On Martial Law in the Philippines Under the Marcos Regime

Ralph Dongito | Martial Law

By Brod Ralph Dongito

When I have previously commented on Brod Atty. Edwin Andrada’s article on “Martial Law: Bedrock of Our Existence”, Brod Novo-Mar Ramos asked me if I could write my thoughts in response to the above article. So, here it is.

In my own point of view after reading several books on the matter, I can agree that martial law saved us from communism but I can only agree up to that point. We should not forget that we paid a heavy price for it that until now we still feel some of its effects. The whole idea of martial law at that time was perfectly legal whether or not the elements to declare such law were “staged” or “faked.” I mean we can all agree that martial law is in the 1935 Philippine Constitution and with all its teeth intact unlike the current Constitution’s version. I agree that it (martial law) saved us from communism (system) but it did not save us from its signature major policy which is dictatorship and political repression. As I have said in my earlier comment, you can find martial law (system) in the 1935 Constitution with it limiting certain freedoms but nowhere in the Constitution or letter of the law where you can find dictatorship and political repression (policies).

We have two things: 1. System (martial law) and 2. Policies (dictatorship & political repression), its apples and oranges. There is a big difference between system and policy. True, we may have never experienced the likes of Stalinist, Maoist or Pol Pot’s governments under communism but we lived in a country which has the same policies such as the above communist regimes where political repression and basic human rights were stifled.

I can sacrifice a bit of my freedoms for the sake of the country but I need to see better results. It’s a social contract between the leader and its people in which a delicate balance should be struck. Singapore is good example under Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, who to me is a very prudent and exceptional dictator. He was a dictator but the country was never in a dictatorship.

Marcos was a dictator and he ran the country in a dictatorship. Singapore today is one of the most successful nations in multiple fronts, whereas the Philippines, my dearest homeland is still a developing nation. The person­­ of Singapore does not enjoy the same freedoms as we have today but they enjoy a better life than we do.

Related Article: “Martial Law: Bedrock of Our Existence”

Ralph Dongito | Martial LawAbout the Author

Brod Ralph Dongito, RN, CBP Professional, NSC certified, is currently working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in a government company under the UAE Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs. He is married to a lovely lady for one year now. He considers himself as a political junkie, so he welcomes any comment to his posts .

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