and the mass organizations of workers, peasants,
women, youth, children and cultural activists were formed.
Since the early 1960s, the legal movement of patriotic and progressive
forces had developed, followed by the revolutionary armed struggle which
started in 1969. The proclamation of martial rule in 1972 temporarily
stymied the legal democratic movement, but radically strengthened the
underground and the armed struggle as many of the legal forces went
underground and to the countryside to wage people’s war.
Fourteen years of brute fascist dictatorship failed to crush the
revolutionary forces. Instead, they grew deep roots among the masses
throughout the country, and gained strength by advancing the antifascist,
anti-imperialist and anti-feudal line. The Communist Party of the
Philippines, the New People’s Army, the National Democratic Front of the
Philippines and other revolutionary forces distinguished themselves in the
struggle against the US-Marcos dictatorship even as they paid a heavy
price for their victories with daily hard work, militant struggle and
The Bangsa Moro led by the Moro National Liberation Front also waged armed
struggle against the Marcos dictatorship and pinned down a large component
of the reactionary armed forces in Mindanao. Thus the armed struggles of
the Filipino people and Bangsamoro against a common enemy objectively
helped each other, even in the absence of a formal alliance. The Moro
Islamic Liberation Front arose to continue the armed struggle after the
MNLF signed the Tripoli Agreement with the Manila government in 1976.
The Filipino revolutionaries sought and quickly gained international
support from democratic and anti-imperialist forces all over the world.
This led to the isolation of the US-Marcos regime not only in the
Philippines but also internationally, amidst the growing crisis of global
capitalism and that of the local semicolonial and semifeudal ruling
US imperialism supported the Marcos fascist dictatorship for so long as it
remained more of an asset than a liability to US economic, political and
military interests. But by 1982, the US had known that Marcos was
hopelessly isolated and hated by the people for his extreme brutality and
corruption; that he had become seriously ill, with the line of succession
unclear and risky; and that the revolutionary movement could benefit from
the tenuous situation. Thus, the US arranged for his eventual replacement
by his arch-rival Aquino. The continuing advance of the armed
revolutionary movement led by the CPP was a key and compelling factor for
the US decision to ease Marcos out of power.
The assassination of Aquino in 1983 upon his return to Manila triggered an
anti-fascist upsurge. The armed revolutionary movement in the countryside
and the legal national democratic forces in the cities played crucial
roles in bringing about the overthrow of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986.
It is clear that in the struggle against the Marcos regime from 1969 to
1986 the armed revolutionary movement led by the CPP and the legal forces
of the national democratic movement were the most consistent, most
important and most effective in arousing, organizing and mobilizing the
The overthrow of the Marcos fascist dictatorship did not result in the
overthrow of the entire ruling system. The succeeding anti-national and
pseudo-democratic and anti-democratic regimes have been essentially
similar to the Marcos regime in terms of puppetry to US imperialism,
exploitative class character, corruption and brutality against the people.
The only obvious difference of these post-Marcos regimes from the Marcos
fascist regime is their carrying out state terrorism without having to
proclaim martial law.
The current Aquino regime unabashedly continues the implementation of the
neoliberal economic policy that has intensified US imperialism’s
extraction of superprofits from the blood and sweat of the Filipino
toiling masses. It shamelessly lauds and collaborates with the US
announced US strategic balance shift to Asia-Pacific region which is meant
to tighten US hegemony over the region. The Aquino regime seeks to benefit
from the increased military presence and interventionism of the US,
aggravation of political and economic domination, and intensified
exploitation and oppression of the Filipino people.
The ILPS joins all democratic and anti-imperialist forces in supporting
the Filipino people’s continuing revolutionary struggle for national
freedom and democracy. As the crisis of the world capitalist system and
the ruling system worsens, the reactionaries continue to engage in a
bitter struggle for power and bureaucratic loot among themselves. As the
Filipino people suffer more exploitation and oppression, more poverty and
misery, they are driven to intensify and advance their revolutionary
struggle for national liberation, democracy, development through national
industrialization and genuine land reform, social justice and world peace.
EXPERIENCES DURING MARTIAL LAW
Interview with Prof. Jose Maria Sison,
U.P. Alumnus & Founding Chairman of Kabataang Makabayan
and the Communist Party of the Philippines
By John Toledo
May I know your experiences during martial law. This is in connection with
the commemoration of martial law on September 21.
