Bayan Muna refutes Panelo: Martial law killed democracy in PH
MANILA, Philippines — Opposition lawmakers on Monday refuted Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo’s statement claiming that martial law was “the very tool to save the exercise of democracy.”
Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat said Panelo might need to revisit the country’s history and realize how martial rule killed democracy in the Philippines.
“Mukhang kailangan balikan ni Sec. Panelo ang tunay na nangyari sa kasaysayan at kung paano pinatay ng martial law ang demokrasya sa bansa (It seems that Sec. Panelo needs to revisit our history and how martial law killed democracy in the country),” Cullamat said in a statement.
Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares meanwhile pointed out that Panelo’s defense was used by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
“‘Yan din ang sabi ni Marcos noon (Marcos said this before). After thousands of deaths and arrests, Ferdinand Marcos who declared he was the savior of democracy was overthrown by the Filipino people. That is a lesson for future saviors of democracy pretenders,” said Colmenares.
Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel Lagman also shared the same view with the two progressive lawmakers, saying martial law “derogates democracy with widespread repression and curtailment of civil liberties.”
Lagman pointed out that in order to foreclose the abuses of the martial law regime, the 1987 Constitution even mandated limitations and safeguards on the imposition of martial law and the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.
The congressman also lamented how it was “inordinately shameful” that while the 47th anniversary of Marcos’ martial rule was remembered last Sept. 21, martial law in Mindanao has been extended repeatedly, “even as the country continues to experience the repression of press freedom and the persecution of human rights defenders, among other victims, reminiscent of the martial law years.”
“Filipinos must never forget the tragedy of martial law and must not forgive the perpetrators and beneficiaries of martial law. National amnesia must be purged as an abhorrent malaise,” Lagman added.
Some 75,730 persons have filed their claims as human rights violations victims during the martial rule before the Human Rights Victims Claims Board by May 2015.
Over 100,000 people were also recorded to have been victims of human rights violations during martial law from 1972 to 1981 –70,000 of whom were arrested, 34,000 were tortured, and 3,240 were killed by the military and the police–according to a report by Amnesty International. /je
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