Protesters condemn Marcos’ burial at Heroes’ Cemetery

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 18 November)  —   Victims of human rights violations under  martial law and members of militant groups  gathered along San Pedro St. near City Hall in Davao City late Friday afternoon to express their outrage while black ribbons were tied around trees along Roxas Avenue fronting the Ateneo de Davao University, where a candle-lighting rite was held early evening.

Protest actions were also held at the Ateneo de Zamboanga University and in Cagayan de Oro City.

Despite the drizzle, protesters gathered along San Pedro St. in Davao City to to express their disgust over the burial of the dictator in the Heroes’ Cemetery, insisting he did not deserve a hero’s burial.

Fe Salino of the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto  (SELDA) in Southern Mindanao Region, said “I could not describe exactly how I feel right now … but I encourage the children of this generation to learn what happened during Martial Law. I encourage them to talk to us so that we can tell them our struggles during Marcos time,” she said.

Salino said she suffered in the hands of hte military during martial law and  her husband was among the victims of forced disappearances during the 14-year martial rule of Marcos.  

In Davao City, victims of human rights violations under dictator Ferdinand Marcos and members of militant groups condemn the sudden burial of his remains Friday noon at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani. MindaNews photo by Carolyn O. Arguillas
In Davao City, victims of human rights violations under dictator Ferdinand Marcos  and members of militant groups condemn the sudden burial of his remains Friday noon at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani. MindaNews photo by Carolyn O. Arguillas

Marcos was elected President in 1965 when the term of office of Presidents was still four years with only one re-election. He was supposed to have ended his second and last term in 1973 but declared martial law in September 1972, and ruled until he was ousted by the  People Power revolt in February 1986.

For her, the wounds are still fresh as she recalled the experience of being battered and slapped by the military during her detention for nine months at the PC Barracks or what is now known as Camp Captain Domingo E. Leonor, the headquarters of the Davao City Police Office.

She demanded justice for the victims, for her husband’s disappearance, and for herself.


Carlo Olano, spokesperson of the Kilusang Mayo Uno-Southern Mindanao, described the burial as “shameful.”

“Sekreto ang pagpalubong kay makauulaw nga si Marcos ilubong sa LNMB (His burial was done in secret because it’s shameful that he would be buried at the LNMB),” he said .

He said a lot of the victims under Marcos’ regime were arrested, detained or killed,  on suspicion they were members of the New People’s Army.

He encouraged Dabawenyos to participate in public discussions and to listen from the victims themselves.

Toto Bolcan, 75, member of SELDA-SMR, said seniors like him are remaining living witnesses of the abuses during martial law.

“You (children) listen to us so that you would know the truth in this country,” he said.

He said Marcos should have been buried in his hometown in Batac, Ilocos Norte.

Bolcan, who was arrested thrice during martial law, recalled rallies were held every now and then during Marcos time to protest against the injustices.

Jay Apiag, spokesperson of the human rights group Karapatan-Southern Mindanao, said they could not accept the late strongman’s burial because he was not a hero. 

He said government has failed to serve the best interests of the Filipino people.

“Wala gitagad ang tanang biktima sa Martial Law (The government has brushed aside all the appeal of the victims of the Martial Law),” he said.

Bad faith

In a statement, Konsyensya Dabaw said the burial was done in bad faith as the Suprme Court ruling was not yet final and executory. It said the burial, done on the 10th day after the SC’s November 8 ruling, “is obviously meant to preempt and frustrate efforts to file MRs with the Supreme Court,” it said.

It also expressed disappointment that Duterte knew of the burial plans according to PNP chief Dir. Gen. Ronald dela Rosa.

“This makes us ask, do the victims of Martial Law and those who oppose the hero’s burial mean so little to the President that he would condone a hasty burial? it asked.

In a statement, the Young Moro Professionals said there is hardly any Bangsamoro family that was

There is no darker period in our recent history than the Martial Law era. There is hardly any Bangsamoro family that was left untouched by death and grief during the Marcos dictatorship.

“To this day, we carry with us stories of men killed in mosques, women raped in villages, and children left orphaned by countless human rights violations across the region and all throughout Mindanao” during the Marcos dictatorship.

“Our elders passed on their account of history to us so we can learn from it, and our history is replete with stories of how Martial Law has changed the lives of our people. To deny that these atrocities happened and to forget the suffering it has caused is to betray our history as people who fought for freedom from the dark days of dictatorship. That he was buried in an attempt to force our people to move on and to forget is inconsolable and unforgivable,” the group said, adding “nothing can change history. Nothing can change the truth. Marcos is no hero.”

In Cagayan de Oro, protesters gathered at Kiosko Kagawasan Friday night,  lit candles on the roadside and urged motorists to blow their horns while at the BC Quadrangle of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University Friday afternoon protesters “to express our ADZU community’s indignation.”

Duterte’s statement

In Lima, Peru, where he is attending the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit, President Rodrigo Duterte said the burial of Marcos “seems to be a very raucous issue for the nation” but he would “like to pray that everybody would find a space in his heart for forgiveness.”

“For those who have been somehow hurt or injured that they can take some other…For those detained for so long and suffering you have this option to file a case against the late President Marcos. You know, the sins cannot visit the children and liability is always personal. That’s a principle of law na sinusunod natin,” he said.

On August 7, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana issued a memorandum on the Marcos burial at the LNMB, following President Duterte’s announcement in the early hours that Sunday morning, that he had given the go signal for the burial of Marcos’ remains.

Lorenzana directed General Ricardo Visaya, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to “undertake the necessary planning and preparations to facilitate the coordination of all agencies concerned specially the provisions for ceremonial and security arrangements” for the Marcos burial, in compliance to the President’s verbal order on July 11 “to implement his election campaign promise.”

“Sana at the day of the burial, they might just want also to stretch more of their understanding of what happened to our country. I think that’s…You know I was…Ang isip ko noon when I decided is we have divided nation although not that widespread. But you can be very sure that all the Ilokano-speaking people are really hurt, they are dismayed and it’s been there floating like a flotsam, we have to decide once and for all,” the President said.  

“And me I was just being legally strict about it. President Marcos was a president for so long and he was a soldier. So that’s about it. Whether or not he performed worse or better, there is no study, there is no movie about it. It’s just the challenges and allegations of the other side which is not enough,” Duterte said.  (Antonio L. Colina / MindaNews with reports from Carolyn O. Arguillas)