By RANDY FELIX P. MALAYAO
The burial of the ousted strongman and dictator Ferdinand Marcos was immediately met with indignation by various groups and other institutions staging protests across the country in leading university communities and in key cities nationwide.
On November 25, more than 15,000 protesters, Martial Law activists, students and members of multi-sectoral progressive organizations converged at Luneta to condemn the burial. A very significant chunk came from the youth sector.
On November, the birth anniversary of Katipunan founder Andres Bonifacio, anti-Marcos protests were conducted at Mendiola and Edsa, and 19 men and women were given honors at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani for standing up against Ferdinand Marcos’ dictatorship.
The burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani has awakened people’s sensitivities. The idea of a hero’s funeral for an ousted despot is simply outrageous, a big sell-out. Marcos deserves no special honors.
The sneaky move by the Marcos family and the government to bury Marcos so quickly after the court verdict, with appeals still to be heard, caused further outrage.
For Duterte, it was a campaign promise that he needed to fulfill. For the Marcoses, it was a coveted gift realized. Most people would read it as conspiratorial – part of a grand plan to aid Marcoses in their systematic full restoration to power.
Libingan ng mga Bayani may not be the sanctuary of genuine heroes, but the people equate the burial at LNMB as virtual exoneration or whitewashing Marcos’s heinous crimes against humanity.
Marcos was a fascist, a berdugo second to none. Documented cases speak for themselves. His murderous regime killed at least 3,240, tortured at least 34,000 and the illegally incarcerated at least 70,000. Courts and Congress have affirmed and reaffirmed these. Hence, the passage of the Recognition and Reparation Bill for all victims of Martial Law.
Up to this date, justice has yet to be had for tens of thousands of Martial Law victims. In Cagayan Valley alone, nearly thousands of claimant-victims inundated the intake process of the Human Rights Claims Board for the Recognition and Reparation for Martial Law victims.
Marcos was a plunderer, a mandarambong of great scale. He usurped his power and used it despotically to enrich himself and his family. He amassed so much wealth from external debt, from the overpriced edifices and infrastructure projects, and from plundering our natural resources. He plundered the coffers of at least P167 billion pesos and at least USD 15 billion.
The Marcos heirs show no remorse for the family’s plundering of nation’s resources. The Marcoses and their cronies including Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuangco Jr., continue to enrich themselves from their ill-gotten wealth. The P75-billion coco levy fund have yet to be returned to small coconut farmers, more than 40 years after Marcos exacted the levy.
Marcos was deposed from the presidency in 1986 by the united revolutionary front of the people who stormed Malacañang and braved EDSA to support soldiers who mutinied against Marcos. Had Marcos not been saved by his US imperialist master, he and his family would have been immediately arrested, tried and punished decisively by the Filipino people.
The 1986 People Power was a supreme sovereign act of the people. No law, statute or act could be more supreme.
The government must now heed the public outcry against historical revisionism. President Duterte should also stop his ‘dangerous liaison’ with the Marcos family or face wider public outrage and protests.
The November 25 massive rally is certainly not the last. The broad peoples’ protests will continue until December 10, International Human Rights Day and probably beyond.
Plunderers, murderers, dictators flourish because they are not seriously punished. In the Philippines, they get easily pardoned. Worse, they are now exalted and glorified as a hero.
The people, especially the youth, will make and shall guard their own history. They vow to fight the restoration to power of Marcoses and all their kind.
Sister Mary John Mananzan, President of St Scholastica, avers the burial is a “blessing in disguise.” Negative turned into positive. She is referring to thousands of protesters, mostly youth who braved the inclement weather to voice their opposition.
Ateneo University President Jett Villarin conceded, “No, we did not lead the protests. The students led us!”
Indeed, the future is bright. # nordis.net