I respect President Duterte (DU30)’s very stand about former President Ferdinand E. Marcos (FM)’s burial in “Libingan ng Mga Bayani’ (LNMB). The LNMB is a national cemetery established as a fitting resting place for military personnel as well as Filipino heroes and martyrs. The president‘s take is clear: being a former president, FM can be buried in the LNMB and the law doesn’t distinguish whether a president is good or bad. Besides, DU30 wants to put closure on this long overdue issue, offer reconciliation and do move-on. But my take on this political issue is not affirmative to DU30’s stand. First of all, FM is not a hero. He did not die fighting for the country but died exiled. For that alone, it is questionably to bury him in the LNMB. It is true that FM was a president but he was not just a president that was dictator and abusive but an ousted one. Dictatorship is not heroism. For the sake of delicadeza, how can you align such kind of man with those honourable personas laying in the heroes’ grave? Where is your respect to the remains of the respected deceased? The opposing people are protecting the very name, history and legacy of LNMB. Burying the body of FM in LNMB will mean that killing political foes, abusing the powers and authority, and stealing from public office are perfectly fine. Yes, LNMB is not just for President and heroes but also for Filipino soldiers too. Arguing the point that FM was a soldier is correct, but his being soldier is marred with his fabricated fake medals and fraudulent claim appearing hero in leading a guerrilla unit during the Japanese occupation doing falsification of military records and documents via the force called “The Maharlika”. Why then bury a dishonest soldier along with dignified soldiers risked their lives? It is not to say it is just a grave – no, it is heroes’ grave. If that is the case, will it mean an ordinary victim of hit and run can bury in LNMB or the family of a drug lord man in uniform killed in a police operation can request to bury the body in LNMB? I hope President DU30 do not overlooked that while the laws clearly qualify previous presidents, it also clearly states that personnel who were dishonourably discharged or involved in moral turpitude cannot qualify for interment.
Burying FM in LNMB will not help the country to restore the reconciliation between the rivals and opposing political parties but it will heed more gap between them, bringing disunity even worse and will cement totally the wall separating them because it is an issue of history, names, honour and reputation. It is not just for the sake to say move on. How dare them to say move on if they do not really care about your sufferings on the first place? Realtalk, it is very easy to say move on if you are not in the position of the aggrieved. And Marcos family is not even feel sorry for those who were killed and have died during the Martial Law, doesn’t even regretful for what wrong have transpired during their reign in power and instead glorifying Martial Law as the greatest thing that happened in the history of Philippines. This is not just simply to move on, this is about protecting the history, fighting the act of making wrong the right, preventing to rewrite the history, and protecting the legacy, story, credibility and reputation of LNMB itself. How can you forgive if the oppressors do not ask your forgiveness? How can you give the forgiveness to those who do not know to repent and say sorry? And how do you forgive if these people are not admitting mistakes on the first place? It is not just to move on but it is abstaining to tolerate the mistake. Because once you ignored the mistake, you will let to forgive and forget the next coming mistakes again and again. Learned from the history: if the Marcoses were not allowed to return from their exile in Hawaii, this national issue will not exist. Just to let them home, they had agreed to bury the remains of FM in Ilocos where they are truly loved. But the Marcoses today are not honouring this agreement. Then what is next after this burial? Knowing now their tactics and their close relationship with DU30, the Marcos family will demand more and more.
This is a long outstanding political and national issue that has been debated by our great lawmakers and political analysts but still there is no closing resolution. People representing different opinion and parties continue to clash. If we want to put closure on this, once and for all let the people say their heart and mind. Let the voice of the people be heard and let them decide. Held a plebiscite or referendum and ask the people whether or not FM should inter in the LNMB and thru that, the people will have spoken. Few years from now, the people affected or not affected directly or indirectly by martial law will be gone so it has to do the referendum in our time. Whether the result is favour or the other hand, at least it is the majority decision that should be respected and acknowledged.