Secret Memo: Marcos Knew US Stored Nuclear Weapons in Philippines

(The following is from a 2011 news article from Interaksyon. The document below however comes from the NSA Archive which you can also browse here.)
The US government had secretly stored nuclear weapons in the Philippines "for many years" during the regime of President Ferdinand Marcos and the strongman knew about it as early as 1966, a "top secret" US document that has been declassified and released by a US-based non-government organization shows.

The Rolex 12

Although the proper name for them would be Omega 12 (read below why), people recall them as the Rolex 12. These twelve were primarily responsible for many human rights atrocities, that include torture, murder, seizures of property, displacement from homes, and arrest and detention without due process of people opposed to Marcos.

(The following text is from FilipiKnow. The quoted reference below however is available on most references and now available in original form from WikiLeaks.)
The martial law was not a one-man endeavor. In fact, Marcos sought the help of his ’12 apostles’, later known as the “Rolex 12” (named after the Rolex watches that Marcos gave to them as gifts).

But according to a 1974 confidential memo of then US Ambassador to Manila William Sullivan, Marcos gave the 12 military officers gold Omega watches, not Rolexes. Hence, the proper term would be “Omega 12.”

Before declaring the martial law in 1972, Marcos consulted with the Omega 12, and their plans were contained in a confidential document called Oplan Sagittarius. Five members of the Omega 12, according to Tomas Diaz, even helped create the decrees of Proclamation 1081 before all 12 of them finalized Marcos’ plan.

The following are the official members of the “Omega 12”:

  1. Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile

  2. Philippine Constabulary chief Maj. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos

  3. National Intelligence Security Authority chief Maj. Gen. Fabian Ver

  4. Lt. Col. Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, Jr.

  5. Army chief Maj. Gen. Rafael Zagala

  6. Constabulary vice-chief Brig Gen. Tomas Diaz

  7. Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo Espino

  8. Air Force chief Maj. Gen. Jose Rancudo

  9. Navy chief Rear Admiral Hilario Ruiz

  10. ISAFP chief Brig. Gen. Ignacio Paz

  11. Metrocom chief Brig Gen. Alfredo Montoya, and

  12. Rizal province Constabulary head Col. Romeo Gatan.

The following is from a December 24, 1974 cable from the American Embassy in Manila to the Secretary of State in Washington DC. You can read the full cable at WikiLeaks.



The Marcos Medals

(Marcos claimed he was the hero of the Battle of Bessang Pass during WWII, earning a total of 33 medals and awards throughout his career. Facts however point to something else: only 2, of of these 33 medals were given in battle. Jarius Bondoc wrote the following essay for the Philippines Star in 2011 citing the expose of Bonifacio Gillego about the medals in 1982.)

Posing as the most decorated Filipino soldier of World War II, Ferdinand Marcos foisted 33 medals and awards. Bonifacio Gillego, in opposing Marcos’s dictatorship, exposed in 1982:

  • Eleven of the 33 were given in 1963, nearly 20 years after the War, when Marcos was Senate President girding to run for President. Ten of the 11 were given on the same day, December 20. Three of the ten unusually were given under only one General Order.

  • One award was given on Marcos’s 55th birthday, September 17, 1972, when he was President, four days before he imposed martial law.

  • Eight of the 33 “American and Philippine medals,” as listed by Marcos’s Office of Media Affairs, were actually campaign ribbons given to all participants in the defense of Bataan and in the resistance.

  • Awards are duplicated for the same action on the same day and place.

  • One is a special award from the Veterans Federation of the Philippines.

Other observations:

  • Marcos earned the Medal of Valor “for extraordinary gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in a suicidal action against overwhelming enemy forces at the junction of Salian River and Abo-Abo River, Bataan, on or about 22 January 1942.” This highest Philippine military award came only in October 1958, when he was senior congressman, 16 years after.

  • Only two of the medals were given during the War. The Gold Cross came on July 22, 1945, “for gallantry in action at Kiangan, Mt. Province, in April 1945.” Supposedly “Colonel Marcos, of the 14th Infantry, United States Armed Forces in the Philippines-North Luzon (USAFIP-NL), with one enlisted man volunteered to reconnoiter area adjacent to the regimental command post at Panupdupan.” Marcos spotted well-camouflaged enemy trucks about a mile away and sent the enlisted man back to RCP to report. By himself Marcos ambushed the Japanese, forcing them to flee after 30 minutes of intense fighting.

