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Reli L. German: Days to remember in September


The event that people associate with during this month was when Ferdinand Marcos imposed Martial Law on September 21, 1972. However, for Ilocandia and the faithful followers of Marcos, there are two other dates this month that hold special significance.

The first is the 100th birth anniversary of the dictator who was born in Sarrat, Ilocos Norte on September 11, 1917. The second is September 28, the date when he died a lonely death in 1989 in Honolulu, Hawaii where he was forced into exile by the EDSA People Power Revolution of February 25, 1986. He was then 72.

Incidentally, September 28 is also the birthday of the late President Diosdado “Dadong” Macapagal, who was born in 1910 in Lubao, Pampanga. He was the political nemesis of Marcos and father of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who is now Congresswoman of the 2nd District of Pampanga. It was Cong Dadong who was defeated by Marcos in the 1965 presidential elections.

Today’s millennials may not know it but it was Cong Dadong who restored the date of Philippine Independence back to June 12, the date in 1898 when Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed in Kawit, Cavite the country’s independence from American rule. That proclamation was ratified on September 29 that same year by the Malolos Congress which met at the Barasoain Church 14 days earlier on September 15 with 95 delegates from various parts of the country to begin the convention of what was then the Philippine Revolutionary Government.

Prior to Macapagal’s move, we had been observing Independence Day on July 4, the day in 1945 when the United States “granted” us our independence.

But back to the martial law period. It was on September 23, 1972 when then Senator Ninoy Aquino was arrested and thrown into a military stockade. That was 10 days after he delivered on September 13, a privilege speech in the Senate where he exposed Oplan Sagittarius, the Marcos Master Plan for the imposition of martial law in the country. The plan included bombings and a fake September 22 ambush of then Defense Secretary Juan Ponce Enrile in order to create an atmosphere of chaos and disorder that would be used to justify the dictator’s declaration of martial law.

After the EDSA Revolt, a reorganized Supreme Court ordered on September 12, 1986 the retrial of 25 military men and a civilian for the murder of Ninoy. Four years later on September 28, 1990 the Sandiganbayan found 16 defendants guilty and sentenced them to life imprisonment.

As it turns out, 1972 was actually the third time the whole country was placed under martial law. The Internet says the first was during the Spanish rule when then Governor General Ramon Blanco imposed military rule on August 30, 1896 in Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Pampanga, Tarlac, Laguna, Batangas and Nueva Ecija. This was after the Katipunan started the revolt against Spain on August 26 that year.

The Internet also shows that it was also on September 21, 1944 when wartime Philippine President Jose P. Laurel placed the country under martial law. This was at the instance of the Japanese military after US planes bombed Davao on September 18 as a prelude to the return of General Douglas MacArthur who landed with US liberating forces in Palo, Leyte a month later on October 20, 1944.

And still on another September 21 (1949) Carlos P. Romulo, the famous journalist, author, solider, educator and diplomat was elected President of the United Nations General Assembly. He was the only Filipino and the first Asian to hold that eminently prestigious position,

Lastly, there is another September-born person that we Filipinos should be very wary about. He is the dictator’s son, Bongbong, who has been lusting for the presidency and who marked his 60th birthday last September 13.