Chairman Jose Luis Gascon of the Commission on Human Rights has confirmed the ties between his Liberal Party (LP) and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Gascon recently announced that a “Freedom Memorial Museum,” a seven-story building shaped like a clenched fist, will be constructed on a 14,000 square meter lot along C.P. Garcia Avenue inside the Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines (UP).
Its main architect, an unknown Mark Anthony Pait, says the clenched fist was the symbol of resistance during the “first quarter storm,” when violent student activism disrupted Manila from January 1970 to September 1972.
Pait’s team of architects was given P1-M for the museum design. Five other architects were paid a total of P1.25-M. That’s P2.25-million of public funds spent on architectural design alone.
In praising his own design, the 29-year old Pait declared, “During the years of martial law, it felt like you were imprisoned in your own country.” How Pait is able to say that with certainty, considering that he wasn’t even alive during the martial law years, is a mystery.
Gascon’s museum will house “reminders” of the martial law regime of President Ferdinand Marcos, including a so-called “Hall of Agony” which will depict torture methods purportedly used by the military during that period. Many of the exhibits are not suitable for children.
The propaganda strategy of Gascon’s museum is obvious.
President Marcos and martial law must be branded as evil. Pre-martial law period LP politicians led by Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr., together with the CPP’s communist cadres killed by the military during the anti-insurgency campaign that came with martial law, will be glorified in numerous exhibits.
The cadres, of course, will not be identified as communists but as victims of martial law. Their role in the communist movement will be downplayed. That way, their inclusion in the museum will be less unpalatable to the public.
Ultimately, LP politicians and communists will be enshrined as heroes at the expense of the government they tried to overthrow. This confirms the alliance between Gascon’s LP and the CPP.
In a stupefying climax, Corazon Aquino will be presented as the savior of the country for unseating President Marcos in the “bloodless” 1986 EDSA Revolution.
The propaganda strategy requires not mentioning that a communist insurgency threatened the country in 1972; that the proclamation of martial law in 1972 was authorized under the Constitution; and that the 1986 EDSA Revolution was bloodless because Marcos and the military establishment criticized by the LP and the Reds refused to harm anyone at EDSA.
Gascon’s museum will cost P500-M of taxpayers’ money to build. The funds for it are supposed to come from interest on money recovered from the Swiss bank accounts of President Marcos. Its completion is set for September 2022, the 50th anniversary of martial law in the Philippines. Gascon expects to boost his political ego through his museum.
The Constitution mandates that no public money shall be spent except through an appropriation made by law. Interest on money recovered from the Marcos Swiss bank accounts is public money. That money cannot be spent for Gascon’s museum, except through a law enacted by Congress. Why is Gascon silent on this fiscal detail?
The P2.25-M was already paid to the architects, and P500-M more will be spent on construction. Is that disbursement supported by a legislative appropriation and a public bidding?
Why spend P502.25-M on a structure deliberately designed to revive the communist insurgency identified with the first quarter storm and to encourage contempt for government authority and the military establishment? That money should be used to increase the salaries of public school teachers instead.
Is UP authorized by law to allow a permanent structure like Gascon’s propaganda museum to rise on 14,000 square meters of prime land in its Diliman campus?
Since millions of Filipino voters support the Marcos family, can the unelected Gascon and his unelected architects honestly claim that Marcos and his martial law regime were evil?
Whenever Gascon criticizes President Rodrigo Duterte, he does it through a spokesman. When promoting himself, he delights in speaking to the media personally. Why?
Anti-graft crusaders should take a good look at the blueprint of Gascon’s museum.