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The ‘porking’ empire strikes back


Former senator Francisco Tatad

The folks who brought us the hellish nightmare of martial law 41 years ago are back in the news. Actually, they never left. This week, on the 41st anniversary of the declaration of martial law by Dictator Ferdinand Marcos, his former Propaganda Minister (also known as the “Press Secretary”) wrote a spirited defense of the regime’s former Defense Minister by attacking the integrity of the son of the man they arrested on the evening of September 22, 1972, before martial law was declared on September 23, 1972, and then incarcerated in solitary confinement for 8 years.

No, it was not a typo. Martial law was declared on September 23, 1972, not Sept. 21 as many newspapers, columnists and politicians will incorrectly report.

The pretext for the declaration of martial law was the staged ambush of the passenger-less car of Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile on the evening of September 22, 1972 (neighborhood witnesses reported seeing men in military uniforms pumping an empty car with bullets). The next day, on Saturday, September 23, Propaganda Minister Francisco “Kits” Tatad went on the air over all the TV stations to read the text of Presidential Decree 1081, officially announcing the declaration of martial law. A few hours later, Marcos himself went on the air to explain his justification for martial law without mentioning that his term as president would end a year later and that he was barred by the Constitution from running for a third term.

In his personal diary entry for September 21, 1972, handwritten on Malacañang stationary, Marcos wrote, “Johnny Ponce Enrile…and Kits Tatad finished all the papers (the proclamation and the orders) at 8 pm.” On the following day, September 22, 1972, he posted at 9:55 PM: “Sec. Juan Ponce Enrile was ambushed near Wack Wack at about 8:00 pm tonight. It was a good thing he was riding in his security car as a protective measure… This makes the martial law proclamation a necessity.” Right. His diary entry for September 25, 1972 describes conditions after two days of martial law, further confirming that martial law was declared on September 23, 1972.

New York Times correspondent Raymond Bonner, in his book Waltzing with the Dictator (1988, Times Books) wrote that Enrile told him in an interview in 1986 that he witnessed President Marcos sign Proclamation No. 1081 on the morning of September 23, 1972.  The New York Times’ article about the declaration of martial law (Mass Arrests and Curfew Announced in Philippines; Mass Arrests Ordered in the Philippines) appeared on September 24, 1972 issue. The Daily Express announced that Marcos the news of the declaration of martial law on the front page of its September 24, 1972 issue.

Enrile revealed in his interview that he and Tatad were members of the “Rolex 12” who helped Marcos plan martial law. The “Dirty Dozen” included:  Gen. Fabian Ver; Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Romeo Espino; Army chief Maj. Gen. Rafael Zagala; Maj. Gen. Ignacio Paz, head of Army intelligence; Air Force Maj. Gen. Jose Rancudo; Navy Rear Adm. Hilario Ruiz; Brig. Gen. Tomas Diaz, head of a key Constabulary unit; Brig. Gen. Alfredo Montoya, head of the Manila Metropolitan Command; Col. Romeo Gatan, commander of the constabulary in Tarlac; and crony Eduardo Cojuangco.

On the evening of Friday, September 22, 1972, Marcos’ storm troopers engaged in sweeping mass arrests of opposition figures including Senators Benigno S. Aquino Jr., Jose Diokno, Francisco Rodrigo and Rep. Ramon Mitra Jr., and members of the media such as Joaquin Roces, Teodoro Locsin Sr., Maximo Soliven and Amando Doronila and thousands of activists throughout the Philippines. Those who resisted were shot and killed. Congress was shut down and the courts’ powers drastically curtailed. In the course of the next 14 years, thousands of Filipinos from Edgar Jopson to Liliosa Hilao were killed or “salvaged” by the forces of martial law.

Why was the date of the declaration of martial law changed? Apparently, because of Marcos’ obsession with numerology and with the number 7, he asked Tatad to make sure that Proclamation No. 1081 was officially declared to be signed on a date that was divisible by seven. Tatad dutifully complied with Marcos’ command and September 21, 1972 became the official date that Martial Law was established and the date the Marcos dictatorship began.

Tatad likely read the books by and about Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda and National Enlightenment. Goebbels said: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” A tribute to Tatad’s incredible propaganda skills is that Filipinos even today still swallow his line that martial law was declared on September 21, 1972, allowing Marcos – from his grave – to control history on his terms.

And now 41 years later, “Kits” Tatad is still at it. When his friend, and martial law cohort Enrile was under attack for allegedly conniving with pork barrel scammer Janet Lim-Napoles to direct hundreds of millions of his pork barrel allocations to her bogus NGOs, with the proceeds split between them, Tatad was prepared to attack Pres. PNoy Aquino.
In his Manila Standard column on September 16, 2013, Tatad disclosed that “highly authoritative sources” told him that “President Benigno S. Aquino III spent several hours in “closed- door conversations” with Janet Lim Napoles, the suspected mastermind in the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam involving selected opposition lawmakers, before showcasing to the media her formal “surrender” to “the only person she trusted,” on the evening of August 28, 2013.”

