Tuesday was a huge blow to the victims of Former President Ferdinand Marcos’ Martial Law rule with the Supreme Court dismissing all petitions requesting that the remains of the former Philippine President NOT to be interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. With a vote of 9-5, the justices have taken out probably the biggest obstacle that the Marcos family had to endure after decades of fighting what they believe was their patriarch’s right – the legal stance of their claim. A claim that I believe they are aware of since the death of Marcos, Sr.
While I believe majority of the population had taken the news in stride, it was expected that a couple of peaceful gatherings were immediately organized to rally against the decision. Others went on social media to express their sentiments. They were quick to blame the justices of the Supreme Court for their decision while others went on to spread their sentiments through #NeverAgain and #MarcosIsNotAHero.
I think it is important to understand the implication of the SC decision that the denial of the former President’s interment is largely bent towards a play in politics more than a question of legality. Again, it reiterates a fact that there is no law that denies the burial of the Marcos, Sr. at the Libingam ng Bayani and that the decades of denial was just a political ploy of those in power.
Again if we are serious about not forgetting the ills and pains of Martial Law, we should have asked legislators to pass a law that should have had prevented it from happening. The so-called “victims” who had the power should have trail blazed concrete action plans long before the decision of the justices. Alas, these people to whom we entrusted our faith to aid us on this issue did nothing and we cry in agony over their failure. Its funny but it seems that they were actually the first one to have #MovedOn and were the #FirstToForget or they simply did not care about the victims that came from other ranks that were not their own. It can be both.
Now that the Supreme Court had taken out any legal impediments to proceed with the burial of Ferdinand Marcos, we can now see the tactical move employed by PRRD to finally settle the matter for good. PRRD’s decision to bury the late President, and the subsequent decision of the Supreme Court supporting it, has answered the decade-long question of why the Marcos family was keeping the remains in a fridge. They knew this fact all along. The bigger question is why was there no critical action done by the previous administrations? They could have done something to prevent it considering that it was during the administration of the late Cory Aquino when the guidelines were set for the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
The biggest contention that people against it that was raised is that Marcos is not a hero hence it is not right to bury him at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Two things that go against this arguement is the name “Libingan ng mga Bayani” is a misnomer and, lastly, there is no arguement against their claim that Marcos was a hero.
The guidelines that was set was very clear with the entitlements of who can be buried at the “Libingan ng mga Bayani” and being a “bayani” is just one of the entitlements. We can always go back to the guidelines and it is very clear that not everyone that is buried there are actual heroes recognized by the state. Hence, the name in itself is a misnomer. It is funny though that a lot of people use the misnomer as a point for their arguement.
Now the reference to Marcos as a hero is a completely different story. Though some may consider it as true, I guess the arguement is that no one is trying to make him a hero and burying him at the Libingan ng mga Bayani does not make him one. So I really found it funny that people argue that he is not a hero. Why? Simply because he is definitely not a hero. These same people are the same people giving the idea that he is a hero with their hashtags.
I remember having a conversation with a former classmate, who is now a lawyer, where we discussed and agreed that there was a huge chance that the high court would junk the petitions. The petition boils down to whether PRRD’s decision to allow the burial is something that will go against Philippine laws. This is the main contention. The Supreme Court decision has just given the whole country that stark reality that there is no law in the land that will prohibit the burial of the former president at the LNMB despite the decades that passed where we could have done something more.
The decision of PRRD to allow the burial had just shown us the closure and the weakness of our stance. Yes, we are vocal about how we feel about the Marcos regime and what we do not want to happen. But it simply remained a voice with no concrete action that would have made our claims legal. Actions that would have made it impossible for the Marcos family to stake their claim and giving them no choice but to find another lot to bury the remains.
Again, I am not upset with the Supreme Court for upholding the law.
I am upset with the legislators who claimed that they feel for Martial Law victims, with some claiming being victims themselves, and yet failed to pass the law.
I guess that should be pretty obvious by now.