  • The Distinguished Service Star came on April 24, 1945. The citation read: “For outstanding achievement as a guerrilla leader. After escaping from the Fort Santiago Kempei Tai, Marcos supported ex-Mayor Vicente Umali, organizer and commanding general of the PQOG… Despite his illness, he stayed at the headquarters in Banahaw to guide both the staff and combat echelons. He refused the rank of ‘general’ offered him by General Umali and organized his own guerrilla group known as the Maharlika.”

Interviewed by Gillego in 1982, Marcos’s two superiors in the 14th Infantry debunked both citations. Col. Romulo A. Manriquez, regimental commander, swore that Marcos was never assigned to patrol or combat, only as S-5 or civil affairs. Not a colonel but a captain, Marcos joined the 14th Infantry from December 4, 1944 to April 28, 1945. No Maharlika guerrilla group was formed in Kiangan on April 24, 1945.

Capt. Vicente L. Rivera, 14th Infantry adjutant, added that he had never recommended Marcos for any decoration. The sighting of Japanese trucks a mile from RCP was geographically impossible because the nearest road was too far, half a day’s hike away.

Manriquez and Rivera said that Marcos requested for transfer to Camp Spencer, USAFIP-NL headquarters, in Luna, La Union, on April 28, 1945. Gilego said this tallied with Marcos’s commissioned biography, For Every Tear a Victory, by Hartzell Spence (1964). In Spence’s version, Marcos and one Captain Jamieson had to break through a cordon of 200,000 Japanese soldiers to get to an airstrip in Isabela. The Piper Cub that arrived took only Jamieson. “An hour later,” wrote Spence, “as Marcos was about to evacuate the area because he heard a Japanese patrol, another supply plane targeted in with an airdrop. Risking discovery, Ferdinand rushed into the open but the plane merely wagged its wings. The pilot was signaling the location of the enemy. Ferdinand tuned his walkie-talkie to the plane’s wavelength and told the pilot, ‘I have a duffel down here with six captured swords in it and three gold bars. They are all yours if you pick me up.’ Instantly the pilot circled, returned, and Ferdinand climbed aboard. An hour later, he was at Camp Spencer.”

Gillego remarked of this passage that Marcos was bounty hunting: “If Spence’s account is true, he makes Marcos guilty of keeping for himself captured or acquired enemy property, in violation of the Articles of War.”

As for the escape from Fort Santiago, Gillego scoured the Kempei Tai files, including the trial papers of its chief, Col. Seiichi Ohta. No record of Marcos as prisoner. Allegedly a Jesuit priest who survived the dungeons had decried the request of Commodore Santiago Nuval to insert Marcos in the roster.

Gillego debunked Marcos’s claim to be the star of the Battle of Bessang Pass to whom General Yamashita nearly surrendered. From the many first-hand accounts, never was Marcos mentioned as a participant in the five-phase operation from February 10 to June 15, 1945.

Among the recollections was “Battle Among the Clouds” (Manila Standard, June 11, 1987) by Justice Desiderio P. Jurado (deceased), who had led the crucial capture of Buccual Ridge. Modestly this true hero of the weeks of seesaw battles, marked by frequent hand-to-hand combat, gave credit to his superiors, peers and subordinates. Towards the end he made mention of Marcos, not as combatant but as the new President who unveiled the marker on the 21st anniversary in 1966.

Research by historian Alfred McCoy confirmed Gillego’s articles belittling Marcos’s exploits. In 1986 the New York Times and Washington Post ran McCoy’s findings based on US Army records. Opposition papers in Manila reprinted McCoy and Gillego’s research. One of Marcos’s “Maharlika co-founders” sued for libel, saying, “I am filing these charges because I felt belittled, ridiculed and disgraced, not only to myself and my comrades, but including those who sacrificed their lives for the country.”

Three other veterans and Marcos comrades-in-arms, Col. Frisco San Juan, Teodulo C. Natividad and Col. Agustin Marking, attacked the reports: “If this … story weren’t so vicious, it would be ludicrous. Mr. Marcos has on his body scars more eloquent than any country’s medals in attesting to his courage, gallantry and self-sacrifice.”

