IF INDEED A TRUE HERO, why was the former president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos hurriedly, clandestinely buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Pantheon of Heroes) last Friday?
Shouldn’t the hero’s family invite the nation at large to pay its highest final respects of attention to a hero that should served (sic) his nation well? Why hide it- 12 hours preparation,it took – as if a criminal act was about to happen?
The other three presidents’ remains including our own Carlos Garcia, Diosdado Macapagal and Elpidio Quirino – when buried at the Libingan- were proud moments of history, with media ablaze and the nation in mourning if not in awe of them. What about Marcos’ burial?Can it qualify as a “proud moment” of the dictator’s lifetime?
Persons more deserving did not even contemplate to have their remains entombed in such honored pantheon . Slain then oppositionist senator Ninoy Aquino was buried on a rainy day -with 2 million in attendance rivaling that of Gandhi’s interment in populous India- into an ordinary commercial grave.
His wife and former president Cory Aquino -with over a million in tow- never hankered for a Libingan burial- despite she -being the icon of freedom -that brought democracy back to the nation. Why the Marcoses?
The Friday burial had the form- but never the substance – of a heroic funeral. Why are there people who will settle for such hollow symbolism? They claimed they dreamed for three decades for the Friday burial to happen -really?
And then to keep it in secrecy as they cowered for fear for a people’s grand backlash?
They could not wait for another 15 days for the Motion for Reconsideration to take its full cycle- and ran as if running against the clock of history to bury the mortal remains in a graveyard reserved only for authentic heroes? Others have worse descriptions of it.
“Like a thief in the night , it was done”, quoted Vice president Leni Robredo. Columnist/broadcaster Solita Monsod recalled it as a culmination of a series of “thievery” the Marcoses have slapped on the nation.
If we recall the 1969 reelection “win” of Marcos over Serge Osmena was the dirtiest, most expensive polls that weakened the peso and skyrocketed inflation.The first act of thievery.
Not eligible for a third term- FM declared Martial Law – and stole our freedom and the lives of 3,700 people, jailed 70,000 and tortured 34,000 Filipinos.
Next to Japan the Philippines ranked second economically after the war. Then Marcos -in his term- was declared as one of the worst global kleptocrats who stole US$10-B and made the country one of Asia’s poorest when he was deposed in 1986. Now- stealing the last rites for a dead man-under the noses of 100 million Filipinos.
A kelptocrat is one sick with the disease of stealing goods and money far above the ordinary needs of a mortal man. It is an irresistible, almost incurable disease.
President Digong Duterte said (in Peru) that he was unaware of the actual date of the burial and asked people to move on and open one’s heart for forgiveness. And let the judgment of history rule on Marcos’ fate as a leader.
The problem with forgiveness is it necessitates that the offender has to admit the offense, offer apologies, restore the stolen wealth and vow never to repeat the grave misdeeds. The family never mentioned any legal admission of guilt, contrition, and instead blocked all attempts to foreclose their ill-gotten wealth and what is there “to promise not to commit again if they have not admitted any crime?”
Judgment of history? History has been doing that, It has been 30 years from EDSA One and 29 years from FM’s death (1989)- and history has been weighing the Marcoses every year and they have been found wanting.
(Not us) but international and local courts had issued judgments on Marcos wealth that such be returned to human rights victims and the nation. The PCGG had foreclosed and liquidated billions in stolen assets through the years. All of these -mere allegations? The disgruntled people are definitely- on the right side of history.
That explains the vehemence of the reaction of people nationwide (in many cities and 20 sites in Metro Manila Friday ). We witnessed the People Power Monument at EDSA Friday midnight and the chants were : “Marcros diktador-hindi Bayani”, “Bosina Para sa Hustisiya” and “Hukayin, hukayin”.
The angry people- both millennials and the young-once urged the motorists to honk (80% obliged) and want to exhume the Marcos’ remains which they feel has been unlawfully entombed in a place undeserved.
Rather than present closure, “”the stealthy burial” will rekindle the embers of hatred and disappointment of many people. The protests were ,so far, the largest in the infant history of the fledgling Duterte government. (So far, Digong said he is merely following the Supreme Court decision).
Tonyo Cruz of the Manila Bulletin traced the fate of another dictator of Italy the late Benito Mussolini. Although he quelled the mafia and had economic reforms ,as a dictator he had blood on his hands and stole from the treasury.
At the end of the World War II, the angry Italians executed in a public plaza Mussolini, his mistress and other corrupt, violent officials. The public then obliged to kick and spat on the remains before they were hanged upside down in a public place.
That’s a fate of one dictator. Marcos was lucky the USA provided him a military plane to exile in Hawaii. But judging from the behavior of the wild crowd that ransacked Malacanang when the Marcoses left- the same fate may have befallen them like Mussolini. If they were caught by the irate mob in the Palace.
Luckier still, they were able to come back to the country , and partially redeemed their blackened name and are elected officials of the country.
But the impunity against the rule of law and the insensitivity to the feelings of an aggrieved nation are things that the Marcos family should become more seriously aware of from now on- more than ever.
They should not push their luck further- and dare provoke the gods some more. Many people are still truly smarting from that offensive “secret burial”.
They must not seek anything that will break the camel’s back, so to speak.
For comments: email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com