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It’s not all about the place

Fr. Wilfredo Samson, SJ


Someone asked, “What’s the big deal about burying Marcos in Libingan ng mga Bayani? Anyway, not all buried in that cemetery are heroes. For the sake of healing and reconciliation, let’s just allow Marcos to be buried there and move on.”

Yes, I believe that not all buried in Libingan ng mga Bayani are heroes. But the place carries the word “Bayani.” It carries a lot of meaning for all of us. A hero means someone who died for his country, and not someone who plundered his country.

Have you ever wondered why the Marcos family is so persistent in their desire that the late President Ferdinand Marcos be buried in Libingan ng mga Bayani? It is their road to prove that Martial Law was justifiable and the EDSA Revolution was a big mistake; and to tell the present and future generations that the Marcos dictatorship was morally and legally liable despite all the corruption, violence, and killings done during those dark moments of our history.

We say no to his burial in Libingan ng mga Bayani because we don’t want someone today and in the future to re-write and revise the truth of our history, desecrating the truth. Let’s call a spade a spade. A sin will always be a sin. A wrong cannot be become right in time.

Forgiveness is not the issue here. As Christian nation, it is indeed our duty to forgive those who repent. But how can we forgive someone who is not remorseful of the evil they have done in the past? They insist on their innocence for the Marcos family was never been proven guilty and convicted in court. But the money recovered by the PCGG from Marcos family and cronies, and the countless documented victims of Martial Law were undeniable pieces of evidence. Acceptance of one’s wrongdoing is the foundation of forgiveness and a real desire for reconciliation, which we do not see. The Bible clearly said, “Be on guard. If your brother does wrong, correct him; if he repents forgive him.” (Luke 17:3).

We are called to correct a mistake. This is the reason why we are protesting. But we can also forgive, if they accept their evil deeds, be accountable for their sins, and repent.

What we are protesting is not just the place of burial. What we are resisting is the implication of burying Marcos in a place which is publicly accepted and recognized as a burial place for heroes. And Marcos is no hero. We are not just against Marcos. We are against his regime’s evil deeds and tyranny. We don’t want to repeat that dark part of our history and commit the same mistake of honoring a non-hero.

The call to forgive is in our hearts. Our protest is to remind all Filipinos NOT TO FORGET THE EVIL DEEDS COMMITTED BY THE MARCOS REGIME, so that it will never happen to us again. Never again. We are against any possible attempt to desecrate our democracy and freedom. And we don’t want anyone to manipulate the truth and re-write our history by transforming evil deeds in the past to something acceptable, legal, and morally correct.

They may win in burying Marcos in Libingan ng mga Bayani, but they cannot bury the evil deeds they committed. Our voice will rise from his grave to pursue our dream to bring the truth. WE WILL NOT STOP FROM TELLING THE PRESENT AND FUTURE GENERATIONS THE EVILS DONE BY THE MARCOS REGIME, because we don’t want those evil deeds to rule our country again. And we don’t want to repeat our mistake today of honoring a regime which brought countless horrendous sufferings to our country, and great unimaginable grief to many Filipino families who lost their loved ones who fought a tyrannical leader and his cohorts.

Majority of our millennials are totally detached from our history. They never experienced the agony of living in Martial Law. They never lost their loved ones in any political struggles. They never went out into the streets to face the police and the armed military. But I cannot blame them for being non-committal to our cause. The blame is on us. We failed to tell our story to our children. They deserve to know the truth, and not fabricated lies.

These are the reasons why we don’t want Marcos to be buried in Libingan ng mga Bayani.

For it is not about the place, but it is all about the truth.
It is not all about forgiveness, it is about the admittance of sins.
It is not all about Marcos, but it is about justice and accountability.
It is not all about our disgust over the Supreme Court’s decision,
but is it all about our frustration over revisionists,
who dare to make the guilty regime … innocent in our eyes.

– Pitik-Bulag

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