Honoring JPE on his 100th birthday disrespects martial law victims – SELDA

The Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), an organization of former political prisoners established during the Marcos Sr. regime which has been at the forefront of pursuing justice for Marcos martial law victims, believes that the Philippine Postal Corporation’s issuance of a centenarian personalized stamp and a commemorative cover for the 100th birthday of Juan Ponce Enrile, the architect and implementer of Martial Law, gravely disrespects the Filipino people who were victims during the Marcos Sr. dictatorship.

Nakaririmarim, nakakasulasok at nakakakilabot ang pagbibigay ng ganitong pagkilala at parangal sa isang berdugo.

This is impunity at its finest. No Martial Law mastermind and implementer should be given such honor at the expense of the thousands of victims of torture, summary execution, enforced disappearances, massacres and incarceration.

Doing so is not only a grave injustice to the victims and our families – it is a direct violation of Republic Act No. 10368 that mandates the State to provide reparations for martial law victims. Reparations should include not only the recognition of the human rights violations endured by the victims and their families. It should likewise include censure of the policies, acts and the direct implementers of these violations and holding them to account, because without such, the State is promoting the repetition of these grave crimes.

On February 14, 2024, on the centennial of JPE, Malacañang together with the Philippine Postal Corporation presented to Enrile his centenarian stamp at the Kalayaan Hall in Malacañang Manila. In a statement, President Marcos Jr., had this to say to the former Minister of National Defense of his father-dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.: “Your tireless efforts in serving our country are a constant inspiration to us all.”

What service to the country is Marcos Jr. talking about in Enrile’s six-decade government tenure marred not only by the blood of numerous victims of torture and killings, but by scandals and controversies? These include the staged ambush to justify martial law, the so-called illegal logging empire and the coco levy fund heist during martial law, the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) and smuggling controversy at Port Irene, the pork barrel scam, to name a few.

Even his participation in the EDSA People Power I uprising should not be taken as an act of heroism or love of country. It was merely an act of self-preservation, nothing more. We cannot allow historical distortion and revisionism to prevail. It is imperative that we persist in speaking the truth on behalf of the people and actively protest against it.