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Presidential Powers

Letter of Instruction No. 1

Ferdinand E. Marcos

1972

Letter of Instruction No. 1

Ferdinand E. Marcos

Along with Proclamation 1081, President Marcos, signed “Letter of Instruction No. 1″ addressed to the Press Secretary and the Secretary of National Defense, pertaining to media operations. Effectively, the President instructed these bodies, stating…”you are hereby ordered forthwith to take over and control or cause the taking over and control of all such newspapers, magazines, radio and television facilities and all other media of communications, wherever they are, for the duration of the present national emergency, or until otherwise ordered by me or my duly designated representative.”

After declaring Martial Law, the very first letter of instruction President Marcos signed institutionalized censorship of all forms of media, curtailing the freedom of the press.

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Marcos, Ferdinand E., “Letter of Instruction No. 1,” Official Gazette, Government of the Philippines, September 22, 1972.

The Radio-TV Address of President Marcos

Ferdinand E. Marcos

1972

The Radio-TV Address of President Marcos

Ferdinand E. Marcos

On September 23, 1972, two days after he signed Proclamation 1081 imposing Martial Law on the entire country, President Marcos addressed the people of the Philippines on radio and television. On this Radio-TV address, he provided the rationale of military rule as “public safety requires it” and as the nation was “imperilled by the danger of violent overthrow, an insurrection or a rebellion.” In his address, he emphasized that “this is not a military takeover,” and yet, he orders the military to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, prohibit any rallies or demonstrations, and to arrest those “directly involved in the conspiracy to overthrow” the government. Curfew was imposed from 12am to 4am the departure of Filipinos to go abroad was suspended. Furthermore, President Marcos declared that “If you offend the New Society, you shall be punished like the rest of the offenders,” and yet reassured the Filipinos expressing, “but to the ordinary citizens, to almost all of you whose primary concern is merely to be left alone to pursue your lawful activities, this is the guarantee of that freedom that you seek.” This address did not provide much reassurance but was foreboding of the bad things to come.

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Marcos, Ferdinand E. Radio-TV Address of his Excellency Ferdinand E. Marcos, President of the Philippines, Delivered in Malacanang, September 23, 1972.
Marcos, F. E. (1978). Presidential speeches (Vol. 4). [Manila : Office of the President of the Philippines].

Proclamation No. 1081

Ferdinand E. Marcos

1972

Proclamation No. 1081

Ferdinand E. Marcos

A most important and historic document, Proclamation No. 1081, contained the formal proclamation of Martial Law in the Philippines by President Ferdinand Marcos. It was signed on September 23, 1972, then back dated to September 21, 1972, but only announced to the public on September 23, 1972. The document outlines the rationale for the declaration of Martial Law, stating that “there is throughout the land a state of anarchy and lawlessness, chaos and disorder, turmoil and destruction of a magnitude equivalent to an actual war.”

This proclamation marked the beginning of the authoritarian rule of President Marcos, which lasted for 14 years. Marcos assumed powers essentially as a dictator as he declared, “in my capacity as their commander-in-chief, do hereby command the armed forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well as any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction.”

With Proclamation No. 1081, President Marcos then signed several General Orders and Letters of Instruction that cemented his authoritarian powers, which included arresting persons without due process, suspending the writ of habeas corpus, curtailing the freedom of the press, prohibiting strikes and mass actions, among others. This proclamation also stopped the democratic process allowing him to rule the Philippines, essentially without legitimate Elections and opposition, until his ouster in 1986.

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Marcos, Ferdinand E., “Proclamation 1081,” Official Gazette, Government of the Philippines, September 21, 1972.