What was the alternative to martial law?

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“Although many abuses were committed by the military during the martial law years, that does not mean that there were no factual and legal bases for the proclamation of martial law.

Local communists have misguided sympathizers in Congress, the academe, the local and international media, so-called human rights organizations serving as communist fronts and the left-leaning members of the clergy. They also have strategic allies in the Liberal Party (LP) who are determined to oust President Rodrigo Duterte from office.

Last month, on the 46th anniversary of martial law in the Philippines, the local communists, their sympathizers and their strategic allies had a swell time bashing President Ferdinand Marcos and his martial law regime.

There was nothing new in their criticism of martial law. Since time immemorial, they associate martial law with mass arrests and detention, prisoner torture and the overused catch-all phrase “violation of human rights.”

Their common mantra was “never again to martial law,” an indication that they are unaware that the 1987 Constitution acknowledges the power of the President to resort to martial law to protect national security.

The big irony is that these anti-martial law groups are supported by some of the surviving members of the unelected 1986 Constitutional Commission that drafted the present Charter which, as stated above, authorizes presidential resort to martial law.

“Communism does not tolerate free speech and dissent. All media will be under strict state control and censorship will be imposed everywhere.

Those commissioners were appointed by then President Corazon Cojuangco Aquino for their anti-Marcos elements. They include the meddling Hilario Davide Jr., the partisan political ex-chief justice who behaves more like a stooge of the LP than a former magistrate and Jose Luis Gascon, the aging human rights commissioner who is suspiciously oblivious to the human rights violations committed during the term of his lord and master, ex-President Benigno Aquino III.

Criticizing martial law during the Marcos administration is one thing. Portraying it to the current generation of young Filipinos as an absolutely detestable chapter in Philippine history, as the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is currently undertaking through its numerous fronts, is something else.

The red perspective of martial law is obviously biased against Marcos and ignores what good the martial law regime brought to the nation. Although there were mass arrests and tortures committed by the military, it must be stressed that martial law in 1972 was resorted to because the threat of a communist takeover of the country was real and imminent.

Back in 1971, the CPP admitted that it was determined to overthrow the duly-constituted government of the Philippines, by violence and force of arms if necessary. After toppling the government under Marcos, the CPP intended to replace it with a Maoist state, in the model of Communist China.

The violent strategy of the CPP is confirmed by the Plaza Miranda bombing in August 1971 where grenades killed and injured many who attended the proclamation rally of the LP, the opposition party of the period, for the November 1971 election.

After 1986, ex-communist cadres revealed that CPP chief Jose Ma. Sison was the mastermind of the Plaza Miranda bombing. The bombing was designed to destabilize the government by instigating the public to blame the incident on Marcos.

Months prior to the proclamation of martial law, CPP cadres tried to smuggle to Cagayan two ship loads of firearms, munitions and explosives from Communist China. The plot failed because they were discovered by the military and one ship sank because of a typhoon off the coast of Luzon.

Even the print and broadcast media, which were openly critical of Marcos in early 1972, revealed the extent of the communist insurgency in the country. Violent demonstrators repeatedly attacked Malacañang amid loud chants praising Mao Tse-Tung, the founder of Communist China.

Similar communist insurgencies were raging in neighboring countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Clearly, martial law was resorted to by President Marcos to fight the communist insurgency. This aspect of martial law, however, is not mentioned in the anti-Marcos, anti-martial law political propaganda currently being disseminated by the CPP and its allies.

Martial law put an end to the narcotics menace plaguing the Philippines when Lim Seng, the biggest drug lord in the country, was convicted by a military tribunal and executed by firing squad. Other drug lords fled abroad after the execution was broadcast on television.

The Lim Seng execution is never mentioned in the anti-martial law propaganda peddled by the CPP and its allies and sympathizers. If they will mention it in future propaganda, chances are they will say that the drug lord was a victim of human rights abuses.

Martial law also saw the arrest of CPP leaders like Jose Ma. Sison and Bernabe Buscayno. Their arrest incapacitated the communist movement.

Although many abuses were committed by the military during the martial law years, that does not mean that there were no factual and legal bases for the proclamation of martial law. Even the Supreme Court sustained the proclamation.

“There is no solution available in denouncing anything and everything about martial law.

Moreover, martial law in 1972 was an experiment authorized by the 1935 Constitution. It was an experiment because no other peacetime President before Marcos resorted to it.

Precisely because martial law was an experiment, many of its consequences were beyond reasonable anticipation.

Legal action should be taken against the soldiers responsible for abuses committed during martial law. There is no solution available in denouncing anything and everything about martial law, as what the communist propagandists want to disseminate.

What was the alternative to martial law in 1972? Communist propagandists conveniently refuse to discuss this matter. As much as possible, they do not want anybody to know that a communist takeover would have meant worse times for the Filipino people.

Communism does not tolerate free speech and dissent. All media will be under strict state control and censorship will be imposed everywhere. Political opposition leaders will be executed as “traitors to the revolution” or thrown in “re-education camps,” a euphemism for military stockades for political prisoners. The tortures attributed to martial law will continue under communist masters.

Under a communist government, education will be controlled by the State and school children will be indoctrinated with constant communist propaganda. Religion will be abolished or strictly restrained. Food and prime commodities will be rationed. Travel abroad will be prohibited. Local travel will be severely restricted. Private property will be abolished and luxuries will be available only to CPP leaders and choice communist party officials.

The local communists hate martial law because it effectively prevented them from seizing power.

So the next time martial law is the topic of discussion and we want an objective discourse on the matter, let us not forget to consider what would have happened to the Philippines if martial law was not resorted to in September 1972.

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