To bury or not to bury in Libingan, this is a no-brainer
We, a group of human rights activists, claimants, students, teachers, priests and nuns, and good governance advocates, stand united against granting the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos a hero’s burial in Libingan ng mga Bayani.
The Libingan is a national shrine reserved for Filipino martyrs and heroes and outstanding Filipino citizens who served the country with courage and dignity, among them 32,268 military personnel who died in the Death March during World War II.
Also, the Armed Forces of the Philippines guidelines list those who are disqualified for a Libingan burial, among them, “Personnel who were dishonorably separated/reverted/discharged from the service; and personnel who were convicted by final judgment of an offense involving moral turpitude.”
Marcos is no hero for the following reasons:
- He lied about having a distinguished war record. His claims of having led a guerrilla group called “Ang Maharlika” were debunked by no less than the US military. His war medals are, therefore, fake and fabricated.
- Marcos was a dictator who ordered the torture, detention and death of thousands for opposing his rule. He held on to power through state-sponsored terrorism and gross human rights violations. The Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 (Republic Act No. 10368) recognizes “the heroism and sacrifices of all Filipinos who were victims of summary execution, torture, enforced or involuntary disappearance and other gross human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos.” Under this law, 75,730 claims have been made indicating the magnitude of abuse during Marcos’ reign so much so that he was dishonorably discharged from service and deposed by no less than the Filipino people.
- Marcos was a plunderer. He treated the national coffers as if it were his personal piggy bank. He established monopolies that became a burden to coconut and sugar farmers, while he and his cronies immensely benefited from the setup. He borrowed extensively from foreign lenders to finance “white elephant” projects like the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant and the Manila Film Center.
And he forcibly appropriated private businesses; in fact his wife, Imelda, even boasted that their family owned practically everything in the Philippines—from electricity to telecommunications, airlines, banking, beer, tobacco, media, shipping, oil and mining.
The Presidential Commission on Good Government estimates that the Marcoses amassed $5 billion to $10 billion in ill-gotten wealth. On Dec. 10, 1997, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court affirmed that Marcos’ Swiss bank deposits were criminally acquired and must therefore be returned to the Philippines.
On July 15, 2003, and on April 25, 2012, the Philippine Supreme Court affirmed that $658 million and $40 million, in separate Swiss bank deposits, were Marcos ill-gotten wealth and forfeited the same in favor of the Philippines.
Marcos himself has been declared, by the Transparency International Global Corruption Report, the second most corrupt leader in the world. As these offenses involve moral turpitude, Marcos does not deserve a hero’s burial.
The proposed burial of the late dictator in Libingan is offensive to Filipinos, especially to the thousands who fought and died fighting his tyranny.
President Duterte promised change during his campaign. But if change based on social justice is truly to be achieved, it cannot be done by honoring wrongdoing and burying the past.
We are appealing to the President to reject the proposal to bury Ferdinand E. Marcos in Libingan.
A final burial in his hometown in Ilocos, where he is still honored, is a win-win solution. We believe this can put closure to this issue, and allow the country to focus on more pressing problems that demand our attention.
More importantly, this will be in accord with the Marcoses’ agreement with former President Fidel V. Ramos as a condition for the return of his body to the Philippines.
No to the Marcos burial in Libingan! Never again to martial law! Never again to the Marcoses!
—THE COALITION AGAINST THE MARCOS BURIAL IN LIBINGAN NG MGA BAYANI
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