Philippines in "deja vu" as situation during Marcos martial law years similar under Duterte, Ang-See says
The Philippines is in "deja vu" as Filipinos have been experiencing now the red-tagging, killing of activists, cronyism, and dependence to foreign powers, similar to the martial law years under late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, community leader Teresita Ang-See said on Monday.
Ang-See, who is the executive director of the Pagkakaisa sa Pag-unlad, in a virtual media forum, made the statement as she recalled what she and other Filipino-Chinese had experienced during martial law years.
"What's really happening now is deja vu, the same of what had happened during martial law," she said.
She cited the red-tagging going on now by the security forces of the Duterte administration as if "only the left are the ones who are the enemies of the state."
The Filipino-Chinese civic activist noted the killings of human rights activists under the current government, similar to what happened during the Marcos' martial law years.
Ang-See also cited the "cronies" of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been going after the oligarchs who are not his allies.
She recalled that during the martial law years big businessmen who were not allies of Marcos were "forced to go bankrupt" and left the country.
"Those surrounding Marcos, the cronies, they earned a lot," she said.
Now, Ang See said the oligarchs, including the media organizations, who are not friendly to the Duterte administration, are also becoming targets.
She advised other media outlets not to be complacent as they could also experience what is happening now with online news website Rappler, which is facing several cases under the Duterte administration.
Aside from Rappler, the country's giant network ABS-CBN was ordered closed after Duterte's allies in the House of Representatives rejected the company's franchise renewal.
While the Duterte government has been insisting on enforcing an independent foreign policy, Ang-See said, "It's not independent at all."
She cited Duterte's granting of an absolute pardon to US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, who killed transgender woman Jennifer Laude in a motel in 2014.
"A lot of these things that are happening right now happened during martial law," Ang-See said.
In the same forum, former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo said the situation of the Filipinos worsened under Duterte's foreign policy.
If during the Marcos regime, the Philippines was just subservient to the US, now, it is also with China, he said.
"Now, Duterte is trying to hang with the US although he's trying not to destroy (the relationship) with China...with this, the Filipinos are pitiful," said Ocampo, who served as spokesman of the communist National Democratic Front, the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army.
He cited the issue on the West Philippine Sea, which is also being claimed by China.
Ocampo indicated that it was not surprising that Duterte is now doing what Marcos did, citing that when he was still campaigning for the presidency in 2016, he admitted that Marcos was his idol.
He also claimed that now Senator Imee Marcos was one of Duterte's biggest contributors in his presidential bid.
"This is why he (Duterte) already reversed the history," he said, citing Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani under the Duterte administration.
He also noted the move now in the House of Representatives to declare September 11 as the "President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos Day" in his hometown, Ilocos Norte.
Ocampo, who claimed to have been tortured by the military during martial law, said this move by the House is "in gross violation" of the law passed in 2013, acknowledging the human rights violations committed by the Marcos regime and compensating the over 11,000 victims during that time.
He also accused the Duterte administration of using the recently passed Anti- Terrorism Act against the NPA.
If during the martial law years, the killings happened in the countryside, he said the violence now happens in all parts of the county.
Marcos placed the entire Philippines under martial law on Sept. 21, 1972. Celerina Monte/DMS