Aquino blasts martial law anew at Army anniv
The Philippine Army today is a partner in peace and stability, and has solid principles — very far from its image more than 30 years ago, President Benigno Aquino III said on Tuesday at the Army’s 119th anniversary, as he recalled anew the horrors of martial law.
In his remarks at the Army headquarters at Fort Bonifacio, the President said that when he was young and there were no video games yet, he had wanted to become a soldier because of a TV series called “Combat,” but martial law changed his perspective.
“Pero dumating po ang Martial Law, at talagang nagbago ang pananaw ko ukol sa ating mga sundalo. Dito mismo sa Fort Bonifacio at maging sa Fort Magsaysay, nakulong ang aking ama nang pitong taon at pitong buwan. Sa mga pagkakataong ito namin nakilala ang ating magiging SND (Secretary of National Defense), na noo’y bantay sa kulungan ng aking ama; dahil po trinato niya nang maayos at disente ang aking ama, dahil naging propesyonal siya, ang naging gantimpala ni Sec. (Voltaire)Gazmin mula sa diktadurya: Ipinatapon siya sa Mindanao mula 1975 hanggang 1986,” he said.
(But along came martial law and my perception of our soldiers drastically changed. Right here in Fort Bonifacio as well as in Fort Magsaysay, my father was incarcerated for seven years and seven months. It was then when we knew our future SND, which was then guarding my father’s prison; because he treated my father well and with decency, because he acted professionally, Sec. Gazmin was rewarded by the dictatorship: he was exiled in Mindanao from 1975 to 1986.)
Gazmin, whom Aquino appointed as Defense Secretary when he assumed office in 2010, used to be the jailer of his father Benigno Jr. (Ninoy) in Nueva Ecija. He was later named as chief of the Presidential Security Group when the younger Aquino’s mother, Corazon, became President in 1986. Ninoy was also a wedding sponsor to Gazmin over four decades ago.
The President, without referring to the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, said that the detention cell of his father and other personalities during martial law were preserved to serve as a reminder that there was a chapter in history that the military was used by the people who promised to serve the people.
The son and namesake of the late dictator, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., is running for vice president for the upcoming elections and is doing well in surveys.
Aquino also blamed martial law for the increase of communist insurgents to 25,000 from 60.
“Pero sa patnubay ng aking ina at maging sa ating administrasyon, talagang nanumbalik ang Sandatahang Lakas sa tamang panig kung saan kinakalinga niyo ang taumbayan. Ang sambayanan naman, ang sukli ay mas solidong pagkalinga. Kita naman po ang bunga, dahil sa pakikiisa ng taumbayan, naging mas madaling madala sa hustisya ang naglalakihang kalaban ng Estado gaya na lang nina CPP (Communist Party of the Philippiens) Acting Chair Benito Tiamzon, CPP Secretary-General Wilma Tiamzon, at si Eugenia Magpantay-Topacio, na Secretary ng Central Luzon Regional Committee ng CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army). Sa loob ng ating administrasyon, sa pagtupad ninyo ng higit 1.3 milyon na operasyon kontra sa mga kalaban ng Estado, tuluyan nating napalaya ang 50 sa 76 na probinsyang apektado ng panggugulo ng NPA. Labindalawa na lang po ang natitira,” he said.
(But with the guidance of my mother and even in our administration, the Armed Forces has returned to the right side wherein you keep the people secure. The people, for its part, give back with more solid concern. You can see its fruits, because of the cooperation of the people, major enemies of the State are brought to justice more promptly, such as CPP Acting Chair Benito Tiamzon, CPP Secretary-General Wilma Tiamzon, and Eugenia Magpantay-Topacio, Secretary of the Central Luzon Regional Committee ng CPP-NPA. In our administration, in your implementation of more than 1.3 million operations against enemies of the State, we have freed 50 out of the 76 provinces affected by the turmoil caused by the NPA. Only 12 [provinces] remain [to be freed].)
Based on military estimates, there are still about 4,000 members of the New People’s Army in the country, almost unchanged since the time of Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. CDG
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