This was masterful propaganda. Don’t be on the defensive, go on the offensive. Don’t retreat, attack. Without once mentioning the name of any of his dubious sources, Tatad sought to discredit the damaging revelations made by whistle-blower Benhur Luy about the Pork Barrel money that was funneled by Napoles to Enrile and his senate cohorts, Jinggoy Estrada, Bong Revilla, Gringo Honasan whom Tatad described as “selected opposition lawmakers”.

Movie star Sen. Bong Revilla, the son of a movie star politician, had charged that the government’s filing of plunder charges against them is “a case of the administration doing a demolition job on the opposition.” Columnist Conrado de Quiros shot back. “What exactly makes them the opposition? What are they opposed to? The way things look, they’re opposed only to honesty, they’re opposed only to public service. In his particular case, his signature on Napoles’ vouchers is all over the place. No amount of shouting forgery will change the fact.”

Another movie star son of a movie star politician, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, told the press that “They are conditioning the mind of the public that we are the worst thieves, and that I cannot accept.” As the Philippine Daily Inquirer noted, “Estrada didn’t deny that he and his co-accused are thieves, only that they are not the worst ones – which may be technically true.”

“Guinness lists Ferdinand Marcos as having made off with the largest loot in the country’s history. Ex-presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo have both been accused of the heinous crime of plunder, with the former convicted of it and the latter’s nine-year stay in Malacañang pockmarked by one corruption scandal after another.”

The Inquirer editorial continued:  “The three senators are at the top of the sordid food chain of government officials and enterprising outside operators like Napoles who, according to the NBI and the Department of Justice, conspired to profit from the misappropriation, conversion, misuse, and malversation of their Priority Development Assistance Fund, or PDAF.”

Because Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada botched their defense (no prepared scripts for them to read kasi), it would be up to veteran propagandist Tatad to show the rank amateurs how it is done. First, make up a straw man story (Napoles had lunch with PNoy), then proceed to knock it down. The grander the charge, the more credible it is.

In a fashion that would make Goebbels proud, Tatad described the shock of his sources -“To them, it affects the whole fabric of morality in government, and ultimately Aquino’s moral fitness to remain in office.”

Of course it doesn’t matter that Aquino did not have lunch with Napoles because, as Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said, “The President was at two high-profile events at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. with hundreds of attendees. At both events the President also delivered speeches, the videos of which are now collectively embedded on the President’s Day page for Aug. 28, 2013.”

Tatad is undeterred by documentary evidence to the contrary. A master propagandist will never let facts get in the way of the story. In his article, Tatad attributed a quote to his unnamed sources about their reaction to Aquino’s alleged lunch meeting with Napoles. “This is worse than Nixon’s Watergate,” they said. “They’ve taken all of us for a ride, with no compunction or remorse. They are all morally bankrupt; they have no respect for the truth.”

Ironically, Tatad’s words are a perfect description of exactly what the Marcoses, with the able assistance of Enrile, Tatad and the “Rolex 12” did before, during, and after martial law was declared on September 23, 1972.

The tragedy is not that the perpetrators of the martial law nightmare are still at it 41 years later but that many of us still swallow their big lies.

(Send comments to or mail them to the Law Offices of Rodel Rodis at 2429 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127 or call415.334.7800).

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  • albert13

    the article is very meaningful…… coming from a writer who has renounced his pinoy citizenship and taking allegiance to the american flag.

    • Hannah Blake

      madami pa din talaga ang mga kaanib ni Marcos! isa kn doon!

      • albert13

        can you honestly say and promise to die that you are also a green card holder from the US of A?

  • OMyGulay

    He is a LAWYER (pronounced as LIER) indeed.

    • Noel

      Tatad is not a lawyer. You might be referring to Rodis.

      • JamesJ

        bayaran ka ba ni Tatad?.

      • Noel

        Paano ako sasagot sa isang low IQ na tulad mo? Kaya nga sabi ko hindi abogado si Tatad dahil kung umasta akala mo abogado.

  • Darren Stone

    Tatad ng kasinungalingan ang taong ito mula noon hangang ngayon..wer u na dito na me sabi nya sa kausap sa celpon.

  • Bucephalus

    Kita Tatad is a pedophile, during Marcos time he drugged and abused several minors as told by some of my sources.

    • Noel

      I’m sure your source is not from the Catholic Church because Tatad is a member of Opus Dei. In case you don’t know what Opus Dei is, please make some research.

      • Bucephalus

        Even priests nowadays commit molestations, Don’t even think that just because he is a member of Opus Dei he did not do these things. Kindly read the news about priests, it seems you’re out of reality Noel boy.

