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Lagman refutes Panelo: Martial law commemoration not meant to ‘celebrate tragedy’

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Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Monday said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo was wrong in saying that the declaration of martial was a tool to save democracy, as he argued that it did the opposite.

“Martial law derogates democracy with widespread repression and curtailment of civil liberties instead of ‘saving democracy’,” he said.

“It is a tool to arrogate power and impose military rule for contrived excuses,” said Lagman.

He was reacting to Panelo’s statement on Sunday that: “Those who perceive that a declaration of martial law is anti-democratic is oblivious of the fact that its application is precisely the very tool to save the exercise of democracy.”

But Lagman reminded the spokesperson: “The declaration of the Marcos martial law is commemorated not to celebrate a national tragedy but to remind Filipinos not to forget the atrocities and plunder it spawned, and also to resist its resurgence,” he said.

Lagman, a Liberal Party member, said it was “inordinately shameful that while the 47th anniversary of Marcos’ martial rule is marked, martial law in the entire of Mindanao has been extended repeatedly.”

“The imposition of Marcos’ martial law is also commemorated to counter revisionist attempts to deodorize the odious regime and highlight pseudo Marcos achievements even as the sins of the Marcoses are sanitized and hidden under the ugly rug of historical perfidy,” he said.

“Many believe that today there is an undeclared martial law in the entire country where the rule of law is flaunted, due process transgressed, human rights violated and authoritarianism persists,” Lagman said.

“Filipinos must never forget the tragedy of martial law and must not forgive the perpetrators and beneficiaries of martial law. National amnesia must be purged as an abhorrent malaise,” he added.

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