SpotPH: Ferdinand Marcos Jr and the Marcos Mythology

(The following essay is written by Clinton Palance for Spot.PH)


In 1986 I spent most of the year in Shanghai, when the city was still full of old men in Mao suits and everyone rode a bicycle. The country had recently been opened to the outside world and they got their news from a single government news agency by reading newspapers tacked to communal bulletin boards under the plane trees. Although much of the events of February that year in Manila had been heavily redacted by the censors, everyone we talked to was elated to meet someone from the Philippines. “Aquino!” they said, in Chinese. “People’s revolution!” It was a great time to be a Filipino.

Exactly 30 years later, the people of the Philippines seem to be ready to elect the deposed dictator’s son, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. to the second-highest position in the country. To a Martial Law baby such as myself, the thought of this is as toxic as the Nazi party returning to power in Germany by popular demand. The surreal spectre of Marcos’ election as vice president is made even more noxious by the unexpected choice of a former human rights lawyer who is known for her outspoken, populist ballsiness as his running-mate for president.

Miriam Defensor-Santiago is too smart to have entered the presidential race expecting to win; but she is expecting to, and most certainly will, have fun along the way. She is no doubt being well-compensated for her acquiescence in the rigmarole, which will be a good retirement fund for a politician wrapping up her career. Although she will not win the presidency, she has the power to be a great disruptive force in what was assumed to be a two- or three-horse race, as well as to be tremendously distracting in the debates, further hindering the public’s attention on issues. It’s an ignominious way for one of politics’ much-beloved Falstaff figures to go out.

How do we explain Marcos’ popularity? It has been less than three decades after the trauma of whimsical “salvagings” of political opponents, routine torture in Fort Bonifacio (the prisoners were held in the lot now occupied by S&R), and massive economic instability and growing debt ended in jubilant crowds and a peaceful revolution that was compared to Gandhi’s liberation. Today, his son Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. is neck-and-neck with Francis “Chiz” Escudero for the position of vice president. Are we amnesiac as a people? Is this a failure of collective memory?

There is a concept in Philippine politics about the “masses,” the supposedly imbecilic herd who are easily manipulated and subject to the workings of “machinery.” I don’t know if all this exists or it is quite as simple as all that. But we, the middle class, can’t be too smug. Imelda Marcos, the dictator’s wife, who is a lot less kooky than she seems, is a fixture at society events, and was hob-nobbing with the Ateneo de Manila University faculty at a scholarship event last year. Imee Marcos was famously on the cover of the Philippine Tatler this month, which caused a lot of outrage but sold a lot of magazines. And these are just the people who bear the Marcos name. It is literally impossible to do business or to socialize in Manila without bumping into someone, or the descendants of someone who was, in some way, associated with the Marcoses or profited during the dictatorship.

“Sins of the father,” we say, and brush it off. Nevertheless, one main point of exoneration being used by today’s pro-Marcos camp is that he is not his father; the opposition points out (and quite rightly) that he has shown no remorse and in fact glorifies his father’s presidency. But the truth is that doesn’t have to clear his name. The Marcos presidency looms large in the public imagination, much larger the beleaguered Aquino one that followed it. If you get a random person to recite the presidents, I would wager most would get Aguinaldo, Quezon, and Laurel, then have to think hard up until Marcos. His presidency spanned over two decades; the buildings that Imelda built still dominate the landscape; and he spun a complex and rich mythology that no one has been able to match. “Ang Bagong Lipunan,” the heroic comic-book imagery of springing out from the bamboo as Malakas at Maganda, the appropriation of the Maharlika and all that it stood for, remain unmatched in their imaginative scope. It’s not just that he was a brilliant lawyer who turned into a brilliant thief, but he spun a great story that people still believe.

The history books, post-Marcos, are fuzzy. Even if all the presidents who followed him were capable and honest, which they weren’t, they would still be picking up the pieces of a broken economy. Marcos entrenched a culture of corruption in government that made it okay not just to steal a little but a lot, brazenly, without bothering to keep up a pretence of rectitude. And again, the middle class are complicit: we sigh and cave in to the culture of corruption because it’s the way business is done in this town. We make cynical jokes about dirty politicians rather than hold them to a higher standard, and guess what, they live down to it and more.

