WHY MARCOS DECLARED MARTIAL LAW
September 21. On that day, forty years ago this month, in 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law, an event that to this day never fails to generate passionate recriminations and abrasive discourses.
Why did he declare Martial Law? To the anti-Marcos elements, it was due to his immense greed for power and wealth. Nothing more, nothing less.
I wish to contribute my little understanding of this part of our recent history, distilled from innumerable readings of the subject matter over the years.
Marcos declared Martial Law because of Ninoy Aquino.
Ninoy Aquino was the new political superstar of the time. In all likelihood, he was going to be the next President. But Ninoy was perceived rightly or wrongly as a communist, or at least sympathetic to the communist movement that was leading the social unrest threatening to engulf the country.
The constitutional option for Marcos had run out. The explosive bribing scandal that exposed his attempts to influence the delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1972 to allow him to run again killed that alternative.
It was at the height of the communist movement’s popularity. For a society beset by severe social inequity and grinding poverty like the Philippines, communism certainly provided a stark alternative, with its own powerful mass appeal, to challenge the unjust status quo. In fact, Southeast Asia then, in particular Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, ( as in Korea), was fast being run over by the Communists, due to the huge support of the people.
The US, the world leader of the anti-communist bloc, was understandably distraught. The prospect of a Ninoy Aquino presidency in one of its closest ally-nations was an added worry. So Washington must have cajoled Marcos to stay on as did other leaders, especially the leaders of the Church, who were fearful of the communists, assuring him of their support. Marcos must have also estimated that if he stepped down indeed, Washington would instigate a coup instead and install a military junta if only to forestall the inevitable, that of a Ninoy presidency. Indeed, if his military background be any guide, Marcos himself must have shared the same apprehensions.
So why not Martial Law, the one last option left? He had nothing to lose. In fact, great opportunities beckoned.
Randy David: MARCOS AND MARTIAL LAW