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STATEMENT: Treacherous burial mocks struggle for press freedom during Martial Law

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) shares the Filipino people’s outrage against the treacherous burial of the remains of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani.

The burial mocks the life-and-death resistance of the journalists and media workers in the struggle to expand the frontiers of press freedom during the dark days of Martial Law.

While it is true that the Libingan has long been desecrated as a sacred space for the national memory, the people still cling to its intended political and social symbolism, that is, to hold in high esteem the people whose deeds reflect the values we hold dear as a society.

Marcos’ filthy record of suppressing press freedom and attacking journalists at the onset of Martial Law, and then prostituting media practice through the operation of crony news organizations is anything but deplorable.

Press freedom was among the first casualties of Marcos’ vile adventurism with political power. Martial Law not only led to mass extrajudicial murders, it also attempted to kill the truth.

Marcos ordered the closure of newspapers. His government took control of radio and television stations.

Many media workers were imprisoned, tortured and died fighting the dictatorship. Others were forced to go underground or into exile to evade arrest.

To protect and maintain his monopoly on power, Marcos allowed the operation of crony-controlled newspapers, radio and television stations whose main purpose was to air and publish the “good and beautiful” about Martial Law or the so-called “Bagong Lipunan (New Society).”

Amid the tyrannical rule, Filipino media workers continued to fight for press freedom and exposed the truth through underground newspapers and alternative news media later called the “Mosquito Press.”

These papers were secretly distributed or passed from reader to reader by hand, detailing the massive human rights violations, plunder of our economy by the Marcos family and their cronies and calling for heightened resistance. These helped in galvanizing the resistance and unity against the dictatorship leading to Marcos’ ouster on Feb. 25, 1986.

The overthrow of the dictatorship also led to the restoration of democratic institutions including the independent press.

The burial of Marcos at the hero’s cemetery seeks to gloss over, erase or worse, reverse these historical facts. This is anathema to the very essence of our role as chroniclers of our country’s contemporary history.

We stand by the people in decrying this mockery. We are one with them in ensuring that this will not happen again.

After all, it is because of the people that we exist. And it is the interest of the people that we will tirelessly serve. #

POOLED EDITORIAL: We will never forget

by the People’s Alternative Media Network

The furtive burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is a heinous addition to the long list of crimes of the Marcoses against the Filipino people. The Supreme Court decision dismissing the petition against the Marcos burial has yet to become final and executory, but the Marcos heirs nevertheless went ahead with the burial.

 We in the media have not forgotten the dark days of Martial Law, when Ferdinand Marcos closed down all mainstream news publications, the campus press, and radio and TV stations. We remember how Marcos allowed only his crony media mouthpieces to function so that news about the cruelty, greed and repression under his regime would never get aired or published.

 We have not forgotten the atrocities that Marcos committed against freedom of the press, speech, free expression and the right to information. Countless media practitioners who fought the Martial Law regime and struggled to expose the truth were hunted down, arrested, abducted, tortured or murdered. His burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is an outrage to journalists and media professionals who fought the despotic regime relentlessly alongside innumerable Filipinos and Martial Law victims. 

 We remember Antonio Zumel, Joe Burgos, Ester Resabal-Kintanar, Abraham Sarmiento, Jacinto Peña, Joaquin Roces, Francisco ‘Soc’ Rodrigo, Alex Orcullo, Eugenia Apostol, and  the many other  Filipino journalists who fought and upheld press freedom during Martial Law.

 More than laying Ferdinand Marcos to rest, the burial is an appalling attempt to distort history, absolve the tyrant of his sins, and herald the full return of the Marcoses to power. The act of burying and giving tribute to the late dictator is itself symbolic of the family’s bid to conceal the numerous crimes of the Marcos terror regime.

 Past administrations, through their inaction and political accommodation to the Marcos heirs, have thwarted the quest for historical justice. The Marcoses, Pres. Duterte, and the Supreme Court justices have added to this injustice by allowing the dictator’s burial. They should be held accountable, as should the military, which collaborated with the Marcoses in committing this outrage.

