DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/17 October) – A Davao City-based group opposing the burial of the remains of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Heroes’ Cemetery lauded President Rodrigo Duterte’s assurance he would respect whatever decision the Supreme Court (SC) might hand down this week on the petitions concerning Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).
The Supreme Court in August issued a 20-day status quo ante order which it later extended until October 18, while it is resolving the petitions against the burial at the LNMB.
“Respecting the SC decision, along with additional reforms related to other burning issues of the day such as the war on drugs, would strengthen rule of law in our country,” Konsyensya Dabaw (Hugpong Dabawenyo para LNMBatac) said in a statement issued Monday.
The multisectoral group is among those who are urging the Supreme Court “to do right by the many victims of Martial Law, and the coming generations of Filipinos, by denying a ploy to whitewash Marcos’s bloody record in favor of the full return to power of the Marcoses and the forces that supported the dictatorship.”
Konsyensya Dabaw also supports the burial of Marcos’ remains in the Libingan ng mga Marcos sa Batac (LNMBatac), Ilocos Norte instead of the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Before departing for Brunei on Sunday afternoon, Duterte told reporters at the F. Bangoy Interanational Airport in Davao City that what the Supreme Court will rule on “must be followed” even as he expressed hopes “the Supreme Court will decide not on the (basis of) emotion.”
“We will follow what the Supreme Court says for after all, it is the Supreme Court who interprets the law and decide which of the public interest is served among the contending parties. My position is that there is a law which grants Marcos a burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. My position that as long as there is that law, it shall be followed,” he said.
He said the matter of the medals and heroism of the late Marcos is “not that issue and that is not the issue and that is to be resolved maybe in the generations to come. It could not be decided on the group now which were actively and physically and emotionally involved in the issues that went past.”
Duterte added: “We can never have a good reading but what I must say now is that we have alienated the entire, almost entire Ilocano peoples. We cannot just do that because we are all Filipino and I hope that the Supreme Court will decide not on the (basis of) emotion but of course, we know that it will be all legal at the end of the day. What the Supreme Court will rule must be followed.”
Konsyensya Dabaw cautioned against the “oversimplification of the hero’s burial for Marcos into one of deciding on the basis of law versus ‘emotion’ and because the issue is alienating ‘almost the entire Ilocano people.’
“The grisly details about those who suffered directly from human rights violations (at least 70,000 arrested, 34,000 tortured, 3,240 summarily executed, and 1,000 disappeared); the massive amount of money that the Marcoses amassed illegally (estimated between US$5 to 10B); the foreign debt that the Marcos administration racked up and which all Filipinos will still be paying until 2025; and the economic and social consequences that cost us even after the Marcoses were ousted in 1986—these should not be dismissed as matters of emotion. They are about justice,” Konsyensya Dabaw said.
The group said it is “grossly unfair to our fellow Filipinos in Ilocos” that their sense of empowerment and inclusion “has been portrayed as hinging on a matter that will only uphold the interests of the Marcos family.”
“Many Ilocanos suffered from the effects of injustice and underdevelopment from the time of Marcos; and the Ilocano pride should not be reduced to and equated with the fortunes of the Marcoses,” Konsyensya Dabaw said.
It expressed sadness that the President did not fulfill his campaign promise to meet and consult victims of martial law in regard to the burial of Marocs at the LNMB “but has already met a few times with (Ilocos Norte) Governor Imee Marcos, whom he said had contributed to his campaign.”
“As for questions about Marcos’ heroism and war medals, they need not take generations to resolve. Similar to the steps that President Duterte himself took to increase public awareness of the Bud Dajo massacre, the Duterte administration can build on previous measures towards the full healing of Philippine society, which has not yet fully dealt with its violent past,” Konsyensya Dabaw said.
“We believe that the Filipino sense of solidarity and justice requires that Marcos be buried finally in Batac beside his mother, as he himself wished, and not at the LNMB,” the group said. (MindaNews)