Much was said during the 46th anniversary of martial law. In September 1972, strongman Ferdinand Edralin Marcos issued Proclamation 1081 which placed the entire country under martial law.
Much more has been uttered by Leftists, communists and Marcos haters on what they call the dark pages of history. They recite alleged atrocities and violation of human rights and civil liberties.
All these bring to fore the question: Is Marcos a heel or a hero?
I would like to quote Justice Manuel Lazaro, former Marcos Government Corporate Counsel and Court of Appeals Justice. He wrote the foreword to “The Marcos Legacy” which my colleague Cecilio Arillo wrote as an objective narration and exposition of events. Lazaro is now president of the Philconsa (Philippine Constitution Association) chaired by former Rep. Martin Romualdez.
Lazaro wrote: “He [Marcos] is a hero to those who are aware and appreciative of his remarkable performance and achievements. However, he is heel to those who envy his ingenuity, vision and foresight and to those who take revenge and hatred.”
Thus, the answer depends on who is talking. It is a matter of perspective. Some may say that Lazaro being with the Marcos government is biased. But I myself look at the entire picture of what Marcos did.
History tells us that Marcos was not only facing the threat of communism. Communists were acting in connivance with the Liberal Party opposition and civil society in media, labor academe, the Church and in parliament where legislators and their sympathizers were already knocking on the gates of Malacañang.
He was also facing the separatist movement of the Muslims in Mindanao.
In other words, Marcos was fighting on several fronts and he had to do something when Mao Tse Tung-inspired communists were already having their arms brought to Northern Luzon.
Santa Banana, if it were not for martial law, God knows what could have happened to the country! The Supreme Court upheld martial law because it was allowed by the 1935 Constitution to suppress rebellion. Public safety required it.
People often forget that Marcos was responsible for the North and South Expressways, the Marcos Highway to Baguio, and the Marcos Maharlika Highway that extends from Leyte to Luzon.
Significantly, out of the 2,036 presidential decrees issued by Marcos, only 67 have been repealed or modified. Santa Banana, the Marcos laws still govern us today!
Lazaro put it very well when he said: “In a manner of speaking, Marcos the corpus is dead. But Marcos the law giver lives, pulsating vibrantly. His laws are eloquent proof of his wisdom, vision and foresight in crafting policies for good and effective governance.”
Marcos also crafted and issued signal laws that have been hailed and lauded by all succeeding administrations.
I would even say that Marcos was the most brilliant among all the presidents I have known. He also had the best Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Cesar Virata, with Roberto Ongpin, Gerardo Sicat, O.D. Corpuz, Juan Ponce Enrile and Estelito Mendoza.
Lazaro said that with “time’s healing hands, FM will be vindicated. He is a great man unjustly judged at the wrong time by the wrong minds. Time and history will vindicate his vision and foresight, especially in lawmaking. Generations freed from the ugly blemishes of hate, vengeance and prejudice will look more kindly and with gratitude on his achievements and contributions to the nation.”
All I can say to that is “Amen.”
In another context, Marcos haters say that attempts to distort and revise history demean the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution. Santa Banana, when people talk of Edsa 1, I am puzzled. I know that when people talk about revolution or rebellion, they mean an entire change of government, the substitution of another form of government by the governed.
I think the 1986 People Power Revolution is a misnomer. In fact, historians Salvador Escalante and J. Augustus dela Paz of the Truth and Justice Foundation said that Edsa One was never a revolution but a pocket mutiny that grew into a localized revolt, with less than half a million people out of the more than 80 million Filipinos at that time.
Santa Banana, how could it be a revolution when Edsa One happened only in Quezon City, not participated in by the masses, much less from Filipinos in Visayas and Mindanao!
The same historians lamented that the 1986 People Power Revolution has been made as a shady and shallow series of Edsa commemorative celebrations. But, really, is there anything to celebrate and commemorate?
In short, Edsa One was nothing but a change of regime and a President. The worst part was when it was said Cory Aquino was the icon of democracy. She was not even at Edsa, She was hiding at the Pink Sisters Convent and went only as far as the corner of Edsa and Ortigas Avenue.
I asked Enrile once why he decided to make Cory the president post-Edsa. He said she was the face of the opposition. He and his companions had already formed a civilian junta at that time to take power from Marcos, but Enrile was not too sure that the junta would be acceptable to the people.
That, in short, was the history of Edsa.
The tragedy is that the aspirations of the people, the same ones that moved them to go to Edsa, were never realized. In fact, Cory Aquino’s presidency was hounded by nine, I repeat, nine, coup attempts.
President Duterte should not be repeating an alleged ouster plan by a combined group of communists, the Magdalo Group, the Liberal Party and his critics.
The so-called Red October attempt will never happen because the President remains very popular, enjoying a high trust and satisfaction rating.
How can there be an alleged ouster plan when the Communist Party of the Philippines has its own agenda to overthrow the government?
More importantly there is no single credible personality with enough following who can lead the ouster of the President.
The less the President talks about destabilization, the better for him. Foreign investors do not like a country where the president is being ousted.