By Gerald Leigh Laquinon
A MARTIAL law survivor and book author on Monday cautioned citizens against voting for presidential candidate Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr..
During the forum “The Truth About Martial Law: Real People, Real Stories” at Xavier University, journalist and book author Susan Quimpo said there were signs that Duterte would be a strongman like the late former president Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
Quimpo, a martial law survivor, spoke of the horrors she and her family experienced during the Marcos dictatorship.
“Martial law is about fear… Today, a presidential aspirant says he will ‘instill fear,’ and rid us of crime in three to six months,” she said, referring to Duterte.
But Quimpo said, “Discipline starts from within, we can’t just surrender our freedom to anyone and let them do our job.”
She said Duterte’s pronouncements, his controversial joke about rape, and his bragging of the extra-judicial killings of ‘criminals’ in Davao were “authoritarianism mantras being sold to us today which will only lead this country to tragedy.”
She also decried Sen. Marcos’s refusal to acknowledge the abuses committed during the “dark years of his father’s 20-year rule.”
“The victims killed by the thousands should be the ones buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, not the dictator himself,” said Quimpo.
Quimpo has been going to different campuses to speak against the “historical revisionism” of the martial law years.
She shared her true story which was published in a book entitled “Subversive Lives: A Family Memoir of the Marcos Years” she co-edited and co-authored.
Quimpo recalled how she and her siblings became activists, and about their arrests and tortures.
One of her brothers was among the desaparacidos; another one sought refuge abroad while two others went underground and joined the New People’s Army (NPA).
“This is how it feels to walk into a morgue with unclaimed bodies– bloodied, bulletidden, murdered — extrajudicially. This is how it feels to live in constant fear,” said Quimpo, talking about how they retrieved the body of his slain brother.
She hoped that through her stories and the objective discussion of the historical facts, the younger generation would be guided as they vote on May 9.