One nearly forgotten chapter of Martial Law history was revived with the recent death of a controversial figure of the time: Steve Psinakis, one of the leaders of a terrorist group called the Light-A-Fire Movement. It was a group of upper class people who decided that violence was the solution against Martial Law abuse, and they perpetrated a lot of terrorist acts, including a bombing of the prestigious mall Rustan’s Makati, leading to around 70 people injured and one American death.
Some articles looking at the history of this group tend to lionize the members are “freedom fighters” or “heroes,” simply because they were anti-Marcos. It’s based on the logic that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” and that “the enemy of a villain is always a hero.” It’s twisted logic that leads to questionable alliances and impunity.
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Simply put, the guys were terrorists. Even the articles that call them “freedom fighters” admit that that they operated in a way similar to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups: the buying of weapons and explosives, training in terrorist methods, and risking innocent people’s lives just to destabilize a regime. American investigators found evidence of these activities. To use a commenter’s words, they were fighting evil with evil.
Some people would say, Martial Law was abusive, so there is a reason for violence. Fight fire with fire (perhaps similar to the politicially correct rationale of Weather Underground in the 1960s). However, this is where the end does not justify the means. The use of bombings is terrorism, and even if not intended to kill people, what if an innocent suddenly gets caught in the blast? And indeed, one American innocent was claimed and others hurt. So Light-A-Fire has blood on its hands.
It also becomes clear why my alma mater, Ateneo, engaged in a transfixed anti-Marcos agenda. Several of the Light-A-Fire members were Jesuits, and one member is the mother of Apo Hiking Society stalwart and eminent GRP antagonist Jim Paredes. Alfonso Yuchengco, owner of the recently money laundering-embroiled RCBC, was also a member. And Psinakis was married to a Lopez. Connect the dots.
This is also another example of history being written by the victors. After Marcos was ousted in 1986, some members of the group became government officials, such as Heherson Alvarez (who I wrote about before as chasing a silly case against the Filipino chocolate product in Spain). Sadly, the charges to be pressed against the Light-A-Fire group were not pursued, despite knowledge being so openly common about their terrorist activities. Anyway, when you wonder why the Aquino regime today is so willing to cooperate with terrorists (BBL), perhaps it’s because some of them were themselves, or were associated with, terrorists.
People would complain about impunity and lack of responsibility and accountability among Filipinos, and that in Philippine society, the wrongdoers are rewarded instead of punished. The Light-A-Fire Movement seems to fit this. They apparently never paid for the American life they took or the people they injured. One hopes though that charges against them could again be pursued to set the record straight, at least for the family of the man who was killed in the Rustan’s bombing. But that would be unlikely. All we could offer is something like this write-up with the goal of informing people.
It’s also a chance where we can undo the twisting of the concept of heroes. Some would say, one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter. But when your methodology is to put at risk uninvolved civilians, you’re just a terrorist. Just because you hate someone, doing violence against that someone is “heroic.” Perhaps that is why in the 1970s, many action movies made with criminals as the “heroes.” This could either be an influence or a sign that Filipinos were losing faith in authority and discipline, but were also making it into an excuse to become me-first assholes. If we wonder why Filipinos became so bad-habited and uncaring about public space, we could probably see the process underway at that time. This mindset in Filipinos today needs to be turned around.
I believe, as my cohorts here do, that what Filipinos embrace as their culture is what actually pulls the country down. And those who seem to be anti-dictators, who may also believe themselves to be “heroes,” are the real dictators.
16 Replies to “The Light-A-Fire Movement was not Heroic”
There was a U.S./C.I.A. plot to destabilize the Marcos Regime, during that time. The Lopezes became the Aquinos’ allies, because of the ABS CBN Media was closed by Marcos. Many Feudalists, including the Roman Catholic Church, were against the Land Reform Program, implemented by Marcos. Aquino’s Hacienda Luisita was at stake.
The NPA, led by Supremo Jose Maria Sison allied, themselves , with the Aquinos. They were the sources of their funds and guns.
It was the right using the left…the left , using the right…it was very ironic; that an ideology fighting Feudalism, was using Feudal Oligarchs, to finance its cause…
I met Alvarez in 2008 not knowing his history. But I quickly determined he was a leftist POS.
This is the reason, I call: Enrile, Honasan, Ramos, etc…”the bunch of political opportunists”…they allied themselves with the Aquinos, the U.S./C.I.A., the Lopezes, the Roman Catholic Church, the Feudal Oligarchs, the NPA, etc…for their own political agendas and ambitions. It was not the love of country and the welfare of the Filipino people, they were after, during that time.
At least, most of us, GRP bloggers, are trying to inform people, without any agendas of our own. Unless , you are a YellowTard paid hack; or any politician’s paid hack/troll…we are all trying to dig the Truth, buried under the YellowTard propagandas.
Haha! The second paragraph is funny. Talk about getting real.
