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Friday, September 21, 2012

Flashback: Marcos Declares Martial Law

Forty years ago today, President Ferdinand E. Marcos declared martial law in the Philippines by virtue of Proclamation No. 1081. At that time, Marcos had been in power as Philippine president since 1965. Marcos appeared on live television broadcast on September 23, 1972 to announce that proclamation had took effect.

Ferdinand Marcos, President, martial law, Proclamation No. 1081, Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, Citizens' Assemblies, barangay
Marcos announcing that Proclamation No. 1081 has took effect (Source: Foundation for Worldwide People Power)


The purported threat of communist insurgency, terrorism, and the ambush of then Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile were among the justifications for the declaration of martial law. (Fourteen years later, Enrile admitted during the onset of the EDSA People Power Revolution that the ambush was staged.)

Juan Ponce Enrile, Defense Minister, martial law, Proclamation No. 1081, Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, Citizens' Assemblies, barangay
As Defense Minister, Enrile was the martial law administrator (Source: Foundation for Worldwide People Power)

With the military under his power, Marcos suspended the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and pushed for the changing the Constitution in the 1973. He made himself both Head of State as President and Head of Government as Prime Minister. Only one political party, the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) or New Society Movement dominated the the legislative branch of government, the Batasang Pambansa.

A national referendum involving Citizens' Assemblies or barangays was conducted in July 1973 for the continuation of martial law and the ratification of the 1973 Constitution. The final result was lopsided: 90.77% voted YES, while 7.23% voted NO.

Marcos lifted martial law on January 17, 1981 after securing executive and legislative powers. The suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus continued in the Western Mindanao and Central Mindanao.

Here is the link to the full text of Proclamation No. 1081

(NOTE: Images are screen captures from the 1997 documentary "Batas Militar." For educational purposes only)

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