Marcos Jr.’s speech at UNGA on 50th year after martial law reeks of hypocrisy, glosses over HR violations and impunity in PH

As various groups and communities in the Philippines and abroad mark the 50th year after the declaration of Marcos Sr.’s martial law with protests, Karapatan scored the dictator’s son Ferdinand Marcos Jr. over his recent speech at the UN General Assembly, calling it a “grand show of hypocrisy.”

“Marcos Jr. used the world stage at the UN General Assembly to talk about lofty universal ideals and principles that he and his family refuse to live by. Fifty years after his dictator-father’s martial law, he continues to justify the human rights violations committed during martial law, while keeping the billions of people’s money stolen by his family and their cronies.  It is a grand show of hypocrisy, another act meant to deodorize and atrocious crimes of plunder, massive human rights violations and exploitation of the Filipino people,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

never again

Karapatan denounced how Marcos Jr. glossed over the continuing human rights violations during the first months of his administration and the prevailing impunity in the country. “Marcos Jr. mentioned the UN Joint Program on Human Rights, and yet he continues to implement the draconian policies of his predecessor Duterte that have resulted in extrajudicial killings, torture, enforced disappearance, illegal and arbitrary arrests and detention. No, Mr. Marcos, you cannot hoodwink everyone, especially those who experience and know the real human rights situation,” Palabay continued.

Karapatan emphasized that rights violations similar to those experienced during martial law continue, with the recent arrests and detention of women activists Adora Faye de Vera and Atel Hijos, both martial law survivors. “Adora Faye and Atel are detained on trumped up charges, along with more than 800 political prisoners, and many more are being treated like criminals because of their political beliefs and human rights work,” she said.

“Drug war killings and terror- and red-tagging continue, affecting the work of church and humanitarian workers, members of the academe, workers, peasants and indigenous people, and the youth. The terror law is used to violate freedom of expression, press freedom, the right to assemble and conduct activities and protests, and the freedom of association,” Palabay stated.

Karapatan also said that majority of the extrajudicial killings and rights violations committed during the Duterte administration have yet to be rendered justice. “Marcos Jr.’s claims of a ‘functioning judiciary’ is a big lie, considering how domestic redress mechanisms have remained ineffective in delivering justice and exacting accountability, while efforts toward investigations of the International Criminal Court are being rejected,” she said.

“The reimposition of mandatory military training for students goes hand in hand with attempts to quell dissent in universities and elsewhere through confidential funds inserted in the national budget and the allocation for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC),” Karapatan added.

The human rights group also cited recent attempts to disallow the screenings of “Liway,” a film directed by Kip Oebanda depicting the experience of martial law victims, in schools and communities. In a community screening yesterday in Pasay City, a man who identified himself as personnel of the city police intelligence unit, tried to stop the screening of the film. It was also reported that the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board sent messages to schools organizing martial law film screenings that they needed permits to exhibit with ‘parental guidance’ rating.

“Along with recent disinformation roadshows of the Marcoses, these attempts to suppress narratives on past and present social realities show the guilt-laden obsession of the Marcoses to deodorize their name. But the truth, powered by the people’s collective experience of woes and struggles, will always prevail. Today, we march with thousands to uphold the people’s struggle for genuine freedom and democracy,” Palabay concluded.