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Art, Literature, Films and Photography
Art, Literature, Films and Photography

President Marcos Press Conference on the State of Martial Law (1972)

AP Archive

1972

President Marcos Press Conference on the State of Martial Law (1972)

AP Archive

On 28 September 1972, less than a week after declaring Martial Law, President Ferdinand Marcos held a press conference on the state of the country. In this appearance, he reassures Filipinos that things are much better since his declaration and congratulates himself for “the sudden cessation of anarchy and criminality throughout the land.” He also proclaimed that he was implementing land reform throughout the Philippines and pledged that his administration would respect human rights.

This became a standard message during the Marcos regime under Martial Law, although most of the content were false and empty promises.

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“President Marcos Press Conference on the State of Martial Law,” Associated Press Archives, September 28, 1972.

Marcos in Ilocos (1988)

Probe Archives

2022

Marcos in Ilocos (1988)

Probe Archives

This 1988 Probe episode showed a glimpse of the popular opinion in Ilocos Norte two years since the ouster and exile of Marcos. This short video provided explanations about the unwavering loyalty of the Ilocanos to Marcos.

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Probe Archives, “Marcos in Ilocos,” Vimeo, 14:25, May 6, 2022.

President Ferdinand Marcos Proclaims Martial Law (1972)

AP Archive

1972

President Ferdinand Marcos Proclaims Martial Law (1972)

AP Archive

In this historic broadcast, President Marcos explains that the “proclamation of Martial Law” is “not a military takeover” but was undertaken “to protect the Republic of the Philippines” and “our democracy.” This short clip then shows scenes of citizens and military alike participate in cleaning and maintaining order in the streets.

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“President Ferdinand Marcos proclaims Martial law,” Associated Press Archives, September 23, 1972.

Pamana ni Marcos (2004)

Probe Archives

2022

Pamana ni Marcos (2004)

Probe Archives

This Probe documentary explores the persistent loyalty of the people of Ilocos to the Marcoses almost two decades after their ouster. It also shows the continued denial of Imelda Marcos regarding their ill-gotten wealth and other related crimes.

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Probe Archives, “Pamana ni Marcos,” Vimeo, 51:09, May 6, 2022.

Marcos’ Hidden Wealth (1989)

Probe Archives

2022

Marcos’ Hidden Wealth (1989)

Probe Archives

In this 1989 episode, the Probe follows the complex ways the Marcoses concealed their ill-gotten wealth. It also follows the court cases against the Marcoses in the United States and the investigations done by the newly formed Presidential Commission on Good Governance.

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Probe Archives, “Marcoses’ Ill-Gotten Wealth,” Vimeo, 14:47, May 6, 2022

Gold, Gold, and More Gold (1992)

Probe Archives

2022

Gold, Gold, and More Gold (1992)

Probe Archives

This episode of the Probe exposes the obscene and conspicuous wealth of the Marcoses by zooming in to the collections found in the Goldenberg Mansion. This Mansion is just one among many residences that contained opulent collections of paintings, artworks, furniture, among others, accumulated by the Marcos family.

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Probe Archives, “Gold, Gold and More Gold,” Vimeo, 12:56, May 6, 2022

Victory at Last? (1994)

Probe Archives

2022

Victory at Last? (1994)

Probe Archives

Eight years since the ouster of Marcos, the Probe looks into the entanglements of issues on jurisdiction regarding the punitive damages claimed by human rights victims during Martial Law.

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Probe Archives, “Victor at Last?” Vimeo, 15:12, May 6, 2022.

Third Eye: To Sing Our Own Song (1983)

BBC TV

2018

Third Eye: To Sing Our Own Song (1983)

BBC TV

This BBC documentary produced in 1983, narrated by Filipino lawyer and known Marcos opposition figure, Jose Diokno, is a comprehensive and real time account of the Marcos years. The documentary exposes the farcical economic development, corruption and the human rights violation committed by the Marcos regime. The documentary also shows the persistent resistance of the people despite the repressive state.

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BBC, “Third Eye: To Sing Own Song,” Youtube video, 14:17, October 17, 2018

A Conviction at Last (1993)

Probe Archives

2022

A Conviction at Last (1993)

Probe Archives

This September 1993 episode of The Probe looks into the first conviction of Imelda Marcos for the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses. Imelda Marcos remained resolute in contesting the conviction.

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Probe Archives, “A Conviction at Last,” Vimeo, 13:22, May 6, 2022

Students and drivers in First Quarter Storm protest, Manila (1970)

AP Archive

2015

Students and drivers in First Quarter Storm protest, Manila (1970)

AP Archive

Students and jeepney drivers join together in a citywide strike organized by Movement for a Democratic Philippines (MDP). In this clip, demonstrators are heard chanting “sumama na kayo (come join us)!”; later, a black cardboard coffin labeled “demokrasya” (democracy) is thrown to the ground. Upon reaching the US embassy, the marchers were barred by the police from entering the establishment.

