Our martial law experience bore strange unwanted fruits, and we have yet to finish weeding out its bitter crop. While the restoration of freedom and the fundamental structures and processes of democracy have been much lauded, according to a significant number, the changes, however, have not sufficiently healed the colossal damage wrought under the oppressive conditions of the martial law period. The cries of justice for the tortured, the murdered, and the desaparecidos arouse outrage and sympathy in the hearts of the fair-minded, yet the dispensation of the appropriate relief due them cannot be extended through the same caprice or whim that characterized the ill-wind of martial rule. The damage done was not merely personal but institutional, and the proper rebuke to the iniquitous past has to involve the award of reparations due within the confines of the restored rule of law.
Published April 12, 2005