We can’t really say #neveragain to something that never went away in the first place. Imelda Marcos ran for president under the KBL banner in 1992; Ferdinand Marcos Jr. won a seat in the House of Representatives in the same year and has been in power almost continuously since then; and there has never been a national election since 1986 that the Marcos money did not have a hand in influencing. I have never quite understood the concept of a bailiwick or of continuing to support a thief and murderer just because we share the same home province, but apparently people do it.

Worryingly, though, Marcos’ popularity, and power, comes from significant strata of the general population outside of Ilocos. While Manuel Roxas II campaigns on the promise of the continuation of “Daang Matuwid,” Ferdinand Marcos Jr. coasts along on the historical memory of his father’s presidency and the paucity of notable personalities to come after him. It’s not so much that people have forgotten about the Marcos presidency, but that there is so little of note to remember that came after it. As the reality of a Marcos return to the Executive Branch looms, some of the old freedom-fighters have emerged from the woodwork to tell, once more, the stories about Martial Law. It may be too little too late; worse, it could even bolster the myth of a strong state that did not tolerate fools gladly. And there is a strong authoritarian streak in our psyche; there are many who believe that an iron hand would be good for the country.

And it is our fault: we are to blame. The fault is ours for not telling the story of the nightmares of dictatorship as throughly as we should have. It is ours for not passing on the torch and responsibility of freedom and democracy to a new generation obsessed only with progress, from Philippines 2000 to the continuing promise of First World status. It is ours for not inscribing that victory in 1986 in the history books, for not making it one of the founding myths of our society.

That Marcos would run for higher office was inevitable, given his quiet but inexorable climb from governor to becoming one of the highest-polling senators. What is unexpected and alarming, though, is his new power base among the youth: a popularity that his very capable communications staff will be translating into votes. Added to the resurgent loyalists and the family’s traditional power base in the north, his victory is almost inevitable. Perhaps it’s time to change the rally slogan of “Never again” to something along the lines of “This ends now.”

8ListPH: 8 Things Millennials Get Wrong About the Marcos Regime

(The following post is written by Marcelle 'Kel' Fabie for a groundbreaking and award-winning site that provides your daily dose of entertaining, useful and informative lists. You can also contact the author here via Facebook.)

There is a saying that goes, “those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it,” and truer words have never been said, especially when talking about the Marcos era of Philippine history. It’s cool to play history revisionist.

It’s cool to look at things that happened, and take a different viewpoint and interpretation of these events, and come away with a different understanding of what has happened. This is not what millennials are doing when it comes to the Marcos era, unfortunately: what they’re doing is ignoring very troubling issues wholesale in favor of some nifty sound bites that make our current situation look pathetic in comparison.

Let’s look at some of these claims about the Marcos era.

Click and read the original post at 8ListPH.

8. Ferdinand Marcos would have been perfect if not for Imelda.

The Assertion: While it’s true that there were some issues with the Marcos presidency, none of it would have happened if not for Imelda. She’s the reason why the whole thing ended up the way it did!

The Reality: First of all, way to understate what happened by just calling it “some issues.” Secondly, are we seriously going to go with the Adam and Eve defense for the guy who was supposed to be the most powerful man in the country?  You mean to tell me that this great, awesome man turned out to be such a softy for his wife that he couldn’t resist her when she asked for a little violation of human rights. 107,240 times.

Let’s turn back the clock even further. Long before Ferdinand Marcos even met Imelda he was already convicted with murder, and was the guy who supposedly pulled the trigger on his own dad’s political rival. The story goes that he studied law, and even while incarcerated, easily topped the Bar Exams, and then represented himself in an appeal to the Supreme Court, who overturned his death penalty conviction. Impressive? Yes. But aren’t we also the same guys who look at really good lawyers with disdain because they let people get away with murder? Why are we suddenly getting wet over Marcos doing it now?

Let’s look at his vaunted military service more, where he earned a ridiculous amount of medals for his service during World War II. Impressive, right? Right, except an overwhelming majority of those medals were lies. If he can make a lie this brazen, are we seriously going to take every other claim about his legacy without a hefty pinch of salt?

