By SHERWIN DE VERA
Tyrants can never be heroes as human rights violations can never be justified by any circumstances. Martial Law is a dark period in our history, remembered for the large-scale murder, torture, and incarceration of political dissenters. Forgetting the wrong and heinous deeds of men in history is tantamount to distortion of truth and absolving them of their crime against the people. A dictator’s internment in a national pantheon, where individuals, worthy of emulation are buried sets a deadly precedent. It may be within the realm of the law, as the majority of the Justices see it. But on its entirety, the court’s ruling disrespects and discounts the spirit of the 1986 People Power, the court rulings on the rights abuses and thievery, and lives lost in reclaiming the democratic space that we enjoy at present. Remember that the past holds lessons that are vital for a better future.
For a nation to move on from the horrors of Martial Law, first there must be closure. This requires the provision of justice, not mere acknowledgment, not just monetary compensation. Twenty years of Marcos rule robbed us of a generation of bright and brave souls, and great leaders– they were martyred young, in the streets, prisons, and the hinterlands. But the period is not just about the violence committed against the Left, Martial Law and the dictatorial rule as it is, was an attack against the entire Filipino people. Besides the grave human rights abuses, there is also plunder – of our nation’s coffers and natural resources. Remember, there can never be peace without justice.
Marcos supporters cannot demand forgiveness in the context of national healing. By doing this, they have become part of the section of society that encourages impunity. They have played the sick and disgusting habit of victim blaming. Indeed, forgiveness comes in time but does not come cheap. For the case of Ferdinand Marcos Sr.’s legatees, forgiveness requires beyond the return of the US$10 billion pocketed by their family. Also, stop associating God and the Bible on forgiving the dictator and his heirs, you are taking the name of the Lord and the Scriptures in vain. Remember, remorse and repentance comes first before forgiveness.
Public infrastructures and facilities built during Marcos are from the people’s tax, from the national treasury, for national use. Anybody and every Filipino have the right to use it. Marcos did not spend a dime for their construction. It was the other way around. He pocketed billions from the loans for these projects. Four courts affirmed his guilt and misdeeds under his rule. Execution of prior court decisions must come first before putting value on the ruling on his burial. Challenging the anti-Marcos section not to use these is not only inept but also reflective of the inability of those using the argument to present wise and sane arguments. The 13th month pay during his time is only for workers earning below P1,000. A Presidential Decree banning strikes and restricting labor union followed the 13th month pay order. Remember, before calling people hypocrites, check on the facts, and think of the present privileges that was non-existent during Martial Law.
Contrary to reports, Ilocandia is not rejoicing. True, majority of Ilocanos are Marcos supporters, some of them are even fanatics, but it does not represent the entirety of the sentiments in Ilocos. Many Ilocanos are also angered with the High Court’s decision favoring the burial of Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Martial law also victimized a significant section of the people in the region. Ilocanos from all classes joined the struggle against the dictatorship. Many of them were brutalized, imprisoned, and martyred. State armed forces razed, massacred, and forced peasant communities to evacuate. The dictator fostered warlordism and dynasties, ensuring that the next one to rise in power is more refined and cunning than the other. Political violence was at its height during the period, right in Marcos’ own backyard. Remember, Ilocos also suffered the brunt and scourge of Martial Law. # nordis.net