The Philippines History-
During Martial Law
by: Hanan Edres
The Marcos administration (1965–72)
On 1965, Ferdinand Marcos won the Presidential election and became the 10th President
of the Philippines.
His first term was marked with increased industrialization and the creation of solid
infrastructure nationwide, such as the North Luzon Expressway and the Maharlika Highway.
Marcos also increased the funding of the Armed Forces, to help modernize Philippine
capability to defend itself from foreign or internal threats.
He soon mobilized the army to help in construction.
Marcos also established schools and learning institutions nationwide, more than of his
In 1969, Marcos ran for a second term (allowable under the 1935 constitution then in effect),
and won versus 11 other candidates. Marcos began his second term by creating a personality
cult of sorts around himself, mandating that all public institutions must carry a picture of the
President, and even replacing some billboards with his propaganda messages.
Marcos' second term was marked by economic turmoil brought about by factors both external
and internal, a restless student body who demanded educational reforms, a rising crime rate, and
a growing Communist insurgency, among other things.
In October 30, 1970 a massive protest in Mendiola, were made by student protesters and
communist elements known First Quarter Storm. They became violent, and started to destroy
Government properties. They were later successfully quelled by Police forces using batons and
fire trucks. This marked a period of student protesting around Metro Manila, especially near the
University Belt. At one point, student activists and communist elements took over the Diliman
campus of the University of the Philippines and declared it a free commune, which the
government gave them time for their right to express themselves before dissolving the rally.
Protests continued over the next few years. Criminals took advantage of this situation and
started looting, while Communist elements started preaching about the benefits of a
Communist Government. Due to the threat of Communism takeover and rising criminality,
Martial Law was declared in 1972.
Plaza Miranda bombing
On August 21, 1971, the Liberal Party held a campaign rally at the Plaza Miranda to
proclaim their Senatorial bets and their candidate for the Mayoralty of Manila. Two
grenades were reportedly tossed on stage, injuring almost everybody present. As a result,
Marcos suspended the writ of habeas corpus in order to arrest those behind the attack.
He rounded up a list of supposed suspects, Maoists, and other undesirables. In an effort to
eliminate rivals in the Liberal Party, Marcos and his allies took an investigation and which it
turnout - coming from the opposition .The writ was briefly restored on January 11, 1972
amidst widespread protest. Decades later,the CPP under Jose Ma. Sison admitted that
they were responsible for the Plaza Miranda attack, though Marcos got blamed for it
presumably to eliminate the Opposition senatorial candidates considering that his own
candidates are lagging.
Martial law (1972–1981)
In September 1972, then Defence Minister Juan Ponce Enrile was ambushed while en
route home. The assassination attempt, which Enrile claims was real, along with the
growing threat of the New People's Army, citizen unrest, a restless student body who
demanded educational reforms, a rising crime rate and a growing Communist insurgency.
On September 21 President Marcos issued Presidential Proclamation No. 1081, proclaiming
a State of martial law in the Philippines.Due to uncontrolled situation of the country
Martial law (1972–1981)
Marcos, who henceforth ruled by decree, curtailed press freedom and other civil liberties,
abolished Congress, controlled media establishments, and ordered the arrest of opposition
leaders and militant activists, including his staunchest critics Senators Benigno Aquino, Jr.
and Jose W. Diokno. Initially, the declaration of martial law was well-received, given the
social turmoil of the period.
it was made clear that Martial law was no military take-over of the government, the
immediate reaction of some sectors of the nation was of astonishment and dismay, for
even if everyone knew that the gravity of the disorder, lawlessness, social injustice, youth
and student activism and other disturbing movements had reached a point of peril, they
felt that martial law over the whole country was not yet warranted.
Martial law (1972–1981)
Worse, political motivations were ascribed to be behind the proclamation, what with the
then constitutionally unextendible term of President Marcos about to expire, and this
suspicion became more credible when opposition leaders and outspoken anti-
administration media people who did not hesitate to resort even to libel were immediately
placed under indefinite detention in military camps and other unusual restrictions were
imposed on travel, communication, freedom of speech and of the press, etc. In a word,
the martial law regime was anathema to no small portion of the populace.
In other words, the problem was what may be needed for national survival or the
restoration of normalcy in the face of a crisis or an emergency should be reconciled with
the popular mentality and attitude of the people against martial law.
recent speech before his fellow alumni of the University of the Philippines College of Law,
President Marcos declared his intention to lift martial law by the end of January 1981
December 12, 1980 when the President declared: "We must erase once and for all from
the public mind any doubts as to our resolve to bring martial law to an end and to minister to
an orderly transition to parliamentary government."
December 22, 1980 when the President proclaimed: "A few days ago, following extensive
consultations with a broad representation of various sectors of the nation and in keeping with
the pledge made a year ago during the seventh anniversary of the New Society, I came to
the firm decision that martial law should be lifted before the end of January, 1981, and that
only in a few areas where grave problems of public order and national security continue to
exist will martial law continue to remain in force."
During the early years of Martial Law, the Philippine economy grew a
significant amount, spurred by heavy borrowing from transnational banking
companies and government-to-government loans. By 1980, however, the
heavy burden of foreign debt servicing took its toll in the economy, and
mismanagement of important industries due to crony capitalism led the
economy to a downturn. The assassination of popular opposition leader
Benigno Aquino in 1983 led to the pull-out of foreign capital from the country,
resulting in negative GDP growth in 1983 and 1984.
