Tyrant and plunderer
No honors, none!
A national deception, insult to
Flimflam of speech,
A monstrous lie in our history books,
To bury Marcos with any trappings
—From “Pazienzia” by Gémino H. Abad (“Where No Words Break: New Poems and Past,” UP Press, 2014)
The poet explains: “I sometimes jest with my poet friends that our country might be named ‘Pazienzia’ because our people are too long-suffering, too forgiving, with our ‘trapos’ (traditional politicians) and family dynasties. The Latin word patior, pati (to suffer) gives the English word ‘patient’; it is related to Greek pathos, suffering.”
Poets, prophets and preachers—through the ages they have spoken about mercy and forgiveness. But they have also called down the wrath of God on oppressors and railed against injustices done to the lowly. There must be atonement for sins, or there is hell to pay.
So, no to feeding the present and future generations “a monstrous lie”!
And so, hey, it is not enough to say that the dictator Ferdinand Marcos was not a hero. It must be stressed that he was a tyrant and plunderer. In Filipino, punong mang-aapi/malupit at mandarambong.
That Marcos was not a hero is the cry of those who oppose the burial of his 27-year-old corpse in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, or “the cemetery for heroes.” But to keep stressing what he was not, without adding what he factually was, might just give rise to cynics pointing to themselves as not heroes either. Or those in the Libingan who were not heroes either.
The street cry “Marcos Not a Hero” is bitin, not enough. He was, repeat, a tyrant and plunderer.
To those well-meaning persons who urge the victims of human rights violations to just forgive, move on, and get on with the burial, here is what I have to say:
Should the tyrant and plunderer be held up as a hero then? The ISSUE is not about hating or forgiving, it is about holding up an oppressor as a hero. In doing this, what will this teach our children? We should not teach them to hate or be unforgiving, but we should teach them about what is right and what is wrong. Why should the onus be on the victims? Should we just let oppressors strut about with impunity while victims lick their wounds? Huwag naman…
The Supreme Court’s Nov. 8 decision (9-5-1) allows the burial of Marcos’ remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, who penned the majority decision, wrote: “For his alleged human rights abuses and corrupt practices, we may disregard Marcos as a President and Commander-in-Chief, but we cannot deny him the right to be acknowledged based on the other positions he held or the awards he received. In this sense, we agree with the proposition that Marcos should be viewed and judged in his totality as a person. While he was not all good, he was not pure evil either. Certainly, just a human who erred like us.”
In her dissenting opinion, Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno (one of the five who voted no) said: “The President acted with grave abuse of discretion and in violation of his duty to faithfully execute the laws when he ordered the burial of Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.”
She cited laws against “the massive plunder and the countless abuses committed by Marcos and his cronies during his tenure as President. These laws not only condemn him as a thief; they equally recognize his criminal liability for the atrocities inflicted on innumerable victims while he was in power.”
Citing Republic Act No. 10368, the Chief Justice stressed: “The burial would contravene the duty of the Philippines to provide reparations to victims of human rights violations during the Marcos regime.”
The reparation for victims is not all about money, as Ferdinand Marcos Jr. wants people to believe it is. It is about laying bare the cruelty suffered by countless Filipinos during the Marcos dictatorship and the massive plunder that took place. It points a finger at the one who was responsible.
Send feedback to [email protected] or www.ceresdoyo.com.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.