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Fact-checking Enrile's claims on Martial Law


Former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile recently raised eyebrows for his statements debunking the atrocities committed during the Martial Law enforced in 1972 by then-President Ferdinand Marcos.

In a videotaped conversation with former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., Enrile said, among others, that no one was executed during Martial Law, and that the period ushered in the economic "golden age" of the Philippines.

In a report on Monday, News To Go fact-checked some of Enrile's claims:

CLAIMS NO. 1 AND 2: There were no political detainees nor killings during the Martial Law era.

  • GMA News Research shows that late Senators Ninoy Aquino, Jose Diokno, Francisco Rodrigo, several businesspersons, lawyers, journalists, and teachers were imprisoned during the 21-year period.
  • The book "Dark Legacy: Human Rights Under the Marcos Regime" by Alfred McCoy and reports by Amnesty International recorded 3,200 victims of extrajudicial killings, 77,000 political detainees, 3,500 torture victims, and more than 700 disappearances from 1975 to 1985.
  • 77 percent of the victims of extrajudicial killings were summarily executed.
  • Enrile himself signed the "Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013" or a law that recognizes victims of abuse during Martial Law as the Senate president.

CLAIM NO. 3: No massacres occurred during Martial Law.

  • 1,500 male Muslims were killed by government forces inside the Malisbong Mosque in what came to be known as the Malisbong massacre on September 24, 1976. Some women were also raped before they were killed.
  • Not lower than 42 were killed by uniformed men in Bingcul village on November 12, 1977.

CLAIM NO. 4: President Cory Aquino held exclusive power over the legislative side of government out of personal interest.

  • While Aquino released Proclamation No. 3, a provisional constitution giving the president sole control over legislation, the measure was taken until a new Congress could be elected under the new Constitution.

CLAIM NO. 5: Enrile was forced to join forces to overthrow Marcos as his life was threatened by the military junta formed by several generals to overthrow the government.

  • Enrile, the defense minister at the time, planned to proclaim himself as the leader of a ruling junta following the failed coup d'etat planned by the rebel group Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM).
  • Enrile asked for and received the support of then-AFP Vice Chief General Fidel Ramos, which led both to declare their defection from Marcos.
  • Both were influential in kicking off the EDSA People Power event that helped overthrow Marcos and end Martial Law.

—Rie Takumi/KBK, GMA News