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MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/21 September) – President Ferdinand E. Marcos was a hero. He did great things for the country and for democracy by declaring Martial Law so that his vision of a New Society could prosper.

Consider: At least 10,000 people were arrested, many of them tortured, right after the declaration of Martial Law. Imagine what those 10,000 people could have done against society if they were not jailed and beaten or threatened with harm if they continued to protest his regime.

Never mind that a number of the detainees were salvaged (summarily killed). He had to eliminate some opponents to prove that he meant business. Dumping dead, mangled bodies where they can be seen or making people “disappear” after being arrested was necessary to compel obedience to the New Filipino Ideology. The dictator simply wanted to suppress the revolution led by the Left and replace it with his First Lady’s “Green Revolution”.

Marcos abolished Congress and usurped all government powers supported by the military and police. If he did not abolish Congress, he could not rule for life and realize his dream of bringing cloudless happiness to every Filipino.

Never mind if he rewarded [his] generals and close allies like Juan Ponce Enrile with logging concessions and other incentives. That was needed to keep them loyal.

The Marcos military became increasingly brutal with each passing day. Human rights groups had their hands full documenting abuses like illegal arrests, enforced disappearances, summary executions and massacres, and forced evacuations. But then, what will you do if military operations wouldn’t work against revolutionary groups and in the face of growing unrest even in urban areas? What human rights are they talking about?

So what if many of the victims were innocent? So what if Marcos sacrificed many innocent lives to save democracy. That should not make him a villain. He should be praised for his brutality since it had a noble purpose – saving democracy that he slew on midnight of September 22, 1972. (The Martial Law proclamation was dated September 21, 1972 but it was actually announced the day after by Francisco Tatad, Marcos’ information minister.)

Marcos’ rule was anything but a democracy? Look, he held presidential elections in 1981 and “lifted” Martial Law during his inauguration, where he abolished the New Society and replaced it with the New Republic. He would have invented another “New Whatever” if he were allowed to stay longer.

And never mind if the opposition boycotted the 1981 elections forcing Marcos to handpick an “opponent” in the person of an obscure retired general named Alejo Santos. Never mind too if, after the “lifting” of Martial Law, Marcos retained his decree-making powers and human rights violations worsened instead of decreased.

So, why deprive him of the privilege to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani? For Christ’s sake, bury him there. But first, transfer the remains of the others who are buried there. They don’t deserve his company. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. The author was an activist during Martial Law.)

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