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To bury or not to bury

Teresa R. Tunay, OCDS
…and that’s the truth


Teresa R. TunayIt is disturbing how the issue of to-bury-or-not-to-bury a former president in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) has dragged on for months. Appeals are made, signatures are gathered, protest rallies are held, debates are staged and media interviews continue ad infinitum. Over what? Why the fuss? And why is the Supreme Court taking too much time to decide and put a period to the whole thing. If anything, it just shows how people value externals more than the truth.

Those who are against granting a hero’s burial to Ferdinand Marcos are the supposed victims of what they perceive to be his tyranny. They see only that tyranny and nothing more—certainly they would not dig into the reasons they were captured as “enemies of the state” in the first place. If reports are to be trusted, these “innocent” victims number about 30,000—incarcerated, tortured, and in many ways hounded and held as “enemies of the state.” They or their families demand redress—many of them are openly frustrated at not receiving compensation for their “unjust suffering”—and since they don’t see any consolation coming, they can’t be that generous either and let their persecutor go down in history as a “hero.” One wonders: what if they were paid, as certain war victims are—would they then praise Marcos as a hero? Therefore, heroism for them is for sale?

Those who are for a LNMB burial for the late president of the republic may be the beneficiaries of his goodness as a public servant, and naturally see his “clean” side. They believe the strong man of Asia deserves his medals and a spot in the heroes’ cemetery. They number definitely much more than those against, but maybe not all of them are willing to march in the streets for their deceased benefactor.

There are also those who say “Bury him at the LNMB and let’s move on!” They are the people who were neither victims nor beneficiaries of the Marcos regime but who acknowledge the fact that he had also accomplished so much good for the country, and since he was once the president, the Constitution allows his corpse its own resting place in the contentious cemetery. Some of these people may not be Filipinos at all, with more than adequate knowledge of how international politics moves and affects in particular the leadership in developing countries.

If I were the unsinkable Imelda, I’d say “No, thank you, Digong, this is causing too much trouble for you and further dividing the country. It’s just two cubic meters of space in a crummy cemetery, anyway! If you insist they might even put dear Ferdie beside Cory’s dog, God forbid! We would rather bury him elsewhere. We’ll set aside a few hectares of open space—in Ilocos, of course, don’t even think of Davao—with trees and ponds and flowers and benches where anyone, even Noynoy, can come to write poetry or just look at the sky. You see, I haven’t lost my eye for beauty nor my touch for beautifying even squatter areas—this would be a fantastic project, not for the dead but for the living. Oh I’m so excited! I know it will attract even more of our kababayans than the Libingan ng mga Bayani—see how people come in droves to our mausoleum? So thank you, Digong, thank you dear friends, supporters, and enemies of the state, you inspire me to create this wonderful shrine for my husband! And we don’t even have to call it a hero’s cemetery—we know he’s a hero, but only the Creator can tell for sure. And that’s the truth.”

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