MALACAÑANG ON Monday contradicted former Senate president Juan F. Ponce-Enrile’s remarks in his interview with former senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. contradicting several established circumstances of the martial-law regime of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos.
In that interview as posted on the internet by the camp of the younger Mr. Marcos, Mr. Enrile said, among other things, that the mass arrests in the wake of the enforcement of martial law in September 1972 were “not true,” adding that no one was arrested for his political beliefs.
The younger Mr. Marcos is the only son of the late dictator Marcos, under whose regime Mr. Enrile served as martial-law administrator and defense minister. He broke ties with the dictator after a plot against Mr. Marcos was exposed, leading to the spontaneous succession of events in the 1986 People Power Revolution that finally toppled Mr. Marcos.
Among the many arrested on that Saturday night of September 23, 1972, when martial law began to be enforced, were Senators Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., Jose W. Diokno, and Ramon V. Mitra, Jr., the poet and former senator Francisco A. Rodrigo, journalists and Constitutional Convention delegates Napoleon G. Rama and Jose Mari Velez, publishers Joaquin P. Roces and Teodoro M. Locsin, and journalist Maximo V. Soliven.
Also arrested in the course of martial law’s enforcement were journalists Amando Doronila and Luis D. Beltran, and Constitutional Convention delegates Aquilino Q. Pimentel Jr., Jose Concepcion, and Teofisto T. Guingona Jr., and many others.
Sought for comment during a briefing at the Palace on Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, Jr. said: “I don’t think they can twist history when there’s a law and there are court decisions attesting to what happened during martial law. If you remember, a couple of weeks back we even had here in Malacañang as guest members of the Compensation Board, and they still have last minute problems to resolve on how to release all the compensation for the victims of martial law.”
Mr. Roque was referring to the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, of which Mr. Enrile himself, as Senate president five years ago, is a signatory.
“So the position of the Palace is we are implementing the law and the law says that there should be reparations paid to victims of martial law,” Mr. Roque also said. But he also added that Mr. Enrile is “entitled” to his own “belief.”
“But as far as the Palace is concerned, there are decisions affirming that there were grave human rights violations committed during the Marcos regime,” Mr. Roque said.
In an interview with ANC, former senator Rene A.V. Saguisag, a leading human-rights lawyer who fought the dictatorship, said the younger Mr. Marcos might “Heaven forbid!” become president.
“He (Mr. Enrile) has to protect his wealth, his reputation kaya (which is why he’s) brown-nosing a potential president in my view,” Mr. Saguisag said.
Mr. Roque, for his part, said: “That’s their business. That’s an issue that we have nothing to do with.” — Arjay L. Balinbin