7. The Peso was 1.50 to a Dollar.

The Assertion: The Peso was practically on equal footing with the dollar back in the day. Surely, this was a sign that we were a prosperous country under his time!

The Reality: The exchange rate alone isn’t enough of an indicator as to whether or not a country is prospering. Just ask Japan.

While it was true that the Peso and the Dollar were close to each other during the  beginning of the Marcos era, let’s not forget that by the time Macapagal was president, the Peso already sank to 3.70 to a Dollar, and during the first quarter storm in 1970, the Peso went from 4.00 to 6.00 to a Dollar. It was not 1.50 or 1:1 during Marcos’s time. This did not happen.In fact, if you look at this graph, it’s clear that from the 3.70 Marcos began with, he managed the dubious feat of sinking the Peso to 20 to a dollar. That’s a devaluation of almost 600%, which, when compared to the devaluation of the Peso in the ‘90s, where it went from 26 to 41 to a dollar, seemed pretty ridiculous.

Apropos of nothing, the “nakaraang administrasyon” who actually uncoupled the Peso from the Dollar, no longer allowing it to be 2:1 by default, was none other than Diosdado Macapagal. Makes you wonder if Marcos spent his first few SONA’s railing against the guy.

6. Marcos was the Lee Kwan Yu of the Philippines

The Assertion: Lee Kwan Yu was also a dictator in Singapore, but look where his country is now! It’s first-world, it’s first-class, and it’s everything you could ever hope for in a strong Asian nation! Marcos was doing the same thing for us, and we kicked him out!

The Reality: No. No, he wasn’t. And even if it were true, the only reason you don’t hear people badmouthing LKY nearly as much in Singapore is that doing shit like that gets you introuble over there. Or have we forgotten that Singapore isn’t exactly a democracy, really?

The biggest difference between Marcos and Lee Kwan Yu was that for Marcos, propaganda was the end. For LKY, it was a means to accomplishing the things he wanted to do. Does that justify his own litany of human rights violations? Of course not. But this distinction is what allowed LKY to hold onto power for 50 years, almost thrice as long as Marcos did, to the point where Lee Kwan Yu was able to relinquish the position, yet Singapore still remains as prosperous as it had been when the man left the highest office of the land.

Neither did Lee Kwan Yu send Singapore into crippling national debt thanks to his attempts at modernization.

5. The International community supported the Marcos administration, thus legitimizing it.

The Assertion: If the Marcos regime was so bad, why did the US tolerate it for as long as it did? Why did the international community at large just let it run its course? Surely, they saw something there that those of us too close to the matter didn’t.

The Reality: People don’t just get to change a government just because they don’t think they like it, especially if it’s not their own government. Otherwise, do you really think the United States would have allowed Fidel Castro or Kim Jong Il or even Saddam Hussein to stick around for as long as they did?

There’s also the little matter that the U.S. stood to gain much more if it let Marcos stay in power, particularly because he helped them establish a military presence in Asia (they had this war to fight or something in Vietnam, right?), and he was also  a staunch ally against Communism, which was America’s agenda at the time. Speaking of which …

4. Marcos fought against Communism

he Assertion: Marcos was a Commie-fighter, while every administration after him pretty much just tolerates Communism! They’re a threat to our democracy and freedom!

The Reality: How exactly did Marcos “protect” our democracy and freedom against Communism if he took both of these things away from us to “protect” us from Communism?!? Do you see the complete lack of logic in saying this?!? Martial law meant we were not free. He was practically running unopposed in his subsequent elections during the Martial Law era. If we were so afraid that the Communists were going to take our freedom away, why did we let Marcos do it for us  instead?

Oh, that’s right. He took it by force.

3. Marcos greatly improved infrastructure.

The Assertion: Marcos was better because some of the best buildings and roads we use to this very day were built over the course of his 20-year regime. We were on the road to progress!

The Reality: We were also on the road to debilitating national debt, to the tune of $28.5 Billion when he left power. It’s really easy to build roads, buildings, and all sorts of infrastructural projects when, in abolishing Congress, you have complete control over the country’s coffers, and you have twenty years to do them.

