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Where blame properly lies

/ 12:28 AM November 25, 2016

Rarely, if ever, does the business community get involved in political matters—at least out in the open and at the risk of earning the government’s ire. But the “secret” burial of the remains of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani seems to have roused the anger, indignation and, yes, courage of a number of sectors, including business people.

The Makati Business Club (MBC) recently issued a statement on the “surreptitious burial” of the Marcos remains, saying that the act “reignites an unwanted divisive factor” in the nation. Burying a deposed dictator in a heroes’ cemetery, the MBC said, “does not make a hero,” and indeed “will make it difficult to impart the right lessons to future generations regarding a dark period in our history.”

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The business folk added that they are “shocked that the burial was undertaken in a deceptive manner, with undue haste and without respect for the process of allowing time for respondents to file their petitions [in the Supreme Court].”

Such a distracting event, the statement added, “draws our focus away from the critical and enduring need to unite and work with government on a common effort to build our economy, to increase our trade and to put poverty reduction and inclusive growth on top of our agenda to achieve a better life for all Filipinos.”

Still, a clarification needs to be made. Though the reburial of FM’s remains is clearly the doing of the Marcoses, it’s just as clear that they couldn’t have pulled it off without the active—nay, eager—connivance of President Duterte and those within his circle of influence. These are: the nine members of the Supreme Court who said burial in the LNMB for Marcos was legal, and the police and military who cooperated in the planning, preparation and giving of honors.

Currently, judging from heated posts, commentaries and memes on social media, those protesting the events of Nov. 18 are seemingly “divided” between two camps: those taking part in a huge rally on Nov. 25 to be led by leftist organizations currently allied with the Duterte administration, and those who will show up on Nov. 30 at a rally with a similar cause at the People Power monument. Charges are flying about the possible motivations of both camps, either to absolve Du30 from responsibility, or put the blame squarely on him without mentioning the complicity of previous administrations. It’s obviously a “divide and conquer” tactic, in the hopes of reducing the number of rally participants and thereby proving the lack of any massive public indignation at Marcos’ fake heroism.

This has led the Coalition against the Marcos Burial, organizer of the Nov. 30 rally, to issue a call to all who wish to show their anger at this reversal of history to “build the broadest coalition possible.” But, it emphasizes, “we oppose any effort to diminish and dilute the responsibility of Duterte for the Marcos burial.” Everyone’s effort, they stress, “should be directed at Duterte and the Marcoses, and not against each other.”

The Coalition statement says it “respects similar initiatives organized elsewhere, and we reject attempts to paint one or another initiative as opposed to, instead of complimenting, each other.”

Together, the Coalition pleads, “let the flames of our outrage burn the hands of those who sought to play god with history, and impose upon us a pekeng bayani  (false hero).”

* * *

The Association of Women Legislators Foundation Inc. (AWLFI), made up of the 87 women members of the House of Representatives, will hold its very first fundraiser billed “PamasCONG Handog: Garage Sale for a Cause” on Dec. 6-7 at the South Wing Lobby of the Batasan building.

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Shoppers can find great deals on “pre-loved” and “pre-owned items, such as clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories of House members and their celebrity friends.

The AWLFI president, Rep. Linabelle Ruth Villarica of Bulacan, said proceeds of the sale will support a rehabilitation center in Nueva Ecija. She said Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto of Batangas will surprise shoppers with celebrity guests during the opening day.

“PamasCONG Handog” is chaired by Rep. Sol Aragones of Laguna and Rep. Juliette Uy of Misamis Oriental.

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TAGS: Ferdinand Marcos, Libingan ng mga Bayani, Makati Business Club, Marcos burial
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