The first formal elections since 1969 for an interim Batasang Pambansa
(National Assembly) were held on April 7, 1978. Sen. Aquino, then in jail,
decided to run as leader of his party, the Lakas ng Bayan party, but they did
not win any seats in the Batasan, despite public support and their apparent
victory. The night before the elections, supporters of the LABAN party showed
their solidarity by setting up a "noise barrage" in Manila, creating noise the
whole night until dawn.
Proclamation No. 1081
o Proclamation No 1081 was the declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines by President
Ferdinand E. Marcos. It became effective throughout the entire country on 21 September
1972, and was announced to the public two days later. It was formally lifted on 17 January
1981—six months before the first presidential election in the Philippines in twelve years.
Under the pretext of an assassination of then-Defence Secretary (now Senator) Juan
Ponce Enrile and an ensuing Communist insurgency, President Marcos enacted the
Proclamation that he might be able to rule by military power.
He initially signed the Proclamation on 17 September 1972, but it was postdated to 21
September because of Marcos' superstitions and numerological beliefs. Marcos formally
announced the Proclamation in a live television and radio broadcast from Malacañang
Palace a further two days later on the evening of 23 September 1972.
Proclamation No. 1081
The following year, President Marcos replaced the 1935 Constitution with a new one that
changed the system of government from a presidential to a parliamentary one, with
himself remaining in power as both head of state (with the title "President") and head of
government (titled "Prime Minister"). President Marcos also manipulated elections and had
his political coalition–the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL; English: New Society Movement)–
control the unicameral legislature he created, known as the Batasang Pambansa.
President Marcos formally lifted Martial Law on 17 January 1981, several weeks before the
first pastoral visit of Pope John Paul II to the Philippines for the beatification of Lorenzo Ruiz.
General Order No. 1 - The President proclaimed that he shall direct the entire government,
including all its agencies and instrumentalities, and exercise all powers of his office including his
role as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
General Order No. 2 – The President directed the Secretary of National Defense to arrest or
cause the arrest and take into his custody the individuals named in the attached list and to hold
them until otherwise so ordered by the President or by his duly designated representative, as
well as to arrest or cause the arrest and take into his custody and to hold them otherwise
ordered released by him or by his duly authorized representative such persons who may have
committed crimes described in the Order.
General Order No.3 – The President ordered that all executive departments, bureaus, offices,
agencies and instrumentalities of the National Government, government owned or controlled
corporations, as well all governments of all the provinces, cities, municipalities and barrios
should continue to function under their present officers and employees, until otherwise ordered
by the President or by his duly designated representatives. The President further ordered that the
Judiciary should continue to function in accordance with its present organization and
personnel, and should try to decide in accordance with existing laws all criminal and civil cases,
except certain cases enumerated in the Order.
General Order No. 4 – The President ordered that a curfew be maintained
and enforced throughout the Philippines from twelve o’clock midnight until
four o’clock in the morning.
General Order No. 5 – All rallies, demonstrations and other forms of group
actions including strikes and picketing in vital industries such as in
companies engaged in manufacture or processing as well as in production
or processing of essential commodities or products for exports, and in
companies engaged in banking of any kind, as well as in hospitals and in
schools and colleges are prohibited.
General Order No. 6 – No person shall keep, possess or carry outside of his
residence any firearm unless such person is duly authorized to keep, possess
or carry any such Philippines except to those who are being sent abroad in
the service of the Philippines.
The Fourth Republic (1981–1986)
The opposition boycotted the June 16, 1981 presidential elections, which pitted
Marcos and his Kilusang Bagong Lipunan party against retired Gen. Alejo Santos
of the Nacionalista Party. Marcos won by a margin of over 16 million votes,
which constitutionally allowed him to have another six-year term. Finance
Minister Cesar Virata was elected as Prime Minister by the Batasang Pambansa.
In 1983, opposition leader Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. was assassinated at Manila
International Airport upon his return to the Philippines after a long period of exile
in the United States. This coalesced popular dissatisfaction with Marcos and
began a series of events, including pressure from the United States, that
culminated in a snap presidential election on February 7, 1986.
The election was marred by widespread reports of violence and tampering with
results by the Marcos side.
The official election canvasser, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC),
declared Marcos the winner, despite a walk-out staged by disenfranchised
computer technicians on February 9. According to the COMELEC's final
tally, Marcos won with 10,807,197 votes to Aquino's 9,291,761 votes. By
contrast, the final tally of NAMFREL, an accredited poll watcher, said
Aquino won with 7,835,070 votes to Marcos's 7,053,068.
However, the complete NAMFREL count done in 1987 revealed that Marcos
would still have won with 10,635,458 against Aquino's 9,853,456.
A peaceful civilian-military uprising forced Marcos into exile and installed
Corazon Aquino as president on 25 February 1986.
End of the Marcos regime
The fraudulent result was not accepted by Aquino and her supporters.
International observers, including a U.S. delegation led by Sen. Richard
Lugar , denounced the official results. Gen. Fidel Ramos and Defence
Minister Juan Ponce Enrile then withdrew their support for the
administration, defecting and barricading themselves within Camp Crame.
This resulted in the peaceful 1986 EDSA Revolution that forced Marcos into
exile in Hawaii while Corazon Aquino became the 11th President of the
Philippines on February 25, 1986. Under Aquino, the Philippines would adopt
a new constitution, ending the Fourth Republic and ushering the beginning
of the Fifth Republic.