Think of it this way: the greatest cultural landmarks of some of the greatest countries in the planet were built on the back of slaves: Egypt and their pyramids, for example. When you look at how we’re still paying for Marcos’s debts all the way ‘til 2025, you realize who the slaves in this analogy happen to be: us. Yes, even you, millennial who wasn’t even a glimmer in his dad’s eye while Marcos was president.

2. Bongbong Marcos doesn't need to show remorse over his father's regime.

The Assertion: Why do we need to shame Bongbong to apologize on behalf of his dad? It was his dad. For all we know, he could be even better as president! Marcos 2016!!!

The Reality: Because if he refuses to acknowledge what his father did, then there is something fundamentally broken in Senator Marcos’s understanding of what his family has done to this nation. None of those roads, none of those schools, none of those edifices could ever bring back the lives snuffed out by Martial Law, but a simple apology, a simple acknowledgment to not let these things ever happen again would go a long way towards healing the pain.

Oh, of course not. Doing that might make his family legally liable, so best keep your mouth shut and pretend these things were just a small part of the era, right?

1. Martial Law was a safer time.

The Assertion: Martial Law may have taken a few liberties here and there, but it was a great time for the country, because everyone was disciplined. People were nicer. Crime rates were low.

The Reality: And if it were Martial Law today, we wouldn’t have the ability to debate its merits on the internet. I mean, seriously. We can complain about every single president who came after Marcos and say we wish we had better days, but when people complained about Marcos and wished for better days back in their time, they disappeared. For good. Just ask Liliosa Hilao. Oh, right. You can’t, because she was raped, tortured, and murdered for the “crime” of being the editor of the campus paper for Pamantasan ng Maynila and a staunch critic of Martial Law.

Normally, when we criticize people, we get a sassy retort as a comeback, or maybe a string of four-letter words. Not rape, torture, and murder. If those three things sound a bit like an overreaction to you, that’s probably because they totally are.

In Pursuit of the Light of Freedom

DavaoToday columnist Don Pagusara writes this preface to a series he is writing for his column starting October 20, 2015:
There has been a lot of noise that aims to drown out sacred truths in the annals of our nation.  The sources of this pollutant noise are mouths that throw up self-serving distortions of historical facts.  They irritate as maliciously as they blaspheme the remembrances of the legions of the Filipino youths whose names now make up the foundation and superstructure of the Bantayog ng mga Bayani.

These youths’ names are as knots in endless strings of stories woven together as a monumental tribute and formidable testimony to their heroism and martyrdom in pursuit of the light of Freedom during the darkest nights in our nation’s history — the martial law period of the Marcos Dictatorship.

Read what his series is all about here.

Write and Tell the Truth

AUTHOR’S FATHER, Antonio Suzara, was incarcerated and tortured during Martial Law and mother Cecilia.

AUTHOR’S FATHER, Antonio Suzara, was incarcerated and tortured during Martial Law and mother Cecilia.

(Written by Jennifer Suzara-Cheng for TheFilAmLA and Inquirer.Net)

It all started with hushed tones and repressed messages in our household. There were furtive glances down the street; even the blaring radio stopped. Even as an 8-year-old I could feel that something was wrong. The silence was shattered by loud knocks on the front door, and then soldiers started walking into our home with their Armalites drawn ready to fire.

I could only see their muddy boots treading on our shiny wood floor. They went from room to room; I could hear noise from overturned beds and cushions being ripped apart. Then I saw one soldier cut open our new green living room set. Books were scattered carelessly from the bookcases, and drawers were opened, their contents thrown on the floor. Then one soldier with a lot of patches on his shoulder yelled and called everyone, he asked Mama where Papa was; she answered with a strong voice that she didn’t know.

I was standing beside my oldest sister and I could hear my heart pounding so loud in my head. I could smell gun powder, mud, sweat, fear and most of all danger. I was so scared for our lives and tried to stifle my tears, but they kept on pouring from my eyes, non-stop and soundless; they just kept on flowing until my shirt was soaked and I was too scared to either move or wipe them with my hands.

Then, I remember we rode a jeepney for so long I lost track of time. I woke up on a farm; it was the house of one of the tenants who graciously shared their two-bedroom home with us. Mama slept on the bed with my two younger sisters while my oldest sister and I slept on the bamboo floor with my two older brothers sleeping closest to the bedroom door.

