By: Elena Grace Flores
Philippine President Duterte says he wants to revive the Philippine Constabulary. The same law enforcement force blamed for human rights abuses during Martial Law under the late President Ferdinand Marcos.
Philippines is set to mark the 44th anniversary of the Martial Law declaration. President Rodrigo Duterte recalled history and announces his plan to revive the Philippine Constabulary or PC. The reason why many protestors were screaming their opposition not to bury Marcos in the Heroes Cemtery because he was allegedly not a hero.
Rule of Martial Law
He felt the need for the PC to fight urban terrorism.
“I will return the Philippine Constabulary under the 4 commands – army and the Philippine Constabulary because I need people in urban terrorism like the [Special Action Forces],” Duterte said in a speech before a military camp on Tuesday, September 20.
It was recorded that on September 21, 1972, Marcos signed Proclamation 1081, and that placed the Philippines under Martial Law to communist threat. The alleged ambush of then defense secretary Juan Ponce Enrile triggered the declaration. Marcos formally announced Martial law implementation on September 23, 1972.
The late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr had exposed “Oplan Sagittarius” during his September 13, 1972, privilege speech even before the declaration. Aquino spoke about the government placing Metro Manila and outlying areas under the PC control.
Critics of Dictatorship
The PC was the national police force that started during the American regime in 1901. It became part of the military later on -in charge of maintaining peace and order.
Their reputation was tainted when they were used to arrest those unruly critics of the government.
Martial Law Declaration
The PC took the lead in the implementation of strict peace and order policies. They were instrumental in taking over private establishments and arresting activists.
Another Presidential Decree 170, signed in April 1973, authorized the defense secretary to place any city or municipal police force under the discretion of the PC.
Human rights abuses
The martial law years came to be remembered by many as a time of strict discipline. But detractors used isolated deaths escalated by the media to paint massive human rights abuses. They blamed them on to the PC.
In various accounts, victims pointed to them as the ones behind the alleged torture and killings used later on by detractors to oust then President Marcos.
Why would President Duterte want it back? Those who have known men who were members of the PC can attest their utmost discipline in the tasks laid before them. The danger was with commanders who have different agenda.
While it seems that President Duterte is justifying most of Marcos’ actions during his time, the son, Bongbong Marcos hardly has any hand on this. As a Marcos loyalist, Duterte has studied everything that Marcos has done in the past – and for sure he knew what worked. Duterte is not somebody that can be dictated in the first place. It’s all his idea. Bongbong Marcos can only be flattered with someone following the footsteps of his father. Telling everybody that Marcos was a great President after all!