The “People’s March,” which began in Welcome Rotonda, Quezon City, and went on to Plaza Lawton, Manila, is part of a wave of student-led demonstrations from January to March 1970, now known as the First Quarter Storm. “Fascism has always been in our country ever since the puppets of American imperialism started this republican farce that we now call Philippine democratic government,” said MDP spokesperson Nelson Navarro in an interview. “Marcos has aggravated it by the use of special forces. Marcos is trying to create an armed forces of his own within the armed forces itself.”

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AP Archive,“SYND 5 3 70 Students and Taxi Drivers Demonstrate in Manila,” YouTube video, 1:18, July 24, 2015

Papal Visit protest at Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila (1981)

AP Archive

2015

Papal Visit protest at Liwasang Bonifacio, Manila (1981)

AP Archive

On 17 January 1981, via Proclamation No. 2045, President Ferdinand Marcos officially lifted martial law. This was widely seen as an effort to create a positive image for his administration in time for the papal visit in the following month, and to placate growing opposition within the Catholic church.

Four days before the Pope’s arrival, the People’s Assembly for the Pope’s Arrival (Papa), an alliance of 32 anti-Marcos groups, gathered at the Liwasang Bonifacio in Manila to decry American imperialism and the dictatorial rule of Ferdinand Marcos. In this clip we see seminarians at the frontlines carrying a large wooden cross, which police forces pushed back and eventually destroyed in their attempts to halt the procession.

In his first homily during his six-day stay, the Pope, without mentioning Marcos’ name, condemned the use of violence to maintain peace and order. The New York Times reports: “‘Even in exceptional situations that may at times arise, one can never justify any violation of the fundamental dignity of the human person or of the basic rights that safeguard this dignity,’ the Pope declared as Mr. Marcos sat stolidly on one of the thronelike gilt chairs on the stage. ‘Legitimate concern for the security of a nation, as demanded by the common good, could lead to the temptation of subjugating to the state the human being and his or her dignity and rights.’”

However, in a separate discussion with religious orders at the Manila Cathedral, Pope John Paul II also cautioned against social involvement: “You are priests and religious. You are not social or political leaders or officials of a temporal power. Let us not be under the illusion that we are serving the gospel if we dilute our charisma through an exaggerated interest in the wide field of temporal problems.”

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AP Archive, “Demonstration Against the Repressive Policies of President Ferdinand Marcos,” YouTube video, 1:46, July 28, 2015,

Aftermath of Ninoy Aquino’s assassination (1983)

AP Archive

2021

Aftermath of Ninoy Aquino’s assassination (1983)

AP Archive

On August 21, 1983, former senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino was returning home aboard China Airlines flight C1-811 after three years of self-imposed exile in the United States. Six years earlier, he was convicted by a military court for subversion, murder, and illegal possession of firearms. Aquino was sentenced to death by firing squad, and was jailed until he was allowed in 1980 to undergo heart surgery in the US.

The military was alerted of Aquino’s homecoming, to which, upon instructions by Gen. Fabian Ver, they drew up Oplan Balikbayan: a “total security system that envisions minimum exposure of subject” and “if properly implemented… shall be able to ensure complete security of subject.” Around 1,199 officers were assigned to provide security, crowd control, intelligence, and surveillance in the area; however, no medical group was assigned in case of emergency.

Aquino was aware of the danger he faced upon his return. He was wearing a bulletproof vest, and escorted by journalists. “You have to be ready with your hand camera because this action can become very fast,” Aquino told them. “In a matter of three or four minutes it could be all over, and I may not be able to talk to you again after this.”

Aquino’s words proved true. As he alighted the plane escorted by two officers of the Aviation Security Command (AVSECOM), he was shot point-blank at the back of his head. An AVSECOM van took him to the Philippine Army General Hospital in Fort Bonifacio, where he was pronounced dead on arrival. “Nasingitan ang mga tauhan natin (they slipped past our men),” said General Ver.

In this clip, we see the body of Rolando Galman, clad in blue, on the tarmac. Galman was accused of being the killer. Ninoy’s sister Tessie is also seen awash in disbelief. Outside the terminal, a throng of supporters eager to welcome Aquino, including filmmaker Lino Brocka, were chanting “We want Ninoy!” until they received the grim news.

A government spokesman recounts the events of the assassination. Aquino’s body was left in its bloodied state for viewing by thousands of Filipinos. “The united opposition strongly condemns the brutal and treacherous murder of Senator Benigno S. Aquino while he was at the Manila International Airport and in the custody of the military,” says new opposition leader Salvador Laurel in a press conference.

Three days after Aquino’s death, Marcos established a short-lived commission to investigate the incident. Another commission was created that came to the conclusion that the assassination was a military conspiracy. While a number of military officers were charged with murder, they were acquitted a few months later.

On 10 December 1987, by virtue of RA 6639, Congress renamed Manila International Airport to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in memory of the slain senator. His portrait was also placed on the 500-peso note, which was officially reintroduced a few months earlier on 21 August.

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AP Archive, “GS 24 8 83 Aftermath of Assassination of Opposition Leader, Benigno Aquino in Manila,” YouTube video, 3:38, April 10, 2021.