By Raïssa Robles
I would like to thank the International Christian Organisation of the Media for this highly unexpected award. I would also like to thank Jose Aranas, Editor of the Focolare New City Magazine, who nominated me.
It is one that I will cherish, knowing that this award was only made possible with the help of so many people. I have a very lengthy ‘thank you’ list in my book Marcos Martial Law: Never Again.
For tonight, I would like to thank my husband Alan, my editor, fellow journalist and personal chef combined. The book Marcos Martial Law: Never Again is as much his as mine. He outlined the broad strokes while I filled in the details. He wrestled with my rebellious sentences.
My thanks to my son who endured late meals.
The book designer Felix Mago Miguel gave this book on torture and atrocities an elegant design without detracting from its horrific content.
The publisher, Filipinos for a Better Philippines, fully supported this book from start to finish. And kept nudging me and nudging me to finish.
I am also very grateful to all my friends in social media, on Facebook and Twitter, especially to the members of Cyber Plaza Miranda – people who congregate in my political website to debate, exchange ideas and information – because they kept my blog alive last year when I was secretly writing this book.
Why the need for secrecy, you might ask.
Let me answer by first citing the Holy Bible, which quoted Jesus as saying, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”
What the Holy Bible didn’t say, was that before you get to know the truth and the truth sets you free, that period in between is quite scary.
There were times when I was writing this book – and my schedule for writing was like eight in the morning to 12 midnight – there were actually times I would fall asleep while seated in front of my PC and then decide to go to bed because I was sleeping more than writing.
Exhausted, I would fall asleep quickly . Then vivid dreams would start of someone being tortured and I was next. I would wake up suddenly and tell myself, wait a minute, I was never an activist. I was never tortured.
One thing I dreaded to do, but which I knew would make this book complete, was to interview those who had been accused of torture. I interviewed them, not because I wanted to shame them. But because I waned to understand how the best and the brightest could torture fellow Filipinos – ho they feel about what they had done, and hw, somehow, there could be a healing and redemption. Or would the wound caused by the torture continue to fester in the body politic.
For months I postponed doing this, wondering how I would have the courage to ask someone whether he had tortured people. Finally, after lots of prayers, I did.
You know, I have for many years now a lover’s quarrel with the Lord. I will not go into detail why. But last year I prayed a lot for strength of spirit. Because the truth that I uncovered was so terrible to behold.
There were times, while reading the cases of torture and transcribing my interviews, that I would find myself crying at the inhumanity of it all. It was those times that I wrestled with my prose to make sure that my emotions did not intrude into the historical narrative.
Two of the sources I interviewed specifically asked me not to name them. One allowed me to name him after his death. The other – a torture victim – did not want to be named even now, no matter how I tried to persuade him. He said, the military had not changed at all and he still feared what it might do to him. One of his torturers is dead while the other has retired and is now a “gentleman farmer”.
In his case, the truth has not set him free but has in fact gagged him.
One of the basic human rights that the Marcos dictatorship took away from Filipinos was “freedom of expression”. His downfall restored the right of ordinary citizens to criticize government and its officials and to seek redress for their grievances. Exercising the right of “freedom of expression” is what helps shape democracy. In our country, the government exists for the good of the people and not the other way around.
Don’t believe those who say that we have had no progress in our democracy since 1986. When Marcos fell, one out of every two Filipinos was dismally poor. Today, it is one out of every four. But much remains to be done and only a people discussing, debating with each other, criticizing government policies and suggesting solutions can help make this happen.
My book, Marcos Martial Law: Never Again, shows that a constitutional dictatorship, like what Marcos put in place, will not work. Ever. There is no such thing, either, as a “benevolent dictatorship”. That is all in the mind of a dictator.
One thing that a dictator hates is freedom of expression because he believes he alone is right and should be obeyed. No questions asked.
Now what I’m about to say may not sit well with some of you. Still, I have to say it because I believe you need to know it. You need to know that today, freedom of expression has become a threat to freedom of expression.
