Dismal turnout at anti-martial law rally

Last Wednesday, the 50th anniversary of Proclamation 1081 issued on 21 September 1972 by then president Ferdinand Marcos Sr. came and went with barely a remark from any person or organization of credible consequence.

Only a few noisy, left-leaning personalities and groups, and anti-Marcos and anti-administration radicals held protest activities in a number of areas.

They were largely ignored by everyone else, save for the few news reporters covering their activities.

As expected, a street inside the campus of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City hosted a protest activity that had all the trappings of godless communism and anti-administration propaganda.

The organizers of the activity claimed that they wanted the people to remember the alleged “evils” of martial law, and the attempts of the administration to revise the narrative of that period in Philippine history.

What aspects of the historical record about martial law they claimed was being subjected to “revisionism” was something the protesters were miserably unable to explain. They simply hid behind the general allegation that “martial law was evil.”

The attendance at the UP rally was anywhere from dismal to pitiful. Only a few noisy speakers and entertainers, who were probably paid to be there, were visible. The few others present were spectators who happened to be in the area, and some reporters and vendors.

Observers noted that most of the speakers suffered from a credibility problem. They were college students who never experienced the martial law period first hand, and were obviously relying only on hearsay claims peddled by radical elements, and slimy politicians from the much despised Liberal Party.

From the way they spoke, their speeches were manifestly rehearsed or even memorized, and they seemed desperate for media coverage and publicity.

Obviously, the bulk of the Filipino people ignored the protest activity in UP, and the few other similar ones held elsewhere.

A symposium on martial law was scheduled at the UP Bahay ng Alumni, but it was cancelled at the last minute, probably because the organizers felt that they may have a problem getting an audience. Baka langawin ang palabas.

One speaker invited to that symposium was a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission, the unelected body which drafted the woefully defective 1987 Constitution.

During the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, that commissioner was known to dish out legal opinions about, among others, constitutional rights, in the few television news programs that cared to interview the commissioner.

At the height of the ABS-CBN broadcast network’s legislative franchise controversy last year, the same commissioner insisted that the refusal of Congress to issue a new franchise to ABS-CBN is an abridgment of press freedom.

Soon thereafter, the Supreme Court released its decision in the ABS-CBN franchise case filed by the network before it.

The Court declared that under the Constitution, Congress has absolute discretion to issue or not to issue a legislative franchise, and neither the President nor the judiciary can meddle with that discretion.

More importantly, the Supreme Court ruled that the refusal of Congress to issue a new franchise to ABS-CBN is not an abridgment of press freedom.

That decision was written by Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe, who is now retired from the judiciary. It was promulgated in August 2020.

As expected, the ABS-CBN broadcasting empire and the few anti-administration politicians supporting the network are conveniently silent about the said decision of the Supreme Court.

For the historical record, all the commissioners of the 1986 Constitutional Commission were appointed by President Corazon Aquino herself. That is the main reason why many historians call the 1987 charter the “Cory Constitution.”

The 50th anniversary of martial law was ignored by many because the communists and pinklawan have been exposed for their distorted account of martial law, and the political power they enjoyed during the regimes of Presidents Corazon Aquino and Noynoy Aquino, due mainly to that distorted account.

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