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Five years after Marcos’ burial: There’s no burying the hatchet for dictators

By Joel Pablo Salud Published Nov 18, 2021 7:26 pm

It would never have crossed my mind that such a swindle was possible.  

On Nov. 18, 2016, sometime nine in the morning, the wax image of former dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos was airlifted from his hometown in Ilocos Norte to Metro Manila.  

The purpose: a largely clandestine burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani hours later. 

It was the cause célèbre of the decade. Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, not yet warm in his seat as the newly-elected Chief Executive, had given the burial of Marcos its green light despite ongoing public disapproval.  

Palace Communications secretary Martin Andanar had repeatedly said in connection with the burial that Duterte will not change his mind. And this despite alleged assertions by Andanar on the very day of the burial itself, through Communications assistant secretary Marie Banaag, that they had no knowledge of the said plan to bury Marcos at the LNMB. 

How can that be possible when four days earlier, in a column dated Nov. 14, 2016, titled “An appropriate burial,” Andanar explained Duterte’s approval of the burial, even calling those who opposed it as “temperamental brats”? 

Later in the day, Andanar released a statement saying that it was “not his intention” to trivialize the struggle of martial law survivors.  

Temperamental brats.  

That’s Andanar saying that after Marcos’ abuses, corruption, violence, torture, and lies, Filipinos do not have the right to be furious. That our only acceptable response is silence and respect for reasons that he was the former President.  

Likewise, that public outrage, in any shape and form, is criminal in the face of a Supreme Court decision allowing to bury Marcos in the graveyard of heroes.  

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

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

However, there was very little that can be said about Marcos without speaking ill of the dead. What is there to say, let alone good things to say, when ill-will is the only legacy for which Marcos will be remembered? 

After all’s said and done on the matter of Marcos’ atrocities and corruption, it is only right for Filipinos to feel infuriated. Burying Marcos among the resting place of heroes is an insult to the memory of all who have died protecting our liberties.  

It is, in fact, the worst kind of impunity to mistake a tyrant for a hero. 

He lies at the Libingan ng mga Bayani today as a slur and as an offence, a literal attack on the dignity of those who were murdered, abused, and raped under martial law.  

And he will forever remain this way, no doubt in the minds of many, for as long as the Marcos family denies the people both their apology and lawful compensations to the victims. 

The younger Marcos running for President in 2022 is, in fact, proof that whatever admission of guilt that needs to be said remains in vain. The Marcoses will not change. They will fight tooth and nail to build their infrastructure of lies and deceit solely for their own political and economic ends. 

Failing to realize that such a denial could damage the future of the Marcos bloodline, whose name will always be associated with thievery and tyranny, will be theirs to face.  

For as long as freedom-loving Filipinos are alive, there will be no burying the hatchet for dictators.