Martial law ‘precisely the very tool to save democracy’ — Palace
MANILA, Philippines — Martial law is the “tool to save democracy” in the country but it should not be abused, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said on Sunday.
Panelo made the remark a day after the Philippines commemorated the 47th anniversary of the proclamation of martial law under dictator and former President Ferdinand Marcos.
“Those who perceive that a declaration of martial law is anti-democratic is oblivious of the fact that its application is precisely the very tool to save the exercise of democracy. It is only when it is clothed with abuse by its enforcers that it becomes obnoxious,” Panelo said in a statement.
“Necessarily, its proclamation arises only upon constitutional dictates. Any violation thereof subject the transgressors to the wrath and vengeance of the Constitution,” he added.
The spokesman said that the declaration of martial law during the time of Marcos “instilled discipline among the citizenry at its inception, as well as reaping success in dismantling the then spreading communist insurgency in the country.”
Nevertheless, the Palace official said that the iron fist that was implemented created a “deep wound” on the next generations, which “continues to haunt those who have traumatic experiences during the one-man rule.”
On September 21, 1972, when martial law was declared, media outlets were ordered closed, and at least 8,000 individuals were arrested.
With this, Panelo said that the public should look to the lessons of the past in order to be guided in the future.
“Relative to our quest to strengthen the Republic and its institutions, the Palace urges everyone to look at the past to guide us on what to do with the present, that it may serve us better in the future,” he said.
Martial law, or Proclamation 1081, was then lifted in January 1981, but the term of Marcos ended in 1986 when the people gathered in the streets to overthrow him. /je
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