Palace: Martial Law declaration saved democracy

Chief Presidential Legal Counsel and Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo.

Almost five decades after the declaration of martial law, Malacañang recognized its necessity in dismantling the spreading communist insurgency and to save the country from the enemies of the state.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo sympathized with the victims of martial law abuses and urged the public to “reflect on this day to learn the lessons derived therefrom.”

“The imposition of martial law and the abuses it spawned even as it instilled discipline among the citizenry at its inception, as well as reaping success in dismantling the then spreading communist insurgency in the country, created a deep wound to an entire generation,” Panelo said in a statement on Sunday.

“Regardless of political persuasion, the Marcos martial law continues to haunt those who have traumatic experiences during the one-man rule. Perforce, it is best to reflect on this day to learn the lessons derived therefrom, using the same to unite us as one people and one country, ” he added.

Panelo also lashed at critics of martial law, declared on 21 September 1972 and lifted 17 January 1981, saying that those who perceive a declaration of martial law as anti-democratic is oblivious of the fact that it is the very tool to save democracy and that the abuse by enforcers made it obnoxious.

He added that even the framers of the 1987 Constitution acknowledged the necessity of the declaration.

“Despite the fears and the trauma it created following its declaration, the framers of the 1987 Constitution acknowledged the necessity of its use to save the Republic from ruin against the enemies of the state, deeming it wise to vest it once more with the President albeit diminishing its discretionary use by adding more safeguards for its abuse,” Panelo stated.

Malacañang also urged public to inquire into the country’s history and use it as a guide for a better future.

The late president Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of military rule allegedly resulted in human rights abuses. Amnesty International recorded about 70,000 prisoners, 34,000 tortured and 3,240 deaths during its nearly nine-year run.