*Speech of Former Senator Jovito Salonga, martial law victim; former President of the Philippine Senate; Founder of the Bantayog ng Mga Bayani (Monument of Heroes) and 2007 Recipient of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Good Governance. *
Commemorating Martial Law : Misa Para sa Mga Bayani
September 21, 2007
Bantayog ng mga Bayani
EDSA , Quezon City , Philippines
I understand that the Bantayog ng mga Bayani is holding this Memorial Service today, September 21, at 7.a.m. to honor the memories of martyrs who gave their lives without seeing the dawn of freedom and the heroes who survived EDSA I, but gave their all for the sake of freedom and democracy .
But allow me to make a correction. In truth , martial law was not imposed on September 21, the date mentioned by Marcos. On the night of September 22, 1972, the news was broadcast that Secretary of Defense Juan Ponce Enrile was ambushed in Wack Wack Subdvision, a few kilometers away from Manila. Enrile was not killed. I was at home, recovering from the extensive injuries I suffered from the Plaza Miranda bombing. Knowing the loyalty of Enrile to Marcos, I doubted the authenticity of the ambush and said so in my writings during the martial law . It was only after the EDSA I, People Power Revoluton , that Enrile admitted it was a fake ambush—evidently to justify the declaration of martial law in the morning of September 23, 1972, when no newspapers arrived and no TV-radio broadcasts were allowed . It was only in the evening of September 23 that Marcos publicly announced the proclamation of martial law, through TV-radio facilities of Roberto S. Benedicto, his closest crony and
classmate in the University of the Philippines.
Marcos falsified the facts, including the repeated assurance that it was not a military take over, the same Constitution, he said, remains enforced . He also falsified the two justifications for the imposition of martial law--- the NPA rebellion in the north and the Muslim insurgency in the south. There was no NPA when Marcos came into power after the November 1965 elections ---but it was his brutal record of repressiveness, brazen corruption and the rigged elections of 1967 and 1969 that led to the formation of the CPP and the NPA. It was Marcos who caused the Muslim massacre in Corregidor in 1967 and led Nur Misuari in Sulu to revolt against Marcos regime. Marcos gave himself away when he said the Old Society (of which he was the leader) was sick , and a " New Society must be born to reform society."
In any case, the Marcos declaration of martial law crushed the hopes of the youth , who saw no future except to underground . Edgar Jopson , Manny Yap and others, like Ninoy Aquino were the martyrs who died without seeing the dawn of freedom. Tañada, Diokno and Roces survived EDSA but Bantayog proclaimed them as heroes for giving their talents, time and resources to topple the Marcos regime.
*Tayo ay nandito ngayon upang alalahanin ang mga tunay na pangyayari at ipagdiwang ang mga tunay na bayani ng ating lahi. Huwag nating payagan na mangyari muli ang ginawa ni Marcos*. Never again should we allow another semblance of Marcos to come again and deceive us and our descendants, in the name of public security and for the sake of reforming
society . Only a free people can reform society and build our democracy.
Mabuhay tayong lahat at marami pong salamat.
Delivered on the 35th anniversary of Martial Law during a commemorative
mass of Claimants 1081 , member organization of Asian Federation Against
Involuntary Disappearances in the Philippines.