That is most apparent on Facebook and Twitter, which were intended to promote social networking but have now turned into anti-social sites filled with venom and hate.
Anyone who writes an opinion that is contrary to government policy, especially its “war on drugs”, is immediately dog-piled, mobbed, cursed and threatened.
Digging for the truth has again become more dangerous and scary, especially for journalists whose assigned role in society is to chronicle truth.
In closing, let me again quote the Bible, this time from the first book of Peter the Apostle who said, “Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil.”
And good night.
CNN Phil chANEL 9 digongs arrival from China.
Duterte: No severance of ties with the U.S. the Filipinos in the states will/might kill him. only separation on foreign policy from the US. policy. Diplomatic ties not.
Duterter: ON WpS/Scarborough Shoal fishing ground, He left it to China how they will deal with it for a few days. no follow up question on how many days, months, years. remains to be seen.
24BUS$ soft loan. 2M jobs for 5 years ( 400K job/ year) in what capacity i dont know.
in 2002 there is some US man who stayed in hotel in Davao, with explosives and the hotel was burned, the man was taken to makati and shanghaid to US by some fbi people. Michael Meiring.
was questioned who could be between Clinton and Trump he get along with it.
his answer was stateman: he said, he does not want to gamble an answer, may result to antagonism.
when he was asked how he thinks that he is being compare to Trump style of …. digong said that those are valid issues. that with multi-cultural, diffferent religions tolerance should be paramount. and reason for terrorism was somehow provided by the states.
Duterte goes bananas
China will peel The Philippines like a ripe banana, and Duterte will slip ass over head on the discarded skin.
China kills filipinos from selling illegal drugs!
China illegally defiles and rapes the sovereignty of The Philippines!
China abuses and plunders nations which it ‘colonises’ through ‘soft’ loans followed by hard labor!
Duterte makes China his best friend and tells them what is ours is now yours, help yourself!
Duterte wants to be ‘top banana’ as he sets up a new political capital in Davao, courtesy of chinese money, and turns the philippines into a banana republic. Delusional, despicable, divisive, and dangerous.
With state sponsored killings and with the PNP inciting hatred, it will divide the nation and create an army of little duterte’s consumed by the envy and anger which Duterte likes to project onto others, and create strife which can then be used as an excuse to extend emergency powers/introduce a revolutionary government.
Duterte’s real war is against democracy, as he and the mindanao mafia establish an authoritarian regime by stoking up emotional fervour and painting the US as the villain, with China as the saviour.
His mind conditioning will destroy the nation if anger becomes a cultural characteristic and the philippines goes from being known for hospitality to hostility.
“Communism arouses anger in the masses with real or alleged injustices which scandalize them to the depths of their conscience. Hence, according to circumstances it will be the “reactionaries”, foreigners, whites, or the Church which will be accused of the most abominable crimes. The aggressive instinct will then operate in support of “justice” — that is, in a manner hostile to the institution which is to be destroyed”
“A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny”
Anybody here familiar with company-to-company loan which supposedly made up the bulk ($15 billion) of what Dutertard was able to secure in his mendicant Chinese trip? Is that a loan agreement between Chinese and Filipino private companies?
If so, anong Philippine private corporation ang involved? Is it covered by a sovereign guarantee?
Also, kailangan bantayan natin yung other loan package na $9 billion na pinautang ng private Chinese bank sa Philippine gov’t.
One of Dutertard’s election promises is transparency in gov’t transactions. Tutukan natin kung anong gagawin nya dyan sa $9 billion up to the last penny.
Good questions to ask.
Dugtong ko lang po…
Tutukan natin kung anong gagawin nya dyan sa $9 billion up to the last penny dahil tayong lahat ang magbabayad nyan thru taxes.
At the end of Aquino’s term, our total external debt is $70 billion accumulated over the years including the terms of other presidents.
