Raissa Robles launches “Marcos Martial Law: Never Again” at UP
by rick olivares
After a false start with a delayed book launch at the Ateneo De Manila University last March 28 due to a bomb threat, journalist and political blogger Raissa Robles’ book, “Marcos Martial Law: Never Again” was finally unveiled to the public at the Balay Kalinaw inside the University of the Philippines campus in Quezon City last Monday, April 4.
A crowd of about a hundred people attended the launch of the 268-page book that is a brief illustrated history of the late former president Ferdinand Marcos’ regime that was beset with human rights violations and corruption. The author, with the aid of husband, Alan who served as editor, made use of books, documents, and official records and transcripts with many key players during those years all the way to the post-1986 Edsa People Power Revolution that overthrew the dictator.
“When I was doing this, I didn’t think it would be a timely project since the late president Marcos’ son, Bongbong, is running for the vice presidency,” said Robles in an interview with philstar.com. “This is but one means of correcting the revisionist history that is going around where people are saying that the Marcos years were a golden age for the Filipino people.”
“I was able to interview all the past Philippine presidents about this issue, former military men, as well as victims and survivors of human rights abuses. It is about as thorough as one can be.”
Robles laboriously and in great detail wrote about the rise of Marcos to the Martial Law years to the ills of the New Society all the way to its end during the People Power Revolution. “It is a timely book as well since it is published on the 30th year after the 1986 Revolution,” pointed out the author.
Aside from Robles, the book launch prominently featured engineer and social activist Roberto “Obet” Verzola, human rights lawyer and Senator Rene Saguisag, noted writer, poet, journalist, and screenwriter Pete Lacaba, writer-director Bonifacio Ilagan, and Dean Ronald Mendoza of the Ateneo School of Government. Verzola, Lacaba, and Ilagan spoke about their being detained and tortured by agents of the Marcos regime that brooked no dissent no matter how little.
Other prominent people who attended included former Chairman of the Commission on Elections Christian Monsod, political journalist Belinda Olivares-Cunanan, and Cecile Guidote Alvarez, the wife of former Senator Heherson “Sonny” Alvarez who along with her husband fled the Philippines soon after Martial Law was declared. Chito Gascon, former UP Student Council head and current Chair of the Human Rights Commission of the Philippines, was also in attendance.
“It is sad that today’s generation doesn’t know what happened during those dark years,” shared Saguisag who at the height of Martial Law formed the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity, Nationalism, Inc. that represented the victims of human rights abuse. “I think many quarters failed to communicate that and this is the result. This book by Raissa is a good one to use in teaching today’s generation about what transpired. Or else, as the philosopher George Santayana once said, ‘Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’”
Robles bared that she personally gave a copy of the book to several of the VP aspirants by going to the Senate. “I gave copies of the book to Senators Alan Cayetano, Francis Escudero, Gregorio Honasan, Antonio Trillanes, and Bongbong Marcos. The only person I was unable to give a copy was to Leni Robredo. And yes, I have signed forms that the Senators received the books.”
A limited “Collector’s Edition” of Marcos Martial Law: Never Again in coffee table-sized book form is available for P2,500 each.
A “Student Edition” – a black and white version, soft cover edition of the exact same book will be out shortly. For more details and inquiries, please go to raissarobles.com.