1.) What are your experiences before and during the Martial Law? What are
the harsh aspects of this grim period?
JMS: I was active in the legal mass movement since 1961. I went
underground together with other comrades in late 1968 in order to
reestablish the Communist Party of the Philippines on December 26, 1969
and to found the New People´s Army on March 29, 1969. As early as 1969, we
observed the propensity of Marcos to use brute force against the mass
movement in both rural and urban areas.
After the proclamation of martial law in 1972, the Marcos regime imposed a
fascist dictatorship on the people and went full blast in committing human
rights violations. The harshest of these were the illegal arrests and
detention, forced disappearances, tortures, extrajudicial killings,
massacres, bombardments of rural communities, forced eviction and illegal
seizure of land and other properties. Millions of people were directly
victimized while the entire nation was being intimidated.
2.) How did you form the student movements during Martial Law? What are
these movements and are they still existing today?
JMS: Despite being outlawed, Kabataang Makabayan continued to secretly
recruit and organize the students against the Marcos fascist dictatorship.
The KM chapters in schools all over the country operated under the cover
of permitted or unsuspected student organizations. They distributed
leaflets against the dictatorship and engaged in lightning protest actions
on the campus and outside.
As early as 1974 they started to generate a movement for the restoration
of the student governments and student publications which had been banned.
These were allowed under severe restrictions in 1976. Open protest actions
of students spread in 1976 and even more so from 1978 onwards. They took
advantage of the fascist regime pretending to normalize and democratize,
especially during the elections.
The student youth became more assertive in the early 1980s and especially
after the assassination of Aquino in 1983. The Youth for Nationalism and
Democracy (YND) and League of Filipino Students (LFS) were formed. Student
organizations like the CEGP, NUSP, SCMP and the like became more militant.
Except YND, these aforesaid student organizations continue to exist. In
the case of KM, it has continued in the underground and has become the
Communist Youth League.
3.) What happened to you after the Martial Law proclamation?
JMS: I was part of the CPP, NPA and the NDF in waging the revolutionary
armed struggle against the Marcos regime. I was captured on November 10,
1977. I was tortured and put in solitary confinement for most of the time
that I was under military detention. I was released on March 5, 1986 after
the fall of Marcos. I went back to the University of the Philippines to
teach and then I went abroad to do a university lecture tour in
Asia-Pacific and Europe. My passport was cancelled in 1988 by the first
Aquino regime and I had to apply for political asylum in The Netherlands
in order to defeat the scheme of the military to rearrest me.
4.) Are the student movements still existing today? How is it significant
in the current world order?
JMS: The student movements are alive and kicking in the Philippines and in
the world. They are among the most progressive and militant in opposing
the anti-people policies and actions of US imperialism and the local
reactionary puppet governments, as in the Philippines.
They are very significant, especially in the underdeveloped and
impoverished countries. They express the demands of the students as well
as those of the entire people for national independence, democracy,
development, social justice and world peace.
5.) After 40 years, how do you see the people’s reception to Martial Law?
JMS: The Filipino people continue to hate martial law and the fascist
dictatorship as a monstrosity against their national and democratic rights
6.) Who is Joma Sison and the student movement after 40 years of Martial
JMS: I remain a teacher and writer, always trying to uphold, defend and
promote the national and democratic rights of the Filipino people. The
patriotic and student movement continues to fight for
national and social liberation against US imperialism and the local
exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords to which Noynoy Aquino
belongs and which he represents like Marcos did in the past.
7.) What is the feeling of being in exile? of being far away from the
JMS: Sometimes, I feel that I can do more if I were in the Philippines.But
most of the time, I feel well connected to the Philippines because of the
constant flow of visitors and because the internet allows me to get news
from the Philippines ahead of most Filipinos who are in the Philippines.
8.) 40 years after Martial Law, how would you describe your struggle?
JMS: The struggle continues to grow in strength. It has created the
people´s democratic government in the countryside. It is led by the
revolutionary party of the proletariat, the people´s army and the mass
organizations of workers, peasants, women, youth and other people. All
these revolutionary forces are growing in strength.
9.) When are you coming back? Or are you still coming back despite the
harsh conditions GPH has set on you?
JMS: I still have to stay abroad to perform my duties for the peace
negotiations and to do international solidarity work. I have plenty of
work to do as chairperson of the International League of People´s
10.) Is there still hope for the proletarians of the Philippines?
