Where have all the Marcos friends gone?
To be or not to be, that is the question, whether ’tis wiser to insist on the burial of Marcos in Libingan ng mga Bayani and satisfy the wishes of Bongbong Marcos et al., or listen to the cries of the multitudes who see irony in honoring a man who, they say, caused sufferings and death to thousands, and pain to the nation?
The question definitely is no big deal to President Duterte. An annoyance, maybe, but not a question that’ll keep him awake all night (or whatever time he is supposed to be sawing log). But wait, annoyance or not, it’s a question that cannot be ignored. As in any issue that requires making a choice, in this case making the choice cannot be put on hold or avoided, it’s a must.
So what will be the denouement of this side drama on Marcos’ burial at Libingan, complete with military honors and Imeldific pageantry? Will the President display again his famous hard-headedness, and stand pat on his order authorizing the burial, or will he cave in to pressure from civil society, and have it aborted—and, thus, lose face (at least in the eyes of the “Marcos Pa Rin” crowd of Oliver Lozano)?
To be sure, some windows are open, allowing the President to maintain the status quo—that is, leave the Marcos remains lying in peace in a refrigerated chamber in Batac, Ilocos Norte, where it has been these past many, many years. In fact Mr. Duterte has hinted ever so subtly he has already in mind a fall-back position, a way out for him should the clamor against the Libingan burial become so intense. Recall:
A Palace announcement said the President is firm on his decision to permit the burial of former president Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani as this is according to law. The announcement also said the President is not for stopping protest rallies by militant groups opposing the Marcos burial at Libingan, but none of these protest rallies will change his decision. While confident his decision on the Marcos burial issue is correct, he has tasked Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo to study the issue anyway, and he will follow his recommendation.
A Malacañang official, when it was pointed out to him that a group has petitioned the Supreme Court to issue a temproary restraining order stopping Marcos’ Libingan burial, said the President is not perturbed by this development. As a staunch believer in the rule of law, he will follow whatever the Supreme Court says or orders about the matter.
I grieve what’s happening to Ferdinand Marcos in death: his alleged evil deeds exhumed from none too infallible memory of the biased, and paraded anew for the delectation of the public which relishes on negatives; his mortal remains denied of interment for years, in a place he had wished in life to be laid to rest when he dies.
It grieves me more that at this time when the memory of Marcos who, it cannot be denied, also left arguably admirable footprints in our history, is being thrown mud at, and none of those he had counted on as friends had come out to say: “Hey, cool it, the man had also done not only few but many wondrous things for us.” Nobody. None except, to my knowledge, loyalist forever Oliver Lozano, who braved the driving rain and led a contingent of 30 Marcos Pa Rin diehards in a shouting match at the Luneta with a couple of thousand marchers protesting the Marcos’ burial at Libingan.
I was a close-in aide of Ferdinand Marcos in the closing months of his stay in Malacañang. I might not have seen all the facets of his life and being, but those that I had seen were to my estimation all positive and far outweighed the bad that are now being ascribed to him.
I am not inclined to argue about the merits of Marcos as a man, as a leader, as a Filipino with anyone, least of all with one who has made up his mind as no amount of saliva can change his view that Marcos is nothing but a hundred percent unmitigated scoundrel.
My one and only purpose in this commentary is to jog the memory of those who professed friendship with the late president and who, in return for such privilege, gaily cavorted in his munificence. Where are they now? Friends, Marcos had legions of them. Influential friends. Powerful friends.
Friends who could squelch the orgy of bashing the dead Marcos, with a sober narrative of his legacies which, whether or not we accept their reality, have become the springboard for the many good things we have achieved as a struggling nation.
Yes, at this time when Marcos needs nothing more than a few kind words, where are his friends of long ago? True indeed are the opening words of Shakespeare’s Sonnet XXIX which was familiar to high school students of my generation:
When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes
I alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and my curse my fate.
Gualberto B. Lumauig ([email protected]) is a past president of the UST Philosophy and Letters Foundation, a former governor and congressman of Ifugao.
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