by Abril Layad B. Ayroso
“COWARDLY and like a thief in the night,” is how enraged Martial Law victims and progressive organizations called the sneaky burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) last November 18.
Progressive groups launched several simultaneous protests all over Metro Manila in opposition to the noontime and secretive burial of the late dictator mere days after the Supreme Court struck down several petitions against Marcos’ internment at the LNMB.
Before the progressive groups began their “Black Friday” protests starting at 12 noon, they received word that Marcos’ corpse had been flown in from Batac, Ilocos Norte to the LNMB in what Marcos “loyalists” explained was a private burial of the dictator who died in exile in Hawaii in 1989.
They also learned that Marcos had been given military honors, including a 21-gun salute.
In addition to the secrecy, the protesters also spoke against how rushed the burial was, as it happened before any of the petitioners against the burial could file their planned motion for reconsideration.
“This is exactly the Marcoses’ style. The things they do are all either exaggeratedly grand or secret,” said Bonifacio Ilagan, spokesperson for the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses in Malacanang (CARMMA).
Ilagan compared the secrecy of the burial to Marcos’ declaration of martial law which took Filipinos by surprise.
“One night in 1972, Marcos declared martial law and stole whatever democracy existed in the Philippines. The media described the declaration the same way we do his burial: like a thief in the night,” Ilagan said.
The protesters said they fear that the Marcos clan will take advantage of their patriarch’s burial at the LNMB to rehabilitate their name and the distortion of history in their favor.
“This betrayal is the realization of the Marcos clan’s plot to bury the dictator at the LNMB and give honor to a traitor. It is a step towards the perversion of history,” Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary-general Renato Reyes said.
“No matter how you look at it, this burial marks the official rehabilitation of their name. They can now say that the government itself recognizes the tyrant as a hero, thanks to the decision of the SC and the whims of President Rodrigo Duterte,” Ilagan said
Ilagan also said that the Marcoses would try to use the burial as political capital for the dictator’s son, Ferdinand Jr., to file his candidacy in the next presidential elections, which he feared would further deodorize martial law abuses.
The struggle continues
Progressive groups vowed to bring the fight to the streets.
“The rushing of the burial proves that the Marcoses and their cronies are insecure and afraid of the people and their struggle,” Ilagan said.
“The fight to bring the dictator, his family and all oppressors of the Philippines to justice is still very much alive,” Reyes added.
The youth also pronounced support for the struggle against the rehabilitation of the Marcoses.
“Today, we grieve for this act of historical revisionism. We shall continue to intensify our unity as a nation to end the culture of impunity,” said Jose Mari Callueng, national president of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP).
“We young people may not have been alive during Martial Law, but that does not mean we do not have the right to fight against the Marcoses. After all, we suffer many of the sins of martial law, such as education and health being peddled for profit,” Al Omaga, chairperson of Anakbayan UP – Manila, for his part, said.
“Our actions are proof enough that this historical revisionism will not be accepted. The participation of the youth in our protests is proof that the truth shall be not forgotten,” Reyes said.
Thousands of University of the Philippines-Diliman, Ateneo de Manila University and Miriam College staged a late afternoon protest along Katipunan Avenue before proceeding to the EDSA Shrine in the evening.
UP-Manila and St. Scholastica’s College-Manila also reportedly held protest actions in opposition to the burial. #