 The truth shall not be forgotten. We will continue to fight attempts to bury the truth just as we persist in fighting the dark legacies of the Marcos era: the corruption, the plunder of billions of public funds, the repression, militarization, illegal arrests, disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and impunity that still persist today. We will continue to fight for real democracy,  the democracy we supposedly have today being clearly false, deceitful and serving only those in power.  

They may think that they have triumphed in their effort to revise history, restore tyranny, and prolong the climate of impunity. But they are mistaken. The people have not forgotten, and neither will we in the media ever forget. #

Activists vow to continue fight against the Marcoses

In a forum at the College of Law of the University of the Philippines-Diliman a day after the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was sneakily buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, activists vow to fight efforts to what they say are obvious moves to revive “Marcosian ideology.”

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanang (CARMMA) also announced a giant anti-Marcos rally on November 25, Friday, with the following themes: “National Day of Unity and Rage against the Marcos Burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” “National Day of Unity and Rage against the Revision of History” and “National Day of Unity and Rage against Duterte’s Alliance with the Marcoses.” Read more

Thousands march and protest vs Marcos burial

Martial Law victims and students from the University of the Philippines-Diliman, UP Integrated School, Miriam College and Ateneo de Manila University joined forces and held protest actions a few hours after the late President Ferdinand Marcos was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani last November 18.

Enraged by the sneaky manner in which the Marcos family interned the dictator, the rally along Katipunan Avenue was the biggest in years that the three schools staged.

Here are highlights of the protest action earlier tonight. Read more

Cowardly, protesters call sneaky Marcos burial

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.

Marcos rehabilitation

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. #

 

Martial Law victims decry surreptitious Marcos burial at LNMB

While former President Ferdinand Marcos was being buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Martial Law victims massed up at the Philcoa in Quezon City to protest what they called a surreptitious internment last November 18.

The protesters said the burial was in keeping with the nature of the Marcos dictatorship which they claim may be contemptuous of the law as it the move did not event allow the petitioners against the burial the chance to file their motion for reconsideration.

The LNMB was kept secret by the Marcos family even from their supporters to keep it “private and solemn.” Read more

High Court’s Marcos burial decision dismays Martial Law victims

By April Layad B. Ayroso

PROGRESSIVE organizations expressed dismay at the Supreme Court’s decision to dismiss the six petitions against the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).

The justices of the SC voted 9-5 in favor of dismissing the petitions against the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to have the late strongman buried at the LNMB 27 years after his death in exile in Hawaii.

Associate Justices Arturo Brion, Presbitero Velasco Jr, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Jose Perez, Teresita de Castro, Jose Mendoza, and Estela Perlas-Bernabe voted in favor of Marcos’ burial at the LNMB.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and Associate Justices Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza, and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa meanwhile dissented.

Associate Justice Bienvenido Reyes inhibited from the case.

The high court also voted to lift the status quo ante order the suspended the burial.

According to SC spokesperson Theodore Te, some of the reasons cited by the justices who voted in favor of the burial were the lack of grave abuse of discretion on the part of Duterte in ordering the burial of Marcos; the absence of a law prohibiting the burial; the president having the power to decide on the use of land within the public domain including the LNMB; Marcos being a former commander-in-chief, former soldier and former secretary of national defense; Marcos not being dishonorably discharged in military terms; and Marcos not having been convicted by any final judgment; and that all the cases brought up by petitioners were all civil in nature.

“History was altered today,” Atty. Neri Colmenares, one of the petitioners, for his part, said.

“The decision is sad, because it makes liars out of the victims. If the torturer was a hero, what does that make of us? What does that make the millions of people who went to EDSA in 1986 to overthrow a ‘hero’? What does that make the international community who came out and helped the Filipino people overthrow a dictator?” Colmenares said.

“This is a horrible and a tragic ending to one of the darkest chapters in Philippine history, as Marcos should be remembered as a dictator, not a her.  And the victims should be remembered for their sacrifices. Now the SC is saying that that is not the case, that all of our decisions have not been correct,” he added.