I am aware that I will not be believed, at least by the Yellow Brigand sympathizers, but in the 1980’s there was a classified aerial surveillance photograph taken by Military Intelligence in the Cordillera region, showing a group of insurgents, crossing a shallow stream. Among these people were two nuns each carrying M16 rifles. There were also reports of a hit squad roaming metro manila, supposedly under the aegis of one high ranking Catholic church official.
In the Bicol region,also in the 1980s, several men were killed by Military operatives, and their families complained that they were summarily executed. But according to military sources, these men were under surveillance for more than a month, and were confirmed to be NPA members. And, they were killed in an encounter, not summarily executed. They were apprehended in a churchyard,in the early morning hours, but instead of surrendering, chose to exchange fire with the apprehending soldiers.
Why am I telling this? Because the complaints about the military excesses during Martial Law is a gray area. They (the insurgents) should not expect leniency if they themselves act with impunity towards the soldiers. A Manila policeman asked me, how I will react if a rallyist opens my helmet and spits on my face. It happened to him during a rally. Or how would you react if you were a soldier and you find your slain comrade with his eyes gouged out? This was a common incidence in Mindanao in the 1970s and 80s.
There were excesses, sure, but the insurgents were not lily white themselves, despite their slogans and catch phrases of ridding the country of capitalists, imperialists, equality for all and so on.
Exactly. The Yellows want to pass off that Marcos and the government only were committing atrocities and abuses. Good thing you and some people remember that the communists and other groups were also committing atrocities. That was the reason for martial law. Even Jovito Salonga once said the Plaza Miranda bombing was by the reds, not by Marocs.
Plaza Miranda bombing during the LP Miting de Avance, was a strategy of Benigno Aquino, Jr., to promote himself politically; and to remove his political rivals, in the LP political hierarchy. So, he conspired with the NPA, to bomb the LP rally. Benigno Aquino, Jr. was not present during the LP rally. The next day, he came out with an Israeli Uzzi, machine Pistol, for photo opportunities…Lives were lost, during that tragedy…people were shocked. However, Benigno Aquino, Jr., seemed to be happy, posing for pictures…
Regarding the Plaza Miranda bombing, one person admitted that he was involved in this, and was even one of those who threw one grenade on the stage. This admittance was in the 80’s, during Cory Aquino’s term. Now the mystery is, why did not Cory pursue it, so at least she can pin it down once again on Marcos, or even FM’s men, if indeed Marcos was behind it? I wonder if its the same with the Benigno Aquino Jr. killing, because Cory Aquino had 6 years to pursue the case and get to the bottom of it, and another 6 years under her anointed, Fidel Ramos. They had all the time, all the power and resources to get to the truth, yet Cory just kept on insinuating that “the guilty party is now dead”. Makes you think doesn’t it?
Six years of another Aquino, and still they didn’t say anything. And “who really did it” is still unanswered. Deym.
The people cannot be all, and always, well informed. The part which is wrong will be discontented, in proportion to the importance of the facts they misconceive. If they remain quiet under such misconceptions, it is lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty. … What country before ever existed a century and half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure.
Nice one, ChinoF. True, one doesn’t fix evil with another evil. He just adds up to it.
As to the anti-Marcoses, they believe FM is simply corrupt and evil, so he won’t mind killing innocent people him being a President, and for that Martial Law happens. That’s all there is to it. Case closed. 😀
Sorry for my grammar. ‘Should be in past tense won’t = didn’t, happens = happened:P
In the OTHER SIDE OF THE COIN … ang e BLAME natin ang MARCOS ..ang Lahat na ito ay KAGAGAWAN ni MARCOS… kung Hindi sya nag declare ng MARTIAL LAW ( BATAS MILITAR) hindi iyan mangyayari, mas marami PINATAY SI MARCOS kasama na dyan ang ILOCANO na si JULIO NALUNDASAN kaya nabilanggo si Marcos dahil pinatay niya si Nalundasan…SA MARTIAL LAW or BATAS MILITAR ,,,LAHAT NG BUSINESS kinukuha ni MARCOS.. marami ngayon Trolls at Fake News at Propaganda specially sa FB na ginamit na pera nakaw ni marcos para ikalat itong propaganda trolls fake news ..mas maganda pa sa WIKIPEDIA try mo search MARCOS at NALUNDASAN at mga ginagawa ni Marcos…E-BLAME NYO SI MARCOS..sa ngayon DUTERTE VS. SOLING DUTERTE na dahil si SOLEDAD DUTERTE ay against ki Marcos pero si Duterte Tuta ni Marcos…. MARCOS IS THE WORST EVIL TERRORIST
Don’t you know that all of your claims and tirades are now debunked?
AYA is the WORST EVIL TERRORIST because he’s a leftist cuck. Fact. Overeliance to Wikipedia are for idiots.
hehehe…page 1 pa lang ang nababasa ni aya sa history,.. yes it’s true that the young marcos was convicted for the murder of nalundasan, pero hindi mo nilagay sa comment mo that the conviction was later overturned by the supreme court…..ibig sabihin pinawalang sala si marcos! yun ang sabi sa wikipedia, o iba ang pagkakaintindi mo? kaya naiiba ang history eh.