JMS: The proletarians of the Philippines continue to be harshly exploited
and oppressed. Thus, they must fight for their rights and welfare. There
is hope for them because of their struggle.
RISE AND FALL OF MARCOS
CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES UP TO THE PRESENT
By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman, Communist Party of the Philippines
Chief Political Consultant, NDFP Negotiating Panel
September 14, 2012
September 21, the formal date of the proclamation of martial law forty
years ago, reminds us of the Marcos fascist dictatorship that the Filipino
nation had to suffer for 14 long years until 1986. We reflect on the rise
and fall of this dictatorship and on the causes and consequences up to the
It is highly important to undertake such reflection because the political
heirs of Marcos and even quite a number of those who benefited politically
from the assassination of Ninoy Aquino want to obfuscate the real and most
important causes of the Marcos fascist dictatorship and shift the blame
for the rise of the dictatorship to the revolutionary movement of the
people. It is in the self-serving nature of the reactionaries to engage in
deception and violence to preserve their ruling system and to blame the
people for resisting oppression and exploitation.
The political operatives of the ruling classes of big compradors and
landlords continue to pursue and carry out anti-national and
anti-democratic policies against the people. They have consistently failed
or refused to render justice to the victims of human rights violations
under the Marcos fascist dictatorship as well as compensate them in
accordance with the decision of the US court system in the human rights
case against the Marcos estate. They have been deliberately blind to the
millions of people who suffered deprivation, indignities and death as a
result of military operations and forced evacuations and evictions.
I. Causes of the Rise of the Marcos Fascist Dictatorship
At the reestablishment of the Communist Party of Philippines (CPP) in
1968, we the proletarian revolutionaries recognized the worsening social
crisis and the increasing inability of the ruling classes of big
compradors and landlords to rule in the old way, the growing desire of the
people for a change of system and the urgent need for a revolutionary
party of the proletariat to lead the people.
In 1969 we became aware of the growing trend towards fascism in the
pronouncements and actions of Marcos; and the book, Philippine Society and
Revolution, dared to predict that he would impose a fascist dictatorship
on the Filipino people. We became more convinced that he was up to
something terribly evil, the louder he talked of the social volcano about
to explode, the greatness he was poised to achieve for the nation and the
need for a bigger military force to protect the country.
The two biggest causes of the Marcos fascist dictatorship chronologically
were firstly the objective conditions and chronic crisis of the
semicolonial and semifeudal ruling system and secondly the subjective
factor, Marcos´ overweening ambition to perpetuate himself in power.
Marcos estimated that he could use his presidential powers to manipulate
the entire system to his personal advantage and invent the compelling
reasons for using violence and deception to suppress the opposition and
achieve his despotic purposes.
Marcos had a good estimate that the US imperialists would allow him to
stay in power for so long as he served their economic, political, military
and cultural interests: and so long as he acted to suppress the patriotic
and progressive forces demanding national independence and democracy.
After all, such forces did not yet have the strength to really threaten US
dominance and the ruling system. Behind the scenes, he even encouraged the
Supreme Court to issue certain decisions against US interests. But
surreptitiously, he assured the US that he would undercut and reverse such
He also had a good measure of the mettle of his political rivals among his
The latter loved to orate against Marcos but they had no more than
platoons and companies as private armies. Many of them also fell for the
illusion Marcos himself conjured that they could reform and improve on the
system through a constitutional convention. Marcos´ ulterior motive was to
have a new constitution to do away with the limit of two consecutive
four-year terms for the presidency and to rewrite further the new
constitution under conditions of martial rule and fascist dictatorship. He
also anticipated that Cardinal Santos and the Catholic hierarchy would
welcome the martial law proclamation and give him the chance to undertake
From 1969 to 1972, Marcos demonstrated his propensity for violence against
the workers, peasants and youth. He viciously attacked the First Quarter
Storm of 1970 and carried out a series of massacres in Tarlac (in the
barrios of Culatingan, Sta. Rosa, Sta. Lucia, etc). He and his ruling
clique perpetrated the Plaza Miranda bombing of August 21, 1971 and yet
within a few hours and without any investigation he immediately
scapegoated his arch political rival Benigno Aquino and the New People´s
Army (NPA) and declared the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in
1971. This suspension of the writ was the dress rehearsal for the
premeditated proclamation of martial law in 1972.
