July 23, 2024

I was in Manila last Wednesday to attend to a case at the Manila City Hall.

The driver who ferried me passed through the Nagtahan Bridge exiting Mendiola fronting the Malacañang Palace. We were caught in traffic while entering Recto Avenue because within the vicinity of the San Beda College was a group of students holding a protest. I got curious and asked the driver to slow down so I can hear what their leader was saying and I can read what is printed in their placards and posters.

The leader of the rally was shouting “Never again to Martial Law.” He was repeatedly saying this, indulging his audience to shout back as well. Some had their faces painted with red and black. They waived their placards, posters and banners that had written all over it the alleged evils of Martial Law.

One placard, in particular, blames Marcos for human rights abuses and demands for retribution. Another poster imputes the crimes of imperialism and fascism against the regime of Marcos. As to who is the Marcos they are referring to, whether the past or the current, is quite vague.

One thing is noticeable. These kinds of protests are held every September. It had become a yearly event. And, every year, the participants are getting younger and more passionate.

Most are probably just in their teens. Yet, they speak as if they lived to see the years of the Martial Law. They act as if they were the victims of Martial Law. They protest as if the rise and fall of the country depended on the outcome of their cries. Ah, the adventures of the youth and the misconception of their ideals.

I was almost tempted to confront them and tell them that, apparently, they are allowing themselves to be used by propagandists who have their own agenda with no concern for the welfare of those they recruit.

But I was late for my trial and cannot afford to be a pacifier of sorts. If at all, these children do not need slogans to bolster their self-esteem. What they need are baby-sitters who can tell them when and how to behave.

I cannot, however, help but wonder where these people got the idea that there is a possibility that martial law might once again be declared. There are no prevailing situations that merit the declaration of martial law.

We are not in a state of violence not rebellion nor sedition. Furthermore, a declaration of martial law, as per the Philippine Constitution, is practically improbable. What with all the safeguards instituted by the Cory government, martial law is nothing more than a pipe dream for any president to declare. There must be an agreement among all the three departments of the government before there can be a martial law.

For instance, before the President may declare martial law, Congress must convene and concur. Thereafter, the declaration must be decreed constitutional by the Supreme Court.

So, you see, those who rally against the declaration of martial law have no cause of action, so to speak. And yet, they insist on going the mile, exposing their radical ideas to no avail. It is so much a waste of time, if I may say.

Perhaps, those I saw rallying are doing so because they are anti-Marcos. Surely, they are not doing it for money nor are they doing it for love. You see, martial law will always be associated with the Marcos regime. Every time the ills of Martial Law is mentioned, it is always integrated with Marcos. Some misguided elements of our society have been brainwashed into believing that everything about martial law is evil.

If it is, why were former presidents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Rodrigo Duterte, who both declared martial law under the same guise as what Ferdinand Marcos, Sr. gave as a reason, spared the rod of protest? Is it because the present leader is Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.?

The sooner we realize that we have to move on from the Martial Law era, the sooner we can attain order in our country. The sooner we let go of our hatred against the Marcoses, the sooner we can be united as a people.