From Your “Woke Lolo”, Chel Diokno

Dear KaPAB,

Ang kuwento ni Woke Lolo tungkol sa Martial Law.

How the Marcoses Killed Justice
By Chel Diokno
24 February 2019

Many things have been said about the Marcos Dictatorship. But many things have also been overlooked.

One thing that’s been overlooked is how the Marcoses killed justice, how they co-opted the judiciary and turned lawyers into glorified fixers.

Just one week after Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law, he issued Letter of Instruction No. 11. LOI 11 required all government officials – including judges – to submit resignation letters that Marcos could accept anytime.

By the stroke of a pen, Marcos held the judiciary hostage: if you rule against me, I will accept your resignation and you will be booted out of government and out of a job.

Not content with that, in 1973 Marcos changed the Constitution. The 1973 Marcos Constitution provided that all judges and justices would serve until the age of 70 “unless otherwise decreed by the incumbent President” – none other than Ferdie himself.

From 1972 to 1986, in other words, the Marcoses owned every single judge and justice in the country. By changing the constitution, the Marcoses replaced justice from an impartial judge with justice from a judge who could be removed anytime by the dictator.

Think about what this did to the legal profession. To succeed as a lawyer during the Marcos dictatorship, you didn’t have to be a good lawyer—all you had to be was close to the Marcoses. If you wanted to attract the biggest companies and richest clients, your skills as a lawyer didn’t really matter. The only skill you needed was the ability to ingratiate yourself with the Marcoses.

The Marcoses, in short, not only murdered justice-they transformed lawyers into glorified fixers and poisoned our legal system with corruption and greed.

We are still reeling from the Marcoses’ murder of justice. The glorified fixers who emerged from the dictatorship were never prosecuted or held accountable. Their networks have not only thrived, they have multiplied, to the point that much of what is called “justice” is just corruption in disguise.

The Marcos legacy? This is it.

This is the truth that no amount of historical revisionism can change.


Never Again,



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