The fake assassination attempt on Enrile on the eve of the martial law
proclamation was just a little piece of drama, a sop to media
sensationalism. The biggest lie in Marcos´ martial law proclamation was
the exaggeration that the NPA had an armed strength of 10,000 rifles. This
was no more than 400 rifles at that time. But Marcos excelled at conjuring
the illusion of communists, separatists and anarchists threatening the
ruling system and giving cause to his slogan of “save the republic and
build a new society.”
II. Struggle Against Fascist Dictatorship
Even before Marcos proclaimed martial law in 1972, the Communist Party of
the Philippines and the New People´s Army had been waging the new
democratic revolution through
people´s war against the US-directed Marcos regime. They integrated the
revolutionary armed struggle with genuine land reform and mass base
building by setting up organs of political power on the basis of the
worker-peasant alliance and the mass organizations of workers, peasants,
women, youth, children and cultural activists.
The legal movement of patriotic and progressive forces had developed since
the early 1960s, much ahead of the revolutionary armed struggle which
started in 1969. After the proclamation of martial rule in 1972, the
aforesaid legal forces went underground, retained some of their activists
aboveground and encouraged others to join the people's war in the
countryside. The Preparatory Commission of the National Democratic Front (NDF)
continued in urban areas in order to develop new forces and new
opportunities for continuing resistance.
It is an incontrovertible fact that the CPP, NPA, NDF and other
revolutionary forces were the most outstanding in fighting the Marcos
fascist dictatorship along the antifascist, anti-imperialist and
anti-feudal line. They grew in strength and advanced in all regions of the
country during the 14 years of dictatorship, even as they paid a heavy
price for their victories with daily hard work, militant struggle and
They were the most to suffer such criminal acts of the fascist regime as
abductions, forced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings. But
they inspired and assured the people that the overwhelming power of the
dictatorship was being opposed effectively by the armed struggle in the
countryside and the revolutionary urban underground.
Marcos imprisoned his fellow reactionary politicians in the opposition
whom he regarded as most dangerous to the stability of his autocratic
rule. But many of those whom he did not imprison or he would release from
prison tended to wait for a change of US attitude towards Marcos and seek
compromise by recommending to him new elections under the 1935
constitution or under the fascist constitution. They consistently refused
the NDF offer of a forming broad united front and a government in exile.
After Cardinal Santos died and Cardinal Sin succeeded him, the Catholic
hierarchy opened up to listen to the complaints of human rights violations
and became more active in demanding that justice be rendered. It took some
strenuous efforts by the Christians for National Liberation and the NDF to
persuade the majority of bishops to stand up for human rights and publicly
denounce the violations
The US government supported the Marcos fascist dictatorship for as long as
it served US interests and remained more of an asset than a liability. The
retention of US military bases in the Philippines, the enlargement of
privileges for US investments and the prerogative of US corporations to
hold land and exploit natural resources were reasons for the US to provide
economic and military aid to the fascist regime. But ultimately in 1982,
the US recognized that Marcos was hated by the people for his extreme
brutality and corruption; that he had become seriously ill, with the line
of succession unclear and risky; and that the revolutionary movement could
benefit from the tenuous situation. Thus, the US arranged the return of
Aquino to the Philippines.
But Marcos and his closest minions decided to assassinate Aquino upon his
return in 1983. They tried in vain to conjure the illusion that a
“communist assassin” killed Aquino. The people understood that Galman was
just a stage prop in a scene fully controlled by General Ver and other
generals in various services of the AFP. The assassination sparked the
upsurge of the anti-fascist mass movement from 1983 until Marcos fell from
power in 1986. For three years, the armed revolutionary movement and the
legal forces of the national democratic movement played a crucial role in
the groundswell of the anti-fascist movement which led to the fall of
III. Causes of the Fall of the Dictatorship
Even before the assassination of Aquino, the Washington top officials were
already seriously concerned that the longer Marcos stayed in power, the
armed revolutionary movement led by the CPP would become stronger and the
US wouldface bigger problems in the future. US inter-agency meetings were
being held as early as 1982 to study and draw up recommendations on how to
preempt the further growth of the armed revolutionary movement in the
Philippines and how to make a soft landing from the fascist dictatorship
to sham democracy. At this point, it must be pointed out that the people´s
war led by the CPP was, to say the least, a major cause of the US decision
to prepare for getting rid of Marcos.
