The country went to sleep Friday surprised, outraged and happy (depending on which side one was standing) that without so much fanfare, former President Ferdinand Marcos finally got his dying wish to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
The dyed-in-the-wool anti-Marcos were outraged upon knowing that Marcos was already being laid to his final resting place by noon of Friday and it was too late to mount massive protest actions to prevent the burial of the former dictator, although protest they still did until the late hour of the day.
Marcos’ supporters and loyalists though had smiles on their faces for at last their idol and their hero has finally occupy the place they thought he deserved to be buried.
Leaders, whether heroes or heels, are always controversial in life and in death. Although for some their deaths would put an end or closure to the controversies their actions and decision have weaved when they were alive. For Marcos, his decisions in life may have been eclipsed by what happened 28 years after his death.
His burial last Friday elicited descriptions from his critics both in high government positions and even from the citizens who were not even born when EDSA People Power Revolution ended Marcos’ martial law regime and whose knowledge of what it was live u der martial law only came from their parents and from whatever history books could tell them.
The descriptions ranged from Vice Pres. Leni Robredo’s “like a thief in the night”, to Senator Delima’s “sneaky and actually treacherous”, to Senator Drilon’s “anything but noble and fit for a thief”, to CBCP’s “dishonourable” and many more.
What brought this outrage? It is not so much as its secrecy but the fact that the burial was made even before the reglementary period of 15 days for the petitioners to file a motion for reconsideration on the Supreme Court’s decision (9-5-1) to allow the burial of the remains of Pres. Marcos in the Libingan nga mga Bayani. President Duterte earlier announced his decision to allow the burial of the former dictator in the Libingan nga mga Bayani (LNMB) not really because he is a hero but because he is a former President and a soldier and to put a closure to the issue so that the country can move on, something that the anti-Marcos groups opposed citing that the Marcoses must first apologize to the whole nation and return their ill-gotten wealth. They clamoured for justice to be served first.
So did the Marcoses illegally buried the former dictator at the Libingan nga mga Bayani? Theodore Te, spokesman of the Supreme Court said there was no order prohibiting the burial or stopping the burial of Marcos at the LNMB even if there as a motion for reconsideration on the November 8 decision allowing the burial.
From our view the issue of the burial is no longer an issue of legality because the court has already spoken. The issue has gone deeper into the division of the country that goes back to the Martial Law regime. There were people who have been negatively affected by martial law and there are those who have experienced better days in their lives during martial law. It cannot be denied that while some people suffered during Martial Law, there were those who have suffered long deprivation who experienced and felt the good effects of the programs under Martial Law.
But how come that 30 years after Martial Law ended there are still victims who claim that justice has not been served to them? Most of those in high government positions today who were outraged by what happened last Friday were already occupying high elective positions in government immediately after Martial Law. What have they done to serve justice to those who were wronged? What have they done to correct the inequities in the legal proceedings if that was where the problem was?
Pres. Cory Aquino who was catapulted to the Presidency by the EDSA People Power Revolution was in the best position and in the proper emotional state when she was President. Her administration failed to pin even the guilt on Marcos for the death of her husband, Ninoy.
Fidel V. Ramos, who was among the first Marcos ally to turn against him believing that the Marcos Regime has gone to the excesses, succeeded Cory Aquino to the Presidency. Why has he not served justice to those who up to now are enraged by what the Marcos administration has done to them? There were two others, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Arroyo, who became Presidents before Rodgrigo Duterte. Why haven’t they heard the cries of unserved justice?
Now Pres. Duterte has seen how the Martial Law issues continue to divide his country and people and the situation is worsened by the weight of the illegal drugs problem. He has decided it is time to put an end to the issue by cutting the ties that weigh us down – bury Pres. Marcos and let forgiveness occupy places in the hearts of those who are still feeling aggrieved.
We may not all agree with him but 30 years is more than long enough to have secured the justice that everyone who have been aggrieved wanted to get.
It is our choice to continue to divide or heal the nation.
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