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Edsa not forgotten

By BARBARA GONZALEZ- VENTURA, The Philippine STAR Published Feb 27, 2021 6:23 pm

I apologize for missing my column last week. Once, a professor at the PUP invited me to talk to his students. We became friends. This year, he sent me something he wrote and asked if I might publish it in my column. Since I agree wholeheartedly with him, I am publishing this piece by Pit M. Maliksi.

(Professor Pit M. Maliksi studied library science at the University of Santo Tomas, taught at Central Texas College, and was the Most Outstanding Professor for 12 years at PUP, Sto. Tomas Batangas (STB) campus, of which he is the educational program officer of Kiwanis International STB-Chapter, and the founder of Philippine Axiologists Association and STB Mga Apo’ Ni Tomas, a civic society of young professionals.)

The opinions are his, mine and those of millions of Filipinos in the Silent Majority:

For 35 years now, the world-renowned People Power Revolution has, at least, brought out a royal battle between Ninoy yellow defenders versus Marcos loyalist hackers on the meaning of true heroism, which seems to be worthless and misunderstood among the younger unenlightened Filipinos who were born after everything that led to the People Power Revolution happened. 

Vice President Leni Robredo warned that “failing to remember Marcos’ legacy of killings, torture, disappearances and corruption would leave the Filipinos of this generation, and the ones that come after, divided and vulnerable to abuse.”

Once a turning point is stored in memory by faithful retelling, it’s never forgotten. Once an intention to remember is sincere, it never slips from memory, like Jose Rizal’s and Andres Bonifacio’s heroism, and later Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino’s assassination and its crucial role in our history.

Yet hearing Imee, Bongbong Marcos and their hirelings’ whitewashed side of the story calls for a constant recounting of dictator Marcos’ martial law atrocities.

 A girl gives a daisy to a Marine (Photo by Roger Buendia, People Power: The Philippine Revolution of 1986)

In September 1972, then President Marcos created a subterfuge to imprison his nemesis Ninoy for seven years, after Ninoy exposed Marcos’ plot to stay in power and hide an empty treasury by imposing martial law.

Ninoy went on a three-year exile in the US for a heart bypass operation after voluntarily undergoing a 45-day hunger strike protest. When he came home on Aug. 21, 1983, he was assassinated galvanizing millions of Filipinos to stand up at last for freedom.

We outbraved Marcos’ oppression, walked 15 miles to bury our hero, who had faith that we were worth dying for. We tied yellow ribbons, spoke up, stood our ground, and held the line for three years, leading to a four-day People Power Revolution from Feb. 22-25, 1986.

 Artists and performers stage a show outside the station to celebrate (Photo by Sonny Camarillo, People Power: The Philippine Revolution of 1986)

 “Taking up the mantle from her martyred husband, Corazon ‘Cory’ Aquino led a popular revolution that ousted corrupt Filipino leader Ferdinand Marcos in 1986,” quoted Time magazine in its “Woman of The Year” cover citation for Cory (published 1/5/87). President Cory opened the floodgates of freedom in every corner of the Philippines and was hailed, alongside Ninoy, as an “Icon of Democracy.” 

By contrast, the Marcos name became vicious. British investigative journalist Nicholas Davis wrote: “While the global contagion of corruption has since spread through Africa, South America, Middle East, and parts of Asia, Marcos was the model of politician as thief.” (The Guardian, 5/7/16).

 Hemmed in by thousands and unarmed men and women, the Marines keep their positions on their tanks with machine guns  (Photo by John Chua, People Power: The Philippine Revolution of 1986)

New York Times editors Jeff Gerth and Joel Brinkley reported the US Army’s 35-year investigation results — Ferdinand Marcos’ alleged guerrilla unit during World War II, “Maharlika,” was “fraudulent.” American biographer Hartzell Spence disclosed Marcos’ fake heroism and bogus war medals. 

Ferdinand Marcos also used a fake name, William Saunders, in his $40 million Arema asset deposited in an account with Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. in New York in 1972 even before he declared martial law. His wife Imelda Romualdez-Marcos signed “Jane Ryan” in her overseas, outlawed bank transactions. 

 Minister Enrile and General Ramos brought with them a statue of Our Lady and the Philippine flag (Photo by Sonny Camarillo, People Power: The Philippine Revolution of 1986)

“I have deposits in 170 banks and I cannot even touch it (sic),” Imelda said, incriminating herself, while adding: “We practically own all the businesses here in the Philippines.” She acquired 700 pieces of jewelry worth $5 to $8 billion, bought a $9.5 million posh apartment in New York, and pushed PAL’s debt to $13.8 billion because of her incorrigible jet-setting. 

Of her family, relatives and cronies’ multibillion riches during martial law, Imelda quipped, “My dear, there’s always people who are just a little faster, more brilliant, more aggressive.” 

At the peak of martial law in 1975, when all Marcos opponents were in jail, Congress was padlocked, sequestered media offices were controlled and owned by Marcos cronies, Marcos amassed hefty shares at PLDT, Meralco, San Miguel Corporation, Allied Banking Corp., Asia Brewery Inc., Fortune Tobacco Corp., among others. The economy was in utter shambles as Marcos granted behest loans without collateral to his cronies such as industry magnates Roberto Benedicto in sugar, Danding Cojuangco in coconuts, Antonio Floreindo in bananas, and Hans Menzi in mining and paper industries. In fact, they were all Marcos dummies.   

Once a turning point is stored in memory by faithful retelling, it’s never forgotten. Once an intention to remember is sincere, it never slips from memory.

The UST Varsitarian expounded that the infrastructure built by Marcos, sourced from people’s taxes and foreign loans, ended up in Marcos and cronies’ pockets and in Swiss and offshore accounts. Marcos left $28.3 billion in foreign debt and $13 billion in stolen wealth. We will be paying for these until 2025.

Overall, the Supreme Court ruling alone can defend all arguments. It validated the detestable level of impunity, corruption, injustices and crimes of Marcos’ dictatorial regime, which accounted for 75,730 human rights victims; 50,000 arrests, 35,000 tortures, and 3,257 extrajudicial killings executed by Marcos’ military.     

The real big push for the remarkable transformation of the people’s willpower to root out Marcos’ felonies and fight the good fight against tyranny was Ninoy’s life sacrifice, like Jose Rizal’s. To immortalize Ninoy’s martyrdom is just as patriotic. To stand on our own feet every time freedom is brought to its knees is as heroic as EDSA and the Katipunan Revolts.