After Aquino was assassinated in 1983, the US officials became even more
worried by the persistence of Marcos in power and were angered that Aquino
was assassinated despite assurances to Solarz and Wolfowitz by regime
officials that he would not be harmed. The US State Department was the
most offended and went gung-ho for the overthrow of Marcos. The Pentagon
resisted for a while by arguing that the overthrow would entail a serious
split in the reactionary armed forces in the Philippines. Eventually it
accepted the “Armacost formula” which would indeed allow a split
calculated to be repaired in due course. Thus, Reagan signed the national
security directive for getting rid of Marcos.
As in the earlier overthrow of Duvalier, the US devised the Laxalt
proposal for a snap presidential election of 1986 to trick Marcos into
calling for it and then to accuse him of cheating in order to pave the way
for his overthrow through a mutiny and paralysis of the reactionary armed
forces; and through mass actions. As early as November 1985, the US
instructed Cory Aquino to keep out of her campaign organization the
leaders of the Left, not to touch the issue of US military bases and not
to appoint anyone from the Left to her prospective cabinet. By his own
Comelec count and pseudo-parliament proclamation, Marcos was the electoral
winner but a predictable series of events would overthrow him and nullify
Immediately after the sham results of the snap presidential election, the
CPP ran ahead of all forces in denouncing the results and calling for
people´s uprisings, contrary to latter-day claims that the CPP was
paralyzed by its boycott policy in the elections. Only subsequently, after
a few days later, did Cory Aquino call for civil disobedience. The third
powerful blow that fell on the head of Marcos came from the Catholic
bishops who, in their pastoral letter, denounced the Marcos regime as
immoral and illegitimate. Then, the Reform the AFP Movement (RAM) launched
its failed coup attempt. But Cardinal Sin, Butch Aquino and BAYAN called
on the people to go to EDSA highway to support the military mutineers and
frustrate the anticipated military offensive of Marcos.
During the last few days of the life of the Marcos fascist dictatorship,
the forces of the national democratic movement mobilized large masses of
people to converge on EDSA and in front of Malacañang Palace and in so
many other public places in the country, especially in provincial capitals
and major cities. At least 20 per cent of the hundreds of thousands of
people at EDSA were mobilized by BAYAN, with the rest being mobilized
mainly by the calls of Cardinal Sin and broadcasts of Radio Veritas. But
85 per cent of the thousands upon thousands of people in front of
Malacañang palace were mobilized by the KMU and LFS.
In the provinces, BAYAN was the dominant force in organizing the mass
actions. Let us mention a few notable examples. BAYAN of Angeles city was
outstanding for stopping the army tanks of General Palafox which came from
Tarlac. In the Bicol region, the close friend of Ramos, General de Villa
could appear big as an opponent of Marcos only because he was backed up by
Bayan, aside from his military followers. It is absurd for anyone to claim
that because of the election boycott policy the forces of the Left kept
themselves not only out of the farcical elections but also out of the
people´s uprising that overthrew Marcos.
It can be concluded that in the long haul of 1969 to 1986 as well as in
the short haul of 1983 to 1986 of the struggle to overthrow the Marcos
fascist dictatorship, the armed revolutionary movement and the legal
forces of the national democratic movement were the most consistent, most
important and most effective in arousing, organizing and mobilizing the
people. The US and the most rabid pro-US reactionaries started to do their
best to fight the dictatorship only in 1983. It can be said that in the
short haul the contradictory forces of the national democratic movement,
the US, the Catholic church hierarchy and the anti-Marcos reactionaries
converged to overthrow Marcos.
It is true that so far the Aquino family and its associates (like Ramos
and Macapagal-Arroyo) have benefited most from the overthrow of Marcos in
terms of acquiring reactionary political power and accumulating wealth.
But this does not give the hangers-on and propagandists of the Aquino
regime the license to claim that the forces of the national democratic
movement were nowhere in the struggle to overthrow Marcos. The
revolutionary movement led by the CPP greatly benefited from the process
of overthrowing the Marcos dictatorship but the gain it made was neither
for getting a share of reactionary power nor jockeying for some posts in
the reactionary government but for accumulating strength for the overthrow
of the entire ruling system.
IV. Consequences Up to the Present
The people´s struggle to overthrow the Marcos fascist dictatorship was not
strong enough to overthrow the entire ruling system of big compradors and
landlords. Thus, the brazen fascist dictatorship has been succeeded by a
series of anti-national and pseudo-democratic and anti-democratic regimes.