Just 4 months into Dutertards term, dinagdagan nya na kaagad ng $24 billion.
totoo ba yan? link pls.
Gems Vann says
Siege on Duterte ignited. Rightfully so!
New York Times columnist critical of US cowering to lightweight Philippines advocating US to abandon Philippines since it’s not helpful at all with US security considering its lack of military power.
According to cyberspy, handful of Congressmen wanted to vent their ire on Duterte by totally stopping aid to Philippines and accept the challenge of Duterte. Their hindrance is current situation to win reelection. Expect a vociferous high ranking Republican from New York as vicious and hard hitting like Duterte to give a speech against Philippines foreign aid in US budget.
Cabinet secretaries of Duterte softening hard stance of Duterte creating a confused foreign policy never before seen in Philippine government. It’s all because of Duterte!
Why does Duterte have to promise to China to abandon US to trade in volumes with the Philippines when it captured dissolved national railways and broadband ZTE contracts before during GMA administration without any promises? Duterte is selling the Philippines to China for personal vendetta on his visa entry humiliation caused by his own stupidity of losing his entry papers in Brazil.
When are you FILIPINOS going to wake up? Too late the heroes or Sleeping lazy hobbits are afraid to die!
He he he
terribly agree! about time estados unidos take digong by the collar and shake him up a bit.
estados unidos should stop being colonial minded and not wait to be served, it’s enough that digong has repeated his anti american stance quite often now and in the world stage pa. wait until americans are killed on the street of pinas, their business burned and thrashed, the country off limits to americans – is that what estados unidos is waiting? americans in libya waited too long until all thier staff in libyan embassy got killed. learned any lessons yet, america?
por bida, estados unidos should now take the lead and freeze all pinas assests in america, withheld aid and donations of any kind pending on talks. for once, have both digong and his admin on the same table and talk face to face with them. hear what they have to say, hwag yong digong say one thing while in dabaw, his admin say another while in malakanyang, and nothing gets understood. estados unidos should now know that this is a ploy to confuse them, keep them on tenterhooks, waiting for the formalities that are not likely to come. for that would not be in digong’s best interest.
confront reality once and for all. so what if estados unidos has invested so much in pinas? friendship, trust and businesses, all gone to waste? it’s better to know than not to know. gambling gone bad. bad investment can be written off. people do recover from bad investments.
estados unidos should wake up now.
TO ALL CHILDREN OF PARENTS WHO HAVE DIVORCED OR SEPARATED
You are a victim of rebalancing. Whatever that means. Ask Pernia or Andanar.
Which makes me think, Duterte rebalanced with Ms Zimmerman by going to Honeylet. Maybe Inday and Paolo and Baste understands this, I am so confused.
kung ako lang, I wont go there. the whole duterte clan stinks.
what I mind the most is what is happening in our country.
For purposes of a healthy discourse, I would like to solicit your opinion on the recent actions of Duterte. Do you think he has committed a “Betrayal of Public Trust” due to his declaration of severance of military and economic relationships with the US? Therefore he can be subjected to an impeachment case? He did not divulge this during the campaign period, and, this is against the recent survey of public opinion which shows a 76% trust rating for the US and -33% mistrust rating against China. The Supreme Court cited this phrase in the Constitutional Commissions discussion as” Acts which are just short of being criminal but constitute gross faithlessness against public trust, tyrannical abuse of power, inexcusable negligence of duty, favoritism, and gross exercise of discretionary powers.”
@martial law baby
This may be simplistic but I think the China visit of PDu30 is nothing but a Chinese opera and is mainly a Chinese production. The purpose of the visit was for China to gloat to the world how they have PDu30 -and the entire Philippines- at the palm of their hands. And Pdu30 just gladly played his role to the hilt.
Even China knows that the over riding motive of Du30 is to fend off answering for his criminal past and they simply took advantage of that fact. They will not talk about it for as long as Du30 will not pursue the WPS issue.
