DFA chief Locsin’s claim: Filipinos accepted Marcos and his military rule

September 24, 2019 - 5:54 PM
Teddy Locsin martial law
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. claimed that the Filipinos accepted the Marcos regime for more than a decade. (Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos)

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. inaccurately claimed that the Filipino people embraced the entirety of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ rule when he denounced a post about the 47th anniversary of Martial Law on Twitter.

Locsin criticized a post about it and claimed that the Filipino people accepted Marcos, including martial law, until Cory Aquino, a housewife turned politician, took over.

He referred to them without directly dropping their names.

“You accepted him for 13 years until the widow of the man he murdered toppled him,” part of his profanity-riddled tweet said.

“You are the demons of hypocrisy. And hey! That’s Nelson who suffered, you did not,” he added.

The post which he retweeted came from user @DantSantos8 who cited this quote from celebrated South African revolutionary Nelson Mandela in the original tweet:

“Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another.”

Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson and presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo likewise expressed the view that Marcos’ dictatorship was necessary to achieve democracy.

For Lacson, he saw the “good” in martial law during the first six months, but things went downhill from there.

“Martial law was declared for many good reasons. I saw it firsthand during the first 6 months, at least from the peace and order perspective. Everything that followed was wrong. Greed and abuse took over,” he tweeted.

Panelo, who formerly served as a lawyer of the Marcos family, also acknowledged martial law as a tool with a purpose but warned that it could be abused.

“Those who perceive that a declaration of martial law is anti-democratic is oblivious of the fact that its application is precisely the very tool to save the exercise of democracy. It is only when it is clothed with abuse by its enforcers that it becomes obnoxious,” he said.

What Locsin, Lacson and Panelo failed to mention

To paint an administration of peace and order to the public, thousands of Filipinos were detained, tortured and killed following the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus when Marcos declared martial law in the Philippines.

Lacson could have been partially correct in terms of acceptance when Marcos won the presidency over former President Diosdado Macapagal in 1965.

An old report from the New York Times stated that Marcos won at a time “voters’ resentment over high prices, agricultural problems and criminality in Philippine life.”

“As President, Mr. Marcos promised ‘with the help of the masses to make this country great again.’ He energetically set about slashing the Government payroll, enhancing the rice supply and increasing the construction of schools, highways, medical centers and the like.”

However, Marcos’ reelection during the presidential elections 1969 was rife with cheating allegations. The years leading up to his dictatorship were racked with student protests and rumored insurgents across the country.

There is an existing myth that the heyday of the Marcoses was the age of prosperity and freedom.

The ratio of debt to the country’s growth national product, or GNP, rose from 13% to 92.9% during Marcos’ rule.

Poverty incidence, meanwhile, was at 52% during the five years of Marcos’ presidency. By the end of it, 59% of Filipinos were poor.

In terms of democracy and freedom, Marcos employed the three infamous G’s—guns, goons and gold to win the elections and militarize his government.

He also placed the press, one of the most important institutions of democracy, under his control. Corruption and the consolidation of power and wealth of the regime were left unreported, leaving the public with little or no information on what was really happening.

Newspapers, magazines and television stations were also closed down and leading media personalities such as Eugenio Lopez Jr. and Amando Doronilla were arrested and detained.

Moreover, according to Amnesty International, a total of 107,240 victims of human rights violations were recorded.