      • Noel

        I did not say he’s clean, holy and innocent. What I meant was that he’s a Catholic fanatic who belongs to a secret group willing to fight and die for the Catholic Church. It’s similar to the Knights Templar of the Freemason.

      • albert13

        are you implying that the opus dei and the knights templar are birds of the same feather?

      • Noel

        YES. But one is religious group while the other is more of a brotherhood fraternity. Masons are being persecuted by the Catholic Church. Catholics who join Freemasonry are not allowed Catholic ritual when they die.

      • JamesJ

        bayaran ka ba ni Tatad?..

      • Noel

        Tanga ka na tangna ka pa. May pagka negatibo pa nga nang sinabi kong isang Opus Dei siya.

      • BCon

        As in read “The Da Vinci Code”? he he he

  • bosesprobinsyano

    So what if Napoles had “silent/confidential ” moment with President or Obama or Pope or with God (she should have now)? Does it twist and change the truth about the PDAF issue? Does it make Tatad’s men innocent? If I were the president, I should ask for confidential moment with Napoles to know the truth coz it will really help for me to be guided. NAPOLES’S MEETING WITH THE PRESIDENT or the statement of NAPOLES , is NOT, and COULD NOT BE THE SOURCE OF THE TRUTH nor BASIS OF INDICTMENT OR CONVICTION. There are 17 whistler blowers with their sworn statements. There are thousands of PUBLIC DOCUMENTS and official records. COA Audit Report, DBM, records of the DA and implementing agencies and even the records of the offices of the Senators involved, will and must be considered. The video tape of the parties of Napoles can also help. The President can not just tell Napoles to say this or that and wooo- the opposition will be charged and Aquinos men will be spared. The court will consider the other witnesses. NAPOLES ‘ testimony may not even count. She may even choose to remain silent. Tatad can go to COA, DBM, NABCOR, and other implementing agencies to get evidence and show that his men are not guilty and LP men are guilty. He can ask his men about the truth or request from their office copy of the documents to show that their PDAF were not released to NAPOLES NGO but to somewhere else. The office of the president is not too shallow that it would deal with Napoles when it is aware it cant, and there are many other strong and credible witnesses and evidence that would reveal the truth . Instead of getting his facts from concrete evidence, Tatad get his facts from tsismis. Tatad had a choice- to follow his dirty mind or and his moral obligation to know and verify the truth, give benefit a doubt, show respect to the highest public office and do what is important for the nation. It is so sad that we are made to hear/accept false or unverified
    information and bias opinions which influence our choice and belief .
    And the worst thing is- influential people and institutions are behind
    these- media, pr men, political office and the even all churches.
    “Tsismis” ” pigment of imagination and hallucination” and myths are
    reported as true while . Small things and trivial magnified but the
    big and true ones are hidden. Tatad , despite his stature, “sermonized”
    as gospel truth the tsismis and refused to discuss the credible COA Report and public records. He magnified and showed as GIANT very
    trivial matter “tsismis” but downplayed the real issue which is as big as “MOUNT EVEREST” .

  • rodben

    Mr. Rodel Rodis is a propagandist member of Ninoy’s political ambition in USA up to now still attacking Marcoses and depending Aquino’s kapalpakan even thought this guy is already lying on a bed of money…

    • Noel

      Many share the same view as you but are just afraid to be branded as Marcos loyalists. People’s minds have been conditioned for so long that anyone who’s against the Aquino family is pro-Marcos.

      But I disagree with you saying that Rodis is lying on a bed of money. Like Napoles,the money all colored yellow are on his bath tubs.

  • rodben

    By the Mr. Rodel still Pinoy in blood tumatanaw lang naman ng utang na loob…sa mga Aquino..

    • Noel

      And the reason why he supported GMA was because Cory and the Yellow Brigade supported Gloria by conspiring with other groups to oust Erap. After the “Hello Garci” tape and the departure of Hyatt 10 from GMA, Cory and her followers which included this columnist also left GMA. Now that Pnoy is the President, of course Rodis and his riding in tandem partner Laguatan now is with the Yellow camp.

  • talagalangha

    Mr Rodis, the Palace version of events is a bigger lie to swallow…for your info, more people now believe Kit Tatad’s story…

    Yourt unabashed defense and adulation of Pnoy and the Aquinos are soon to be worthless…he has started to unravel, fast….!

    Perhaps, time to jump ship…? along with Loida Nicolas Lewis….

    • bravehostdickie

      an apostle of that “scratching feet (as he announces the provisions of martial law in 1972), Opus Dei follower, primary solicitor to the RH Law, Goebbels to Marcos Sr. How can this Tatad be credible, just like the pork scammers??. He’s an asslicker, a lapdog engaged in nostalgic memorializing of the kleptocratic Marcos regime. Make up your head talagalangha

  • expanding man

    balak daw tumakbo si kit kaya nagkakalat…..jan na si bongbongkers kaya pwidi ibalik ang nakaraan….

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