The Marcoses were brought along to be introduced as Du30s understudy to ensure complete Chinese domination of the Philippines.
Du30 did not just commit betrayal of public trust. He committed treason. And now it is up to us to use creative imagination to undo what he has done.
I say, start the impeachment process. we cannot have two heads of state, digong and that of his admin, both giving differing statements. one says aye, the other says nay. undermining one another and always in see saw, up and down, pendulum swinging, tick tock tick tock . . . unable to reach desired level.
our independence should be asserted, not compromised by digong’s dependence on china. not compromised too by his admin that’s forever groping for answers, often contradictory. fire them all! let’s start anew. both digong and his admin are traitorous, both betrayers of public trust and looking only after their own skins. prolong-ers of the suffering of the people that wants clarity and clear vision.
Is it possible that the Marcoses are trying to get Ferdinand’s gold back from the US through Duterte?
anything is possible.
Close bit not on target.
Kahit entrée lang
I hope Raïssa would share her opinion, if not modest speculation on this rather subtle ‘party crash’ of the Marcos siblings to DU30’s china entourage. Heh he heh
To keep it short, this surprising and rather different tact on DU30’s foreign policy can be very interesting for the Phils. As yet, it is subliminal since DU30, as I have opined in the past, is a man of many contradictions. Too early to say that he is consistent thru & through.
What I can say, IMO, we shouldn’t as yet underestimate his tactfulness in so far his soon candidness with regional bloc relationship between ASEAN member nations, to include South Korea, Japan & Taiwan – WITH THAT OF THE European Nations and the USA.
I’d like though to read or hear from former DFA Secretary C Purisima. If he too can be candid why the Phils. joined the AIIB. Kahit konti lang ginoong C Purisima without spilling the beans, so to speak (as opposed to DU30 Speak).
DFA SecretaryDepartment of Finance C Purisima
Yes, the gold story is true and I know hidden somewhere in the wrong hands, and because of a power that is over us , the wealth is destined , going to be distributed to humankind if goodness wins. But because humans are still humans and need material wealth to be happy, forces are uniting to keep the wealth in their hands through aligning with the foes considered before. All roads and gold go to Russia is the silent movement now.
You never know the biggest mistake if THE WOMAN WINS. I have the notion that Duterte who was and is still compared to Trump was just used to see how people would react with this kind of a rogue personality just like Trump.And some people like the Marcoses who have agendas to reclaim all the wealth that they perceived as theirs and they lost think this is the best time using DO30 TO GO FORWARD. But Trump in all his brashness is very unlike D030 for he is uniting America and doesn’t entertain war and destruction to any country.
What Gemsvann is mentioning here is true, if Trump wins, expect a different (mis)treatment for Filipinos in the US, is it a loss for Us or for the PH? IT IS A BIG WIN FOR AMERICA actually for this is consolidation of all jobs and aids to be kept inside the country thangoing out and giving away to third world countries like the PH.As they say, it is time for them to stand on their own which is exactly what Do30 wants anyway, we get our own medicine in our own way. It is a loss to the PH for Do30 made the easy way out. Civil war? It is a tinder for one big war. For the love of gold!
adrian, estados unidos can easily freeze marcoses assests, nothing goes out, nothing goes in.
It will be nice if you have an upcoming article in your plate, to write or opinion on this –
Imee Marcos and Bong Bong Marcos as members PDU30’s party group in China’s trip. (http://globalnation.inquirer.net/147161/duterte-to-meet-chinas-president-and-premier-in-historic-visit)
@yvonne, @sup, @moonie have already commented on this. Mine is merely a follow up hoping our dearest blog host has something on special.
The way things are moving in the present administration, i am convinced that duterte cannot be trusted. As such, i do not want the present constitution to be changed, amended, or revised.
