Former Senator Alvarez accepts Enrile's challenge to debate on Marcos' martial law

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 24) — Former Senator Heherson "Sonny" Alvarez is willing to take up former Senate President and Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile's challenge to a debate on martial law under late strongman Ferdinand Marcos

"I accept the challenge. I'd like to point out that martial law is the darkest point in our history that caused the death of many and the suffering of many more," Alvarez said in a video posted on social media.

"Itong debateng ito ay maaaring ganapin kahit sa telebisyon, radyo, kahit saan at kahit kailan."

[Translation: We can have this debate on television, radio, anywhere and anytime.]

Alvarez was responding to Enrile's statements in a video released by former Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. The two discussed what prompted the latter's father to declare martial law in 1972.

But the one-on-one is rife with apparent false claims, including statements from Enrile and Marcos denying human rights violations under the Marcos regime. The elder senator challenged the public to name people who were killed and arrested in that period.

Thousands of human rights victims under the Marcos regime won a class action suit in a Hawaii court against the late President's estate for abuses they suffered. A Philippine law has been passed to provide them reparations from a portion of billions of dollars in ill-gotten wealth recovered by the government from the Marcoses and their cronies.

Enrile was defense minister of the elder Marcos, and is often referred to as the architect of martial law. A supposed assassination attempt on him in 1972 was used to justify the declaration, but in 1986 Enrile said in numerous interviews that the ambush was staged. In his 2012 memoir, he retracted that admission.

Alvarez added that the Marcos regime "weakened the economy and improverished our people."

The Marcos family was estimated to have stolen up to $10 billion while in power, plunging the country into debt.

RELATED: Lessons from the boom-bust martial law economy

Alvarez served for two senatorial terms, beginning in 1987 after the 1986 People Power Revolution that toppled Marcos. He was also Secretary for the Department of Agrarian Reform and Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

"Kinakailangan pag-usapan natin to," said Alvarez. "Gusto kong harapin si Senator Enrile sa kanyang hamon upang lalo natin liwanagin itong mapait [at] madilim na patayan at nakawan na ginawa ng rehimen ni President Marcos."

[Translation: We have to talk aobut this. I want to face Senator Enrile and take on his challenge so we can shed light on the bitter and dark killings and thievery that happened under President Marcos' regime.]