MANILA, Philippines – Activists and human rights victims during Martial Law held a Mass and concert on Sunday, November 6, culminating months of protests against the planned hero's burial for the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The event at Luneta was organized ahead of the Supreme Court (SC) ruling on the matter, which is expected to be released on Tuesday, November 8.
Around a hundred people wearing white – including former president Benigno Aquino III, former interior secretary Manuel Roxas II, and Senator Francis Pangilinan – attended the event. (READ: Aquino: Martial Law not just between my family, Marcoses)
Music icons including Jim Paredes of the APO Hiking Society, Bayang Barrios, and Noel Cabangon performed during the concert.
Paredes, a known activist and educator at the Ateneo de Manila University, urged the SC to "decide once and for all whether Marcos is a hero or not."
"Throughout our history, that has been our problem, even the independence movement, World War II, the collaborators were regarded as heroes," he said in an interview after performing hits like "Panalangin" and "Batang-bata Ka Pa."
"If the SC decides that Marcos cannot be buried at the [Heroes' Cemetery], it will be clear to us and gives us an idea of how to judge our future leaders," he added.
Anti-Marcos protesters are hoping at least 8 magistrates will decide in their favor. (READ: Ahead of SC decision, Martial Law victims 'pray for 8' votes)
Civic leader Raquel Garcia, who sympathizes with Martial Law victims, said allowing Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery) would not lead to healing.
"The justices have a very, very big responsibility to heed the call of the people... The justices have to realize what the issue has done to the country, what it is doing to the country. If they don't vote favorably for us, it will open wounds," she said.
But win or lose, it is clear the issue of Martial Law is far from being buried.
"This signifies that people never really forgot about Martial Law... it warms our heart to see all ages coming here and listening to people who lived through that hell and tell their stories," said Akbayan's Cecilia Lero. (READ: Martial Law, the dark chapter in Philippine history) – Rappler.com
All photos by LeAnne Jazul