The brutality of the torture and murder of Oriental Mindoro human rights activists Eden Marcellana and peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy, the disappearance of filmmaker and Cultural Center of the Philippines awardee Virgilio Catoy, and the abduction of the group they were with last Monday are reminiscent of the worst excesses of the martial-law period.
The worst part of martial law was not the world-class theft of public resources and treasure that it concealed. It wasn’t even the steady decline of the economy as corruption and cronyism ran rampant, nor the resulting slide of the majority of Filipinos into the lowest depths of poverty.
The worst part of martial rule were the killings, the torture, the massacres of entire communities, the abductions and forced disappearances of thousands of men, women and even children by an unrestrained military, of which at that time the police was a part.
The inevitable result was military empowerment, in terms of its realization that its monopoly over the legal use of arms endowed it with an advantage no argument, no logic and no law could challenge. Because there were no efforts to exact accountability