As we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law on September 21, 1972, InterAksyon.com posts a series of testimonies from human rights victims of the Marcos regime. Thousands of Filipinos were murdered, tortured, or disappeared in the 14 years the country was under a dictatorship.
After the fall of the Marcos regime in 1986, close to 10,000 human rights victims – the survivors themselves or their families – filed a class suit against the Marcos estate. A US district court in Hawaii ruled in January 1995 that the victims are entitled to a share of the ill-gotten wealth recovered from the Marcoses: a total of $2.7 billion for their torment and torture.
However, the legal victory remains only on paper. The Hawaii ruling has to be enforced in the Philippines by a local court. The Makati Regional Trial Court is currently hearing the case but the Marcoses have so far been successful in blocking compensation to the plaintiffs.
So far, only $10 million, or $1,000 each, has been awarded to the victims and their kin. The money is not even part of the $2.7-billion compensatory and exemplary damages awarded by the Hawaii court but is from a settlement with Marcos crony, Jose Yao Campos, who has real estate properties in Texas and Colorado.
How was the military able to inflict severe physical and psychological pain on activists including minors in a cold-blooded manner during Martial Law ?
In this video, former Armed Forces officer and Philippine Military Academy (PMA) professor Col. Dante C. Simbulan explains the mind of military men who carry out brutal acts against suspected enemies of the state.
Under the plebe system, military men undergo hazing, a form of torture, while they are PMA cadets, according to Simbulan, former political science professor, who was detained during the Martial Law years for turning against the Marcos regime.
“Thus, when PMA cadets become militray officers, they are already desensitized when they carry out savage acts against prisoners,” says Simbulan.
“The institutionalized torture method in the military is an unreasonable system that was taught to us by our colonizers,” adds Simbulan.