TagMartial Law

Between a rock and hard place …

Between a rock and hard place …” was first published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on November 5, 2016. (Pilipino version: “Nasa Pagitan ng Nag-uumpugang Bato“)

Is where the Supreme Court justices find themselves. Expected in September to rule on the interment of Ferdinand Marcos’ remains in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, they set the issuance of their ruling to October, and then to Nov. 8.

Shortly after assuming power, PRRD directed the military to prepare for the Marcos burial in the Libingan, an order forestalled by an appeal lodged at the Supreme Court. He has since said he would accept the high court’s verdict.

Notwithstanding this assurance, it is imprudent, even for members of a coequal branch of government, who presumably know the law as well as PRRD, to defy the decision of a popular president. But can they render, in deference to the President, a judgment whose wisdom future generations of lawyers will question and that will indelibly mark their respective places in the history books?

The agreement that allowed the Marcos family’s return to the Philippines included the condition that Marcos’ remains stay in his region. PRRD believes he can rescind this agreement, arguing that the Libingan, which had been established for soldiers and presidents, should make room for Marcos, who had served as both.

Continue reading

Edilberto de Jesus
Edilberto de Jesus is a former Secretary of Education. He is also professor emeritus at the Asian Institute of Management.

‘He said….’ ‘They said….’

‘He said….’ ‘They said….’” was first published in the Philippine Star on March 18, 2016

“Let us leave history to the professors,” said Sen. Bongbong Marcos, dismissing calls for him to apologize for the crimes committed during the Marcos Martial Law regime. The Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) faculty responded, denouncing Bongbong’s “willful distortion of our history” by the attempt to “whitewash the Marcos regime’s wanton violation of human rights and to distort its political-economic record.”

Bongbong Marcos was equally dismissive of this response: “they have the right to their opinion. We’ll agree to disagree.” With this rejoinder, Bongbong picked up more people with whom to disagree. The presidents of the five Jesuit universities in the country signed the ADMU faculty statement. The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP), consisting of over 1250 institutions, also adopted the statement as its own.

It is the case of sexual assaults that often prompts the classic “he said, she said” controversies. These crimes usually happen behind closed doors, in secluded areas, without witnesses. Investigators are confronted by conflicting versions of the event, with one party claiming a consensual encounter and another alleging the use of violence.

The rape of a person ordinarily happens in private. But in the 20th century, the rape of a country (which does include the rape and murder of persons), especially when perpetrated over an extended period, can no longer happen in secret.

Continue reading

Edilberto de Jesus
Edilberto de Jesus is a former Secretary of Education. He is also professor emeritus at the Asian Institute of Management.

Forces that made People Power possible: The role of the press

From a Speech at a Conference “Overcoming Dictatorship: 30 Years of People Power” organized by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) on Thursday, February 4, 2016 at the Discovery Primea, Makati City.

I guess this is the time of the year when Filipinos of my age are drawn out of the closet as it were for some airing – so we can share Memory. I am happy and honored to be here, to fulfill one of the roles assigned to the older generation, to help the nation recall milestone events in our history so we can learn from the past.

A knowledge of the past helps us to better understand the present and guides us as we move forward into the future with care and with wisdom.

Those who lived through those years know that the events of February 1986 did not erupt out of a vacuum.

The force of People Power drew from diverse resources, energized by different stakeholders, as individuals or in groups, who having lived during the extended period of the Marcos regime, determined it was time to act to change the course of history. There was a process involved to make it possible for the nation to come together in collective strength.

Continue reading

Marcos: Dead, not gone

Marcos: Dead, not gone” was first published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Nov. 28, 2015 (Pilipino version: “Marcos: Patay na’y natiro pa“)

Past is past, Bongbong says of dark Marcos years.” This Inquirer headline (10/22/15) recalls novelist William Faulkner’s oft-quoted statement: “The past is not dead. It is not even past.”

The announcement early this week by Christie’s, the jewelry auction house, illustrated Faulkner’s point. Christie’s discovered that an item described as “loose crystal” among over 700 pieces of jewelry left behind by the Marcoses in their flight to Hawaii was actually an “extremely rare” pink diamond believed to belong to a Mogul emperor. The entire Marcos jewelry collection was initially valued in 1991 at between $5 million and $8 million. Christie’s estimated the Mogul diamond alone as worth $5 million.

This reminder of martial law plunder rebuts Sen. Bongbong Marcos’ insistence that Filipinos should just leave the Marcos legacy to discussions among “historical analysts.” Current concerns, such as the deterioration of the educational system, domestic insurgencies, and impunity, have deep roots in the Marcos past. Historians will study the past to illuminate the problems of the present and the options for the future.

US President Barack Obama used the Faulkner quote to remind Americans that the current crises in the black community can be traced back to inequalities suffered by earlier generations under the brutal legacy of slavery. The current violence in the United States arising from race relations cannot be understood or effectively addressed without understanding its historical context. The history of human rights violations during the Marcos regime is not of the same scale and duration as those suffered by the American black community. But it requires the same comprehension of context.

Continue reading

Edilberto de Jesus
Edilberto de Jesus is a former Secretary of Education. He is also professor emeritus at the Asian Institute of Management.

The luck of Bongbong Marcos

The luck of Bongbong Marcos” was first published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Oct. 17, 2015 (Pilipino version: “Ang Suerte ni Bongbong Marcos“)

“I am the luckiest person that I know and being a Marcos is part of that and I am very happy that I was born into the Marcos family,” said Bongbong Marcos.

Obvious ba? Did Bongbong really have to rub this in?

When he was born in 1957, his father, Ferdinand Marcos, was already completing a third term in Congress. Two years later, Ferdinand won a seat in the Senate, from where he launched two successful presidential campaigns. Faced with term limits, he then imposed a martial law regime that enabled him to retain supreme power for another 14 years. There were few disadvantages for the only son of the Philippines’ most powerful politician.

It was not Bongbong’s fault to be born to wealth and power, and it is an act of virtue to express gratitude for the benefits received from parents. But his filial piety becomes suspect when he suggests that the blessings he enjoyed also spread to the rest of the population. It becomes delusional when he asserts that Ferdinand was the best leader the country has ever had.

Continue reading

Edilberto de Jesus
Edilberto de Jesus is a former Secretary of Education. He is also professor emeritus at the Asian Institute of Management.

© 2017 Second Thoughts

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