MANILA, Philippines – More than a thousand people from different groups braved bad weather to express their objection to the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on Sunday, August 14.
Martial law victims, students, members of Catholic organizations, and several politicians gathered at the Lapu-Lapu Monument in Luneta for a “peaceful protest” despite the heavy rain in Metro Manila.
"Ang langit po ay kasama natin ngayon dahil siya ay lumuluha dahil ayaw niyang ilibing si Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani," former Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Etta Rosales told the crowd while she was being soaked by the strong rain.
(The heavens are one with us. He is crying because He is not favorable to Marcos' burial at the Heroes' Cemetery.)
Former senator Wigberto Tañada, another martial law victim, strongly called on President Rodrigo Duterte to retract his order allowing a hero's burial for Marcos.
"Pangulong Duterte, bawiin na ninyo, iurong na ninyo ang inyong kapasyahan na ilibing si Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani. Iyang pong kapasyahan na 'yan ay hindi tama. Hindi po sang-ayon sa batas kaugnay sa usaping ito," said Tañada.
(President Duterte, withdraw your decision to bury Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Your decision is wrong and does not follow the law related to this issue.)
The former lawmaker was referring to Republic Act 10368, signed in 2013, which orders the reparation and recognition of the sacrifices of human rights victims during the Marcos regime.
People who attended the rally are optimistic that the President would change his stance on the controversial interment.
UN Abana, a labor activist during the time of the dictatorship, said in Filipino: "We are hoping that the President would change his decision, that someone like Marcos should not be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani."
"We hope, as much as possible, that he side with us who were victims of atrocities during martial law," she added.
Ilocano Cris Palabay, a student-activist detained during Marcos' time, also spoke against the planned burial.
"Nakakahiya, hindi lang sa sambayanang Pilipino. Nakakahiya rin sa pareho naming mga Ilocano na marami siyang ginawang [masama] noong panahon ng martial law," said the La Union native.
(It's very embarrassing not only to the Filipino people. It's also embarrassing to Ilocanos like me that he committed many atrocities during the time of martial law.)
Meanwhile, 50-year-old Ed Morales said the country should feel for the martial law victims.
"Kailangan nila ng justice. 'Di naman tama 'yung ganun. Kahit naman 'yung nangyayari ngayon," he told Rappler in an interview.
(They need justice. That is not right. Even what is happening now.)
Morales was talking about the recent spike in the number of extrajudicial killings, seen as a consequence of Duterte's war on drugs.
"Pang-lovers lang ang move on. Diktador, hindi eh. (Moving on is only for lovers. For a dictator, no.) That does not apply," he also said.
Law student and youth leader Arvin Buenaagua, for his part, urged his fellow millennials to take part in protests against the planned burial. He noted that the youth are the biggest stakeholders of this decision.
"We should be responsible in remembering the past – especially this $26 billion debt that the Marcos administration incurred which we and our children will still have to pay."
He urged the President to prove that he is for the people and not for the oligarchs.
"Kung tunay niyang ayaw ng mga oligarchs, ng mga elitists sa pamahalaan at sa bayan simulan niya sa pagreject sa proposal na ilibing si Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani," he said.
(If he really does not want oligarchs and elitists in the government and this country, he should begin to prove it by rejecting the proposal to bury Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.) – Rappler.com