Colmenares reiterated his case against the burial, saying that Marcos’ burial stems from an AFP regulation, not the law, as well as Republic Act 289, which states that those buried at LNMB must be worthy of “inspiration and emulation for this generation and generations still unborn.”

“Unless the SC explicitly says that Marcos is worthy of inspiration and emulation, he is disqualified from being buried at the Libingan,” he said.

“An AFP regulation cannot trump the Constitution – which is in nature, anti-Marcos,” Colmenares said.

Colmenares also addressed claims that the burial will bring healing to the country.

“This will not bring about reconciliation and closure. This will only inflame the people and their animosity. We were victims of torture, but no one has been punished for our suffering,” he said.

“It is easy to tell someone to forgive and forget, but a victim cannot be forced to shoulder the burden of forgetting if nobody has been held accountable and punished,” Colmenares added.

Opposition

The progressives earlier trooped to the gates of the Supreme Court to reiterate their opposition to the burial.

During their program, speakers elaborated on Marcos’s sins against the Filipino people and explained why the dictator does not deserve to be honored.

“He shut down the press. He suspended the writ of habeas corpus and gave the military the power to kill, abduct and torture,” Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) national coordinator Fr. Dionito Cavillas said.

“He is the number one human rights violator. Most of the victims have yet to see an inkling of justice,” Cabillas, citing thousands of victims of human rights violations under the Marcos regime, said.

Cabillas also called out the Marcos clan for the plunder of the Philippine economy and contradicting the claims of their loyalists that their reign constituted the “golden years of the Philippines.”

“Marcos was responsible for the country’s enormous debt to the IMF-World bank. He made a lot of money from all the debts and public funds he stole during his regime,” Cabillas said.

“Poverty just got worse for most of us,” he added.

The protesters spoke of and condemned the legacy “contractualization, corruption, privatization, cronyism, and state fascism.”

Not over yet

Despite the decision, however, the protesters emphasized that they will not stop in their struggle for justice.

Colmenares said that there is still hope in stopping the burial.

“The battle is not finished. It will continue with more fervor. We still have time to file a motion for reconsideration. We ask the administration to respect our due process rights as petitioners and not bury Marcos right away. We might still win this,” he said.

Colmenares added that he hoped Duterte will change his mind about burying Marcos.

“He cannot achieve his objectives with the burial. This is not healing ; this is adding insult to injury.  When there has been no justice for the victims and the Marcoses do not even admit that there were human rights violations during Martial Law,” he said.

“So many of our countrymen are not aware of the truth. We cannot stop our fight while that is the case,” Colmenares added.

Organizations led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan said during their protest that, win or lose, they will continue to fight until justice is served.

“We who are still alive will never forget the atrocities under the US-backed Marcos dictatorship – enforced disappearances, torture, illegal arrests and detention, summary killings and mass displacement of entire communities,” Bayan chairperson Carol Araullo said in a press statement.

“Generations of our people continue to suffer the effects of 14 years of destruction of the national economy,” Araullo said.

 

SC decision on Marcos burial disgusting, survivors say

Showing disgust over the Supreme Court decision favoring the burial of former Pres. Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Martial Law victims took to the streets in protest on November 8, 2016.

Marcos loyalists also took the streets opposite the protesters. Read more

Martial Law victims condemn SC decision allowing Marcos burial at ‘heroes’ cemetery’

Condemnation of the Supreme Court decision junking petitions opposing the burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Cemetery of Heroes came swift from the victims and survivors of the late strongman’s Martial Law.

Hundreds gathered at the University of the Philippines on the night the decision was officially announced, vowing to continue their campaign to have Marcos remembered as a human rights violator. Read more

Scholasticans learn about Martial Law from victim

St. Scholastica’s College-Manila students learned about the atrocities of Ferdinand Marcos’s Martial Law from former political detainee and torture victim Bonifacio Ilagan in a forum last October 26.

Organized by Bulatlat.com as part of its education series, the forum was aimed at informing younger generations of the dangers of romanticizing the late strongman’s rule.

Watch parts of Ilagan’s testimonial in this video. Read more