Martial law revisited-A A +A
The Living Spirit
Thursday, September 20, 2012
EVER since Marcos declared martial law in 1972, the Catholic Church in the Philippines took a position of ‘critical collaboration’ with the Marcos regime.
Looking back at that time, I believe the Catholic Church has been remiss in its duty to give prophetic witness to social justice and to protest against the human rights violations committed by the military under Marcos.
I like to remember what happened during the Second World War in Europe when the armies of Hitler invaded the Netherlands. The Dutch bishops vehemently protested against the invasion and refused to accept the Nazi ideology of Hitler. But there was a political party in Holland which was in league with the regime of Hitler. That was the National Socialist Bond (NSB). We called them collaborators and after the war, they were all rounded up and court-martialed as traitors.
Collaboration with the enemy is treason, even if it is critical collaboration. The political activists during martial law openly protested against the regime of Marcos and many of them gave their life for this. One of them was Ninoy Aquino, who said the Filipino is worth dying for.
How many bishops were at that time ready to die for the country? The protest eventually led to the Edsa revolution, the ouster of Marcos. At that hour only, Cardinal Sin changed his position and called the people to join the ‘rebel’ forces of the military – Enrile and Honasan, and others -- who had broken away from Marcos at the last hour. The Church failed to let its prophetic voice be heard. The Church has been guilty all those years of a sin of omission, like Enrile and Honasan were guilty even though they defected at the last hour.
These same people are now ‘honorable’ senators in the government. During all those years of critical collaboration with Marcos, corruption has crept in into the army and into our government institutions and this has continued up to our time. We have now in Congress members of the Commission on Appointments (CA) who are sleeping on the job, failing to confirm the appointment of highly competent people, like the late Secretary Jesse Robredo. These are also sins of omission.
In some way we could compare the silence of the Church during martial law to the silence of the stifling reign of Pope Pius XII during the Second World War when he failed to condemn the Holocaust of the Jews as a crime against humanity.
When we remember martial law this Sept. 21, we should clearly tell our new generation: let this not happen ever again. We, the laity in the Church today, should be vocal enough when the Church itself shows signs of that authoritarianism of Marcos. In the Church, there should be first of all democracy and freedom of expression, freedom to protest when the Church in its short-sightedness continues to block the passage of the RH bill.
The revolution of Edsa must continue. It is a protracted struggle, not of violence but of peaceful dialogue and reconciliation, so that reasonable changes and amendments can be inserted in the proposed RH bill. It is high time that the poor people get access to anti-conceptionalia of their own choice so that the rate of maternal deaths among poor women will be brought down drastically.
If the Church has kept its Social Doctrine a secret for such a long time, it is now the time that we the lay people in the Church make up for this sin of omission and demand now a full implementation of this doctrine in our government institutions: that the right of the workers to form a union be restored and contract labor be declared illegal.
It is good to mention here that September 21 is also declared by the United Nations as International Day of Peace. For that occasion, Balay Mindanaw has organized on that day a medical mission on the Capitol Grounds and 1,500 patients are expected to go there for a free medical check-up and treatment. Is this a coincidence? I like to believe it is Providence.
I read in Sun.Star the other day that Alfredo Mapano and his companions, who are on hunger strike here at the Provincial Jail may soon be released under the custody of Archbishop Antonio Ledesma together with Governor Oscar Moreno and Vice Governor Norris Babiera.
That is good news to hear. I hope also for their comrades in the mountains. I pray that they may take this as an invitation to lay down their arms and indulge in peaceful dialogue and reconciliation so that we may finally get peace again in Mindanao.
(For your comments, email email@example.com)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 20, 2012.