Former senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. cannot twist history, the Palace said
Monday, after Enrile claimed there were no arrests of political activists during martial law.
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said the presence of certain laws and court decisions pertaining to martial law belie Enrile’s claim that only a few of then-President Ferdinand Marcos’ critics were arrested for criminal acts.
“As far as the Palace is concerned, there are decisions affirming that there were grave human rights violations committed during the Marcos regime. There’s even a law in Congress which provides for compensation for victims of martial law,” Roque told reporters in a Palace press briefing.
“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,” he added.
The Palace official said members of the Compensation Board were in Malacañang to resolve last-minute problems about the release of all the compensation for victims of martial law.
Roque was referring to the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 signed five years ago by Enrile, then Senate president.
The law said the government recognized “the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violations” under the martial rule.
“The State hereby acknowledges its moral and legal obligation to recognize and/or provide reparation to said victims and/or their families for the deaths, injuries, sufferings, deprivations, and damages they suffered under the Marcos regime,” the law read, creating the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board tasked to hand out reparations to victims of Marcos’ martial rule.
The reparations come from the P10-billion Marcos deposits turned over by the Swiss Federal Supreme Court to the Philippine government in 1997 after the regime fell in 1986.
Senator Nancy Binay, meanwhile, said her father, former vice president Jejomar Binay, was a living testament to debunk Enrile’s assertion that not one person was arrested for his political beliefs or criticism of the late dictator.
“Name me one person that was arrested simply because he criticized President Marcos. None,” Enrile said in the video posted on the Facebook Account of the son and namesake of the late president.
Binay said her father was arrested and jailed during the martial law regime, and that her mother, who was pregnant with her at the time, would visit him at the detention center.
As a girl, she said, her nickname was “Maki” for makibaka, a Filipino word for “struggle and revolution.”
She also remembered joining protests, marching from Buendia in Makati to Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila, and grew up participating in rallies against the Marcos regime.
She said it is only Enrile who can say why he has a different recollection of martial law.
But Binay said she knows what is true, and remembers visiting political prisoners such as Satur Ocampo and Crispin Beltran during Christmas.
The son of the late senator Jose Diokno said Marcos’ interview with Enrile was “torture” that further insulted the victims of martial law.
In an interview on the program Dobol B sa News TV, Diokno denied Enrile’s claim that his father did not want to be released from prison.
“What Enrile said in his interview was painful. After all, he knows the truth,” Diokno said in Filipino. “If you were detained without reason, I think you’d want to be released.”
He added that his father was psychologically tortured by his illegal detention—which could not be dismissed as “an inconvenience,” as Enrile said.
On the program News to Go, former senator Rene Saguisag said Enrile was “demented” for claiming nobody died during the martial law years under Marcos.
Saguisag—himself jailed during the martial law years—said Enrile was Senate president when the human rights compensation bill became a law.
“The Marcos regime destroyed the natural evolution of our leaders,” Saguisag said.
“Many of the young, promising leaders... their flower of youth was nipped in the bud. If we were to name them one by one, we’d run out of time,” he said.