I could hear unfamiliar noises at night, insects chirping, pigs grunting and dogs barking incessantly. Mama told us to very quiet and just try to sleep. In the morning I lost one of my rubber slippers, but I never complained and tried to stand on one foot alternately until one of our house help noticed and let me use hers; she walked barefoot.

Then, Mama told us that Papa, Antonio Suzara, was arrested for bad-mouthing President Ferdinand Marcos during a rally, so they charged him with “sedition and unauthorized possession of guns,” and he would be detained at the Philippine Constabulary Camp. He was a known supporter of Senator Benigno Aquino at that time. Papa was the administrative assistant to the Mayor in Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte, when Martial Law was imposed.

I never saw our house again. We had to move closer to the camp in a place without electricity and running water. We were informed that we were being watched and so we should be very careful what to say.

Our paternal grandfather Governor Fernando Argente Suzara (the first postwar governor of Camarines Norte) through his personal friend, Foreign Service Minister Carlos P. Romulo, was able to petition or beg Malacanang Palace to convert Papa’s jail time to house arrest. Later on I learned that his maternal uncle-in-law Congressman Pedro Venida helped out in his jail time conversion.

After a year, a military jeep stopped in front of the farm, and I saw Papa walking towards Lolo (my grandfather), escorted by two soldiers. He was carrying a plastic bag. His was head bowed and his eyes were dull and he looked broken. Lolo just stood there and then signed some documents from the soldiers and shook their hands. Lolo’s eyes were tender and sad; his posture looked like he was carrying a lot of Papa’s burden. They both stood there for a while until Lolo told Papa to rest for now. Papa was never the same, he never talked about what happened in jail nor did he mention it again.

I write this narrative with the permission of my siblings, who agreed to share our story with our countrymen because of the recent campaign from the Marcos’ camp that the atrocities of Martial Law, declared on September 21, 1972, did not happen.

There are countless articles of propaganda that brainwash the youth and attempt to rewrite history, and from a teacher’s perspective, I know this has to stop. It is important that those of us who were directly affected write and tell the truth.

True, it is not fair to judge the son with the crimes of the father, however, it is a miscarriage of justice to let the truth be covered by lies and falsehood.

It is the intent of my article to challenge the Marcoses to show remorse by not changing facts and, more importantly, to return the money that legitimately belongs to the Filipino people. If Senator Bong Bong Marcos can do all of these, then he will be ready to be separated from the legacy of his father; but until then NEVER AGAIN.

(Jennifer Suzara-Cheng teaches honors and AP biology courses at a nationally renowned environmental high school in Southern California. She was recently invited by the White House, among 200 outstanding teachers, students, scientists and philanthropists, to participate in its national Back-to-School Climate Education event.)

Read Books About Martial Law

From panalongindio:
Before you believe the notion that Martial Law had brought good to this country, make sure you have read these books. One of the authors, Primitivo Mijares, paid the book with his life. He was taken by the military and was never found, having revealed the secrets of the Marcos administration in his book. Some of the authors were senators, businessmen, journalists, including an American correspondent. #neveragain #history #martiallaw #ph #antirevisionist

Before you believe the notion that Martial Law had brought good to this country, make sure you have read these books. One of the authors, Primitivo Mijares, paid the book with his life. He was taken by the military and was never found, having revealed the secrets of the Marcos administration in his book. Some of the authors were senators, businessmen, journalists, including an American correspondent. #neveragain #history #martiallaw #ph #antirevisionist

A photo posted by Kristoffer Pasion (@panalongindio) on

The Edjop Center and the Gawad Edgar Jopson

Do you know that in recognition of Edjop's contribution to the country and raising the awareness of Filipino youth, the NUSP named their training center for student leaders as the Edjop Center.
EdJop Center

The National Union, being at the forefront of the student’s struggle for its rights and welfare aims to rouse socio-political consciousness of student leaders, to train and prepare them as they engage in different campaigns and activities, and for further introduction of the alliance. This is through the Edgar Jopson (EdJop) Training Center for Student Leaders, under our Education and Research Committee (EdRes).