They are essentially similar to the Marcos regime in terms of puppetry to
the US, exploitative class character, corruption and brutality against the
people. The only obvious difference of these post-Marcos regimes from the
Marcos fascist regime is the fact that they have carried out state
terrorism without having to proclaim martial law.
It is of crucial importance to the anti-Marcos reactionaries, especially
the Cojuangco-Aquino big comprador-landlords, their allies and their
propagandists, to deny the role of the revolutionary movement in the
overthrow of the Marcos fascist dictatorship and to claim more than their
share in the process in order to misrepresent themselves as the saviors of
the people and as champions of democracy and continue the
counterrevolutionary role of Marcos
in trying to destroy the revolutionary movement of the people for national
liberation and democracy.
When the Cory Aquino regime was still consolidating its power against the
Marcos, Enrile and other reactionary cliques, it offered ceasefire
negotiations to the CPP, NPA and NDF and signed a ceasefire agreement. But
it cast away the ceasefire agreement and “unsheathed the sword of war”
after the Mendiola massacre of peasants and their urban supporters in
1987. It followed the US-dictated neoliberal economic policy and prated
much about trade liberalization. It carried out a series of strategic
military campaign plans in a vain attempt to destroy the revolutionary
movement. After some years, when it was faced with further coup threats in
1989, it offered to engage the revolutionary forces in peace negotiations.
The US skilfully prepared and made Ramos the president in order to realize
the “Armacost formula” and patch up the splits that had occurred in the
reactionary armed forces before and after the overthrow of Marcos. Ramos
amnestied the anti-Aquino military mutineers and the political prisoners
in a show of dealing evenly with the Right and the Left. In its full
course the Ramos regimeused the two-handed policy of military force and
peace negotiations. It went full-blast in carrying out the neoliberal
economic policy to the great detriment of the Filipino people.
The armed revolutionary movement slackened in the first half of the 1990s,
not because of the peace negotiations or effectiveness of enemy military
campaigns but because of major errors in the revolutionary movement since
the 1980s and the need to rectify these and revitalize the CPP and other
revolutionary forces through the Second Great Rectification Movement. In
the second half of the 1990s, the NPA was carrying out and winning more
tactical offensives on a nationwide scale. The neoliberal economic policy
of Ramos was thoroughly discredited when the “Asian financial crisis” of
1998 struck the Philippines hard.
Estrada succeeded Ramos and continued the policy of repression, going to
the extent of terminating the peace negotiations with the NDFP. His regime
was in the backwash of the global and domestic economic crisis wrought by
neoliberal economic policy. Estrada could not conceal his direct
culpability for corruption as he took cash from jueteng and raided the
social security funds for shady deals. As in the overthrow of Marcos, the
national democratic movement employed the broad united front to isolate
Estrada, call for his ouster; and to actually oust him through a people´s
uprising. His term of office was cut short as he was compelled to resign
by tens of thousands of youth massing at the gates of the presidential
palace at the decisive moment.
The US-Arroyo regime ran for 10 years, exceeding the ousted regime in
puppetry, exploitativeness, corruption and brutality. The policy of the
broad united front succeeded in isolating Arroyo but failed to oust her
from power. Upon the prompting of the US and the Vatican, the reactionary
classes, their major institutions (schools, churches and mass media) and
the pro-Arroyo and anti-Arroyo reactionary politicians spread the line
that the people had been stricken by protest fatigue and that the best way
to achieve regime change was through elections.
In fact they were frightened that the revolutionary movement could gain
strength from the extra-constitutional process of ousting one regime after
another thorough mass uprisings, even if unarmed. The forces of the
national democratic movement failed at exercising independence and
initiative in order to enlarge their own protest mass actions without the
participation of reactionary allies and at overcoming the repeated tactics
of the anti-Arroyo reactionary allies to keep the focal mass protest
actions in Ayala, Makati as well as the
regime´s consistent tactics of harassing, delaying and disrupting
lakbayans and intra-city marches. Arroyo was able to prevent sizeable
rallies of students at the university belt and marches converging on and
occupying the vicinity of the presidential palace.
The current Aquino regime is good at capitalizing on the ritualistic
celebration of people power (like manpower or horse power, not people´s
power) insofar as it brought down Marcos and brought to power the
reactionary Aquino faction of the exploiting classes. In addition, the
current Aquino regime is good at pretending to denounce the corruption and
human rights violations under the Arroyo regime.
