Cybercrime law, killing and arrests, corruption: martial law footprints

“BS Aquino is bringing the Filipino people back to the days of martial law with the approval of the Cybercrime Law and the appointment of a member of the defunct Philippine Constabulary to the Claims Board that is tasked to indemnify the victims of the Marcos dictatorship. These, along with the systemic and structural problems in society, retain the martial law footprints in our country,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, as the 28th year after Edsa 1 is commemorated today.
Palabay said, “This year’s commemoration of the fall of the Marcos dictatorship underscores the reality that 28 years may have passed, but the Filipino people still face the same problems that should have gone with the Marcos dictatorship.” 

Karapatan listed “10 footprints that bring us back to the dark days of martial law, debunking that democracy was restored after the Marcos era.” 

1. The Marcos family is back in power, like they did not leave government at all.  They were as free as in the glorious days; they remain unprosecuted for the crimes they committed against the Filipino people.  
2. Justice continues to elude the Filipino people. The membership of the Claims Board, mandated by the law to render justice to the victims of martial law, showed BS Aquino’s distorted sense of justice when he tasked a former member of the Philippine Constabulary, Gen. Lina Sarmiento. Thousands of victims of human rights violations after the fall of the dictatorship up to the present are likewise denied justice as impunity persists and not a single perpetrator is put to jail. 
3. Free speech and freedom of expression is threatened anew with the Cybercrime Law in place. The law, aptly called e-martial law, aims to sow fear, especially to those who dare speak against the anti-people policies and programs of the US-Aquino regime. 
4. Extrajudicial killings (known as ‘salvaging’ during martial law), illegal arrests and detention, torture, bombings and forced evacuation are unabated. The violations are not simply a product of “aberrations” in the military institution, committed by scallywags. The human rights violations are caused by the government’s counterinsurgency program, Oplan Bayanihan that was preceded by several other Oplans from the time of Marcos and of those who succeeded him. There are now 169 victims of extrajudicial killings under the Aquino regime.   
5. Paramilitary groups formerly the ICHDF (Integrated Civilian Home Defense Force) are now known as the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU), SCAA (Special Citizens Active Auxiliaries), Investment Defense Force (IDF) and many other names. The names may vary but the aim remains: to serve as force multiplier of the military and to sow terror among the populace. The gruesome killings from which they are known for continues. 
6. Corruption in the bureaucracy stinks. The names of programs and lump sum allocations to the members of the clique in power vary but the nature is the same—the nation’s treasury is used to buy off loyalties to perpetuate themselves in power; and to amass more wealth at the people’s expense.
7. Demolition of shanties to build Imelda Marcos’ “City of Man” never ceased. Now, demolition of urban poor houses is done to build condominiums, shopping malls, resorts and casinos.   
8. Land Reform from the time of Marcos up to the present remains a euphemism for landgrabbing and depriving the peasants of the lands they till. How the Aquino-Cojuangco clan skirted land reform through corporatization and through the use of armed force in Hacienda Luisita continues to be a model in the post-martial law era. 
9. Marcos tampered with the Constitution, with a semblance of a rubber stamp Congress and his law-making powers; Aquino, is playing with the Constitution by a simple resolution of his minions in Congress to sell the country’s sovereignty and patrimony to foreign investors.
10. Lack of jobs, high prices of basic commodities, and low wages were earmarks of the Marcos era that continue up to the present. ###