The Edgar Jopson Education and Training Center comprises various discussions on skills training and social issues following the example of the young martyr, Edgar Jopson. Expected outputs of this activity are trained student leaders responsive to the twists and turns of the objective situations inside and outside the campus. This is to be able to teach them to be more critical and analytical.

The Education and Research Committee’s project and curriculum is named after Edgar Jopson as a tribute for his selfless martyrdom for the Filipino people and would serve as an inspiration to the youth to be more involved in building the nation. Crucial to this is active participation in discourse that would articulate the objective situation of the youth and other sectors, to be able to guide them in their practice.

An award recognizing exemplary student leadership is also named after Edgar Jopson.
Gawad Edgar Jopson

Edjop’s legacy remains to be a standard of genuine service and leadership. Today, student councils are challenged to continue Edjop’s legacy of advancing the collective welfare of the youth and the people.  Gawad Edgar Jopson was formed in recognition of the exceptional performance of student councils that embody the legacy of genuine service and leadership. These outstanding councils serve as examples to every Filipino student to stand firm for their collective interests and rights.

To learn more about Bantayog Martyr Edgar Jopson, read his biography here.

JOPSON, Edgar Gil "Edjop" Mirasol


One of the most well-known figures in the student movement before the martial-law period, Edgar Jopson was president of the National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), then the largest student formation with members coming from 69 schools.

Jopson, widely known as Edjop, led the NUSP to become involved in current issues. When two barrios in Bantay, Ilocos Sur were burned down in a feud between local politicians, Edjop and his group went to get the terrified residents out of the area and housed them on campus until their safety was assured. Likewise, when huge floods in 1972 left large areas of Luzon underwater for weeks, Jopson solicited the support of government and business groups for a project where hundreds of youths went to reforest parts of the Sierra Madre mountains for several weekends, stopping only because martial law had been declared. It was the NUSP that initiated the massive rally held in front of the Congress building on January 26, 1970, as Marcos made his “state of the nation” address.

One memorable anecdote of that period was about Jopson and other student leaders going to Malacanang to dialogue with Marcos, soon after that rally. There the boyish Jopson insisted that the most powerful person in the land promise not to seek a third term of office, and to put it in writing. Angrily, Marcos refused to agree to such a demand from a mere “grocer’s son.”

At the time, the most hotly debated topic in the student movement was whether a radical/ revolutionary or a moderate/ reformist path was the better approach to social change. Jopson, who was popularly identified as a “moderate,” preferred to stress that in reality the two sides were united in their objectives. "Solutions to our problems may divide us but [such divisions] should never override the unifying need for these solutions. It is this need that unites us in the student movement; it is this need that unites us ultimately with other progressive sectors in our society," he said upon being honored by the Philippine Jaycees as one of the country’s Ten Outstanding Young Men in 1970.

After graduation, Jopson turned away from job opportunities here and abroad, choosing instead to work with the Philippine Association of Free Labor Unions. He took up law at the University of the Philippines, which he abandoned after a couple of years, convinced that the laws he was studying were for the rich. He remained with the labor movement, living among the workers and helping draft collective bargaining agreements. He was instrumental in organizing the landmark workers’ strike at La Tondeña distillery in 1974, the first significant open mass protest under martial law.

By this time, with the martial law regime closing off all avenues for peaceful change, Jopson had taken the radical path. He was soon a ranking leader of the anti-dictatorship revolutionary movement, tasked to head the preparatory commission for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. In 1979 he was arrested in Metro Manila and tortured while under interrogation. After ten days, he escaped and immediately rejoined the underground. He made a written testimony that detailed the physical and mental torture he underwent, his torturers' names, rank, and personality profiles.

In 1981, with a P180,000 prize on his head, making him then one of the most wanted persons in the country, Jopson simply went on with his work; he went to Mindanao, learning and writing, developing insights into the unique characteristics that shaped the region’s history and present situation.

On September 20, 1982, he was captured during a military raid in Davao City, shot while trying to escape, taken alive, brought to the military camp and interrogated. He refused to "cooperate" and was summarily executed the following day. He was 34 years old.

Edgar Jopson became a symbol of the modern idealistic Filipino youth who faced the realities of their time without flinching, gladly giving all, including their lives, for the country and the people.

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