DISPUTED DEATHS | Enrile debunking of reported Martial Law killings, questioned

5 months ago

SEPTEMBER 21, 2018 – Killings, what?

It’s a question that continues to hound the regime of the late president Ferdinand Marcos since he declared Martial Law, 46 years ago.

But for former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, none of Marcos’ political enemies were killed or executed while Martial Law was in effect.

“Little by little the truth will come out… They claim that we killed a lot of people, that we had 70,000 arrested which was not true. Maybe if they will include the people who violated the curfew and the jay walkers,” he said.

The Martial Law-era minister of defense made these remarks in a video conversation — titled “Witness to History” — with former senator Bongbong Marcos, the late president’s namesake and only son.

“During Martial Law there were no massacres like what happened in Mendiola during the supposed democratic government of Cory Aquino,” Enrile said, alluding to Marcos’ sucessor Corazon Aquino.

But data from Amnesty International said otherwise, with 3,240 reportedly killed at the height of Martial Law. Around 70,000 were arrested and 34,000 were tortured.

Former Bayan Muna representative Satur Ocampo, who was imprisoned and tortured at the time, backstopped the Amnesty International findings.

“A good number of them were killed not necesarrily in combat. Some were captured alive and subsequently murdered, some were kidnapped and disappeared,” he said in an interview with One News’ Agenda.

Ocampo’s statement was echoed by former Interior secretary Rafael Alunan, who served Aquino and former president Fidel Ramos, the commander of the Philippine Constabulary under Marcos.

“Of course there were killings but its very difficult to say how many that could be directly attributed during Martial Law. But there were political killings. Were there political killings directly traceable to Pres. Marcos or were they locally generated?” he said.

Enrile also questioned the number of arrests allegedly made during Martial Law, insisting that the military had only went after a “rebel group or a war lord or someone who violated the criminal law,” and not political critics or dissenters.

“Name me one person that was arrested because of political or religious belief during that period. None. Name me one person that was arrested simply because he criticized President Marcos. None,” he said.

Former Senate President Nene Pimentel, who was imprisoned during the Marcos regime, disputed Enrile’s recollection.

“As a matter of fact, hinuli ako, hindi ko nga malaman kung bakit hinuli ako. Pati ‘yung nag-aresto hindi nila malaman basta you are supposed to accompany us. So dinala nila ako from Cagayan de Oro then to Cebu, and then finally to Crame,” recalled Pimentel, who fought the Marcos regime as a human rights lawyer.

Ex-president Noynoy Aquino, whose father Ninoy was Marcos’ arch-nemesis back then, also had choice words for Enrile.

“Medyo may edad na si Senator Enrile pero hindi naman siguro pwedeng gawin parang dahilan yun para maniwala tayo sa gusto nyang pagbabago ng katotohanan. Pwede natin unawain pero pasensya na, yung totoo ay totoo, at yung pambobola ay pambobola pa rin,” Aquino said.

In the end, Pimentel said Enrile might just be trying to regain the good graces of the Marcoses, after leading the military uprising that ousted the late strongman from power.

“I think among other things, he’s cementing his relationship with the Marcoses, to tell them ‘I am with you,’ and hoping, probably, that Bongbong will become president, eventually. Of course, without my vote,” he said.

The Bongbong-Enrile tete-a-tete has already garnered 270,000 views and 16,000 shares since it was posted on the younger Marcos’ Facebook page yesterday.