(The author, Reil Benedict Obinque, 19, is editor in chief of Atenews, the student publication of the Ateneo de Davao University, posted 19 November 2016 in atenews.ph. Obinque, 19 is a senior in BS Education, major in Mathematics).
They buried the body, secretly, while the country was still grieving the Supreme Court’s decision. They buried Marcos, but let us not do the same thing with our memories, because history is not a corpse we bury. It lives. It breathes. And if only history had hands, then it would slap the face of the apathetic to wake him to the realization that the government has once again failed its people.
Ateneo de Davao should perhaps be slapped by its own history, too. From the proposal of burying Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani to the Supreme Court’s final decision to the sneaky burial that happened yesterday, Ateneo de Davao, save for some students and student organizations, stayed tight-lipped. This should not be the case. If there is a university that should be on the frontline of protesting against the Marcos’ burial, it should be AdDU.
In the 70s, during Martial Law, student and teacher activists in AdDU were among those who were detained. Atenews, its official student publication, was shut down like any other publications and news agencies under Marcos’ regime. Alumni like Macario Tiu, Bro. Karl Gaspar, Evella Bontia, and Maria Socorro Par, not to mention former teacher Rolando Bajo and SAMAHAN Chair Nic Gabunada who were arrested during Martial Law, were among the many who can testify how much injustices and violations were committed during those dark times.
One could visit the library and discover Atenews’ releases during the said decade to uncover the saddening events during Martial Law – events sparked by the same man we gave a hero’s burial to, the same burial we, Ateneans, did not speak up against.
Some may say that burying Marcos at the LNMB does not immediately indicate heroism. “It’s legal” has been used many times to justify the burial. But to have such stand implies the lack of regard for how strongly symbolic LNMB is and how the burial may rewrite history about Marcos – something that his clan can use for their advantage. This is how you blind the future generation: bury a dictator in a heroes’ cemetery.
Some may express that the decision has been made already, the body has been buried, and we cannot do anything. No. We can still show our anger, our disappointment, and our being “men and women for others” if we just look at the bloody past AdDU had under the Marcos Regime.
In almost all his speeches, “common good” and “social justice” come out of the University President Fr. Joel Tabora’s mouth. We know about them from our FYDP (First Year Development Program) classes. We hear about them in every Pakighinabi session. It’s time we live up to our own words.
Our silence about this issue has been ultimately deafening, and to stay expressionless until now would be saddening for the students and the members of the AdDU community who were victimized during Martial Law.
It’s time, Ateneans, that we speak up and protest!
[First published in atenews.ph (http://atenews.ph/a-heros-grave-for-a-mass-murderers-body/). Permission to reprint granted to MindaNews]