The women political prisoners at Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City express their fullest solidarity with the convenors of the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (CARMMA).
Allowing the late dictator Marcos’ son Bongbong to become vice president and be just a heartbeat away from the presidency would be the height of injustice to the tens of thousands of victims of martial rule.
Having another Marcos in Malacañang would be the final straw, coming on top of the many other martial law features that endure to this day.
Virtual martial law still exists in vast areas of the Philippine countryside, where the AFP and PNP hold civilian authorities in contempt as troops conducting military operations run roughshod on the people’s rights.
The current massive displacement of entire communities of peasants and national minorities in Mindanao and elsewhere due to foreign large scale commercial mining mirrors the forced evacuation of Cordillerans from their villages due to the Marcos dictatorship’s Chico River Dam project.
The persistence to this day of human rights violations such as extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, torture and warrantless arrests, searches and seizures are all daily reminders that martial law has left more than just vestiges in today’s society.
The fact that none of the dictator’s martial law decrees has been repealed by his successors attests to the unbroken thread of repression from the era of dictatorship to the so-called democratic governments that succeeded it.
To illustrate, more than half of the women political prisoners currently detained at Camp Bagong Diwa and arrested under Benigno Aquino III’s term face trumped-up charges of violating PD 1866 (illegal possession of firearms), one of martial law’s many draconian measures still frequently invoked by military and police authorities today to put political dissenters behind bars and treat them like ordinary criminals.
Taking after Marcos plunderous record, all Philippine presidents who succeeded him have also concocted their own patented versions of raiding the nation’s coffers and bleeding the country dry.
Such ongoing political thievery and violations of human rights are occurring against a continuing backdrop of subservience by successive Philippine governments to US political and economic dictates. When it comes to violating the people’s rights, persecuting those who uphold these rights, maintaining kleptocracies, and serving as puppets to foreign interests, there has not been much to distinguish Marcos Sr. from those who came after him. Bongbong’s record gives us no reason to believe that he will be any different.
The job of undoing the Marcosian legacy will take much more than preventing Bongbong or any other Marcos from reoccupying Malacañang. But thwarting his presidential ambitions will be a necessary step in this effort.
Loida Magpatoc (NDF peace consultant) Rosanna Cabusao-Silva Gemma Carag Marissa Espedido Presentacion Estrada-Saluta Pastora Latagan Joyce Latayan Evelyn Legaspi Winona Onate-Birondo Rhea Pareja Miguela Peniero Maria Miradel Torres