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Corruption and betrayal in the Philippines: The anniversary of martial law

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Statement of Anakbayan Honolulu

On September the 21st, 1972, Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, the tenth president of the Republic of the Philippines, declared martial law. Ushering in an era of severe oppression, Marcos subverted economic growth and suffocated political and civil freedoms. Dissension was quelled by extrajudicial killings and by other unlawful means, leaving masses of men, women, and children to suffer under a police state of the worst kind. Marcos was responsible for graft, corruption, cronyism, and innumerable human rights violations. In the unprecedented People Power Movement, one to three million people gathered between Ortigas and Cubao streets in Metro Manila in 1986, leading to the ultimate removal of Marcos from his self-made dictatorial and authoritarian post.

Presently, we face an illegally elected president whose regime resembles that of Marcos: Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. A wiretapped conversation between Arroyo and the commissioner of the official poll body COMELEC was released in June this year, in which Arroyo references the fraudulent nature of her reelection in 2004. Arroyo had originally come into power in 2001, and has since done little to improve the lives of Filipinos. Several citizens have asserted their democratic right to demand change. Conversely, the way the government has chosen to respond to this has been to amass an estimated total of more than 37,000 cases of human rights violations. The victims of these violations are those who want nothing more than should be expected in a free nation—autonomy of the state from foreign nations, a transparent government, a functional and productive economy, adequate food and water, education, and healthcare access. The current administration fails to meet these basic needs.

The administration’s approach has been to politically maneuver around the law, and to avoid formulating sustainable solutions to the socioeconomic and political issues that have ailed the Philippines for 440 years, beginning during the colonial period. Arroyo is reticent to embrace progressive measures. Instead, she has stabbed her people in the back by violating the constitution again, in agreeing to US-Philippine military activities, and structuring policies to fit comfortably with those of the Bush administration. Arroyo finds logic in supporting unconstitutional schemes with the American president, and yet she cannot feed and shelter half of the population—a population that did not even elect her. This, among several other charges being brought against her, constitutes egregious corruption, following in a legacy of brutal betrayal.

The Filipino people have suffered and have been displaced economically, socially, and nationally. Justice is long overdue. It is for these reasons that we demand the immediate removal of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from her stolen seat at Malacanang, whether it comes by her resignation or her ouster. She stole the election, and thus has stolen from the Filipino people. Every tactic, every strategy, and every political action she takes—is illegal because she did not constitutionally earn her position as the President of the Philippines. On September the 21st–the anniversary of Marcos’s declaration of martial law–let us remember the ultimate power of the people to act and to incite change.

Uphold Philippine Sovereignty
Arroyo: Resign or Be Ouster
Promote the Human Rights of the Improvished and the Persecuted
Maintain the Dignity and Integrity of the Philippine Constitution
Retain Autonomy—US Troops Out of the Philppines