But corruption remains rampant at all levels of the reactionary
government. The Aquino regime has condoned and supported the gross and
systematic human rights violations under the Arroyo regime. And it is now
culpable for the escalation of such human rights violations.
Under the US-designed Oplan Bayanihan, Aquino deceptively calls military
operations “peace and development operations” and emboldens the military,
police and paramilitary forces ro engage in forced disappearances, illegal
detention, torture, extrajudicial killings and the forced eviction of
entire communities for the benefit of mining, logging and plantation
companies. He is obsessed with seeking to destroy the revolutionary
movement by military force and has gone so far as to paralyze the peace
negotiations between his government and the NDFP.
The exploitative and violent character of the post-Marcos regimes from
Cory to Noynoy Aquino clearly shows that no social revolution occurred in
1986. The Marcos fascist dictatorship which arose in 1972 did not result
in a new society different from the semicolonial and feudal system of big
compradors and landlords. Neither did the fall of such dictatorship in
1986 result in the national and social liberation of the Filipino people.
The perseverance of the revolutionary movement remains valid and just
against the persistence of the reactionary ruling system under US
As the crisis of the world capitalist system and the ruling system
worsens, the reactionaries continue to engage in a bitter struggle for
power and bureaucratic loot among themselves. As the Filipino people
suffer more exploitation and oppression, more poverty and misery, they are
driven to intensify and advance their revolutionary struggle for national
liberation, democracy, development through national industrialization and
genuine land reform, social justice and world peace.###
Press Statement | September 21, 2012
Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-5003879
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580
40 years after the
imposition of Martial Law
Impunity persists, legacy of the Filipino people’s valiant struggle
It may not be as visible as it was 40 years ago but, human rights
violations that are indelible marks of Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial Law,
continue to this day: illegal arrests and detention, torture,
disappearance, extrajudicial killings, bombings and hamletting of
communities, forced evacuation, use and proliferation of paramilitary
groups, among others.
Making things worse is that people in the government, specially the
President, hide behind their previous involvement in the anti-dictatorship
struggle; banking on their being victims of martial law to escape
accountability and responsibility on the current state of human rights in
Thus, the likes of The Butcher, Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. roam freely.
Torturers like Maj. Gen. Jorge Segovia and Col. Aurelio Baladad are being
promoted, despite cases filed against them, similar to Col. Rolando
Abadilla, Rodolfo Aguinaldo, and Billy Bibit who were rewarded handsomely
As we remember the 40th year of the imposition of martial law and the dark
days that followed it, we underscore the fact that the Marcoses are back
in power, occupying various government positions, while justice continues
to elude the victims of the tyrannical regime; martial law was lifted but
the terror machine, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, continues its
violent and terrorist practices such as killings, torture, arrests, and
other rights violations; the Civilian Home Defense Force (CHDF) is now
called the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) but, with the
same paramilitary functions inflicting fear, repression and violence;
repressive Marcosian laws and decrees that curtail basic freedom are still
enforced and enacted such as the newly passed Cybercrime Prevention Law;
and the same land reform program which perpetuates landlessness and
legitimizes landgrabbing is in place. Names and positions may have changed
but the exploitative and oppressive system remains the same.
The victims are still the same, too — the ordinary Filipinos who aspire
for freedom, democracy, and justice; and they who speak up, organize
themselves and fight for their rights to land, jobs and decent wages,
housing, education and health services. They are branded at best, as
nuisance; at worst, as enemies of the so-called restored democratic state.
Forty years and five presidents ago, the “democratic space” that was
supposedly restored in 1986 remains a space for the landed, the rich and
the powerful. The poor are still poor, exploited and oppressed. Today,
social justice remains elusive, and the culture of impunity prevails, like
it was under martial law.
Because the same situation exists, the people’s desire for meaningful and
thoroughgoing change remains as steadfast as ever. The legacy of the
Filipino people’s resistance against exploitation and oppression is passed
on to the next generation of activists who carry on the struggle for
social justice, freedom and democracy.
Remembering martial law is not too difficult. We only have to look at, and
hear the voices of, the people around us—the peasants and indigenous
peoples, the workers and the urban poor, the youth, women and children.
The current situation bespeaks of the prevalence of martial law. It is
when we realize the similarities of the situation now and 40 years ago can
we truly say Never Again to Martial Law. Ituloy ang Laban!