NO TO CHA CHA!
no rin ako. senate is being ruled by monkey eating bananas, peelings thrown here and there, slippery. likewise, congress is ruled by peanut pickers! this is not the right time to change our consti. the way things are going, china will have the most input, directly or indirectly.
I’m so hoping norway will wake up and realized the peace talks happening there is actually war council.
always NO to cha-cha.
it is the common battle cry and alibi of all with vested interests inherent in most of our leaders…
Gems Vann says
WARNING TO DUTERTE!
Mark it on stone, the next US president is Clinton.
Duterte does not like Ovama because he is black and Duterte had bad blood with black american people from his visa denial.
Duterte is a misogynist so being surrogates by a woman even if she is US president is not palatable to Duterte. He will defy and curse her because that’s the natural behavior of Duterte against women.
Duterte despises Putin, to the point of calling a trump as Putin’s puppet. Duterte being friendly and allying with Putin will not sit well with Clinton and her boys.
Duterte publicly declared separation of PHL from US economically and militarily. DTI Sec Lopez told CNN in Beijing that PHL will continue economic trade and investment, at the same time denying that Duterte talked about separation.
US has started giving official notice to PHL government to clarify on Duterte’s statement of “0separation I”. US will start putting their feet down on Duterte’s mouth and throat. Playing US like a buffoon is a dangerous game being played by Duterte and his cabinet secretaries. Duterte says something maligning and discrediting US while his cabinet will deny to appease US.
“Fool me once but you can’t fool me twice”
Duterte is making Philippines a dangerous place to live for the Filipinos.
He he he
Gems Vann says
Correction- Clinton(not Duterte) despises Putin
THE ACRONYM FOR DUTERTE’s NEW ALLIANCE
C.R.A.P. – China, Russia and Philippines against the world
Against the might of the nuclear-powered U.S., UK, France, Germany, Japan, among many – KO in first round especially PH who has no missile and missile cover.
Digong got mad with U.S., UN and EU because they criticized his EJK while china lauded it. Digong doesn’t represent the sentiment of all Filipinos until it is approved through a referendum. He was overwhelmingly elected on his promise of eradicating/minimizing the menace of shabu and not on his leaning with the communists.
It’s time a change in administration must be effected by hook or by crook SOONEST while the Oslo peace talk is still on-going.
or, Socialists China, Russia And Phils.
Raissa, would it be possible for you to investigate on what Duterte gave up to get the $9B soft loans and $3B credit form China? It is just impossible for China to give that economic windfall to Duterte without getting anything in return. Chinese never give anything for free. Just like your book, this investigation would certainly be a great service to us and to our country.
Gems Vann says
Raissa is on right track with her blog ” Is Duterte playing US and China”
Like a double agent, Duterte is living dangerously at the expense of the Filipino people.
US and China are not fools to be played by Duterte. His play on China will result to China eventually taking Scarborough Shoal permanently making Duterte guilty of abandoning sovereign rights of PHL on the island, an act of treason punishable by impeachment.
in his dreams! digong thinking he’s playing estados unidos and china? he’ll get his fingers burned!
estados unidos can exist without us, china likewise. already china got most of our assets. china got the bananas, and we got the peelings.
even the peelings are taken.
dagta na lang binawasan pa.
ano? mauuto ni bduts ang tseqwa?
sabi ng katabi ko, ultimo kuko ng tseqwa may utak…
Here’s a call to Duterte’s lemmings in the U.S.:
Your leader Duterte has now severed ties with the U.S. You can all now follow his lead and go back to the Philippines and be happy that you will be closer to your idol.
Not all dutertards support digong’s unilateral “separation” from the US. He made a major and controversial change of foreign policy ALONE without popular support, not even from his cabinet and congress.
Digong needs a massive dose of marijuana to cure his worsening dementia – the kind that affects a part of his brain that is usually fatal like what happened to Charmian Carr, the actress best known as Liesl von Trapp, the eldest of the von Trapp family in “Sound of Music,” who passed away recently from complication of dementia at aged 73