The fight for justice by the victims of Martial Law is not over yet despite the lapse of 49 years after the “painful and atrocious regime” was imposed by the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos in 1971.
In a strongly-worded statement, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) called on the public to always be watchful for “such atrocities and human rights abuses done during the implementation of Martial Law would never transpire again.”
“Patuloy na naninindigan ang Komisyon na hindi pa tapos ang laban upang makamit ang hustisya para sa mga naging biktima ng karahasan sa ilalim ng diktaturyang Marcos (The Commission stands pat on its conviction that the fight to achieve justice for the victims of violence under the Marcos dictatorship is not yet over),” Jacqueline Ann de Guia, CHR spokesperson and a lawyer, said in statement.
De Guia said the unspeakable things that happened during the dark days of Martial Law should not be forgotten no matter how painful and atrocious they are as they remind us not to allow monopoly of power in the country ever again.
“Masakit mang alalahanin ang masalimuot na karanasan ng mga nakibaka noon para sa demokrasya, hindi dapat matigil ang paggunita at pagsisigurong hindi tayo kailanman makakalimot (Although it is painful to remember the difficult experience of those who fought for democracy in the past, we must not stop remembering and making sure we will never forget),” she said.
However, De Guia said, the CHR laments that “there are forces trying to hide what really happened during Martial Law to cover up the hideous things done to those who tried to fight the authoritative regime of the late dictator.”
“Patuloy man ang mga pwersang nagtatangka na burahin o baguhin ang kasaysayan, naniniwala ang Komisyon na mas malakas ang pagnanasa ng sambayanang Pilipino na makaranas ng kaginhawaan at mamuhay nang mapayapa’t may digdidad. Disenteng buhay na may kalayaan ang aspirasyon natin para sa bawat isa. (Even if some forces continue to try to erase or change our history, the Commission believes that the Filipino people have a stronger desire to experience comfort and live in peace and dignity. Decent life with freedom is our aspiration for each other),” she stressed.
De Guia pointed out that the “past dictatorship caused corruption in the different parts of the government that until now continues to exist, and make Filipinos suffer.”
“With the current corruption and culture of impunity in the government,” she said, many Filipinos are losing hope for change, “but instead of giving up, it is important that we focus the energy, anger, and patience toward prosecuting the perpetrators and advancing governance reform.”
As the elections of new leaders nears, CHR has urged the public to be critical and active on issues concerning the society that affects Filipinos.
“Huwag nating sayangin ang oportunidad na makaboto nang malaya at baguhin ang kinabukasan ng ating bansa para sa susunod na henerasyon. Patuloy ang pagsusulong natin para sa ingklusibo’t makataong Pilipinas (Let us not waste the opportunity to vote freely and change the future of our country for the next generation. We continue to push for an inclusive and humane Philippines),” she added.