#AnimatED: Dismiss anti-Marcos protests at your peril
It’s been more than a week since the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, but the anger among the affected remains. It is raw. It is real. It is deep.
Pockets of protests have been held in key areas nationwide in the past week – on the streets of Iloilo City, in parks in Tuguegarao, in Cebu, on Taft Avenue in Manila, on EDSA, at the Luneta Park, and even in Davao, hometown of President Rodrigo Duterte. Another huge rally is scheduled on November 30, Andres Bonifacio Day.
We hazard a guess that not even President Duterte or the Marcoses knew this was coming. After all, prior to the Supreme Court’s decision to bury Marcos at the heroes’ cemetery, various groups had staged protests and campaigns to rally support for a “No” vote. The campaigns were so-so, the crowd consistently thin.
We hazard a guess that this – and the declared plans to stop the heroes’ burial from happening – emboldened the Marcoses to sneak the dictator’s remains into the heroes’ cemetery, in connivance with the police and the military.
Responding to criticism, the President said he knew nothing, aside from the general order he gave to his troops in August 2016, when he made the decision allowing Marcos to be buried there.
This doesn’t diminish his role in the burial. It doesn’t shield him from the anger among the youth, the veterans in the anti-dictatorship movement and their families, and the thousands of victims of Martial Law abuses – from the businesspeople who lost opportunities to Marcos cronies, to farmers who lost their land to Marcos’ friends aided by goons, to workers who lost their jobs as the economy plummeted, to soldiers who were made to kill civilians outside the battlefield, to journalists who worked under a climate of fear, among others.
We know that organizers of these protests have been careful to avoid directly hitting Duterte for the Marcos burial.
The Left, which provided organizational muscle to the Luneta rally last Friday, November 25, is allied with the Duterte administration through Cabinet seats and a peace process that has released its top guns from jail.
On the other hand, the moderates, who are behind the planned November 30 rally, do not want to add fuel to government’s conspiracy theory: that groups aspiring to remove him from power are merely using the anti-Marcos protests as cover for their insidious plot to install Vice President Leni Robredo.
Yet, it can't be helped. Ask anyone who's attended any of these protests and he will tell you this: Filipinos angered by Marcos’ burial put this squarely at Duterte’s doorstep.
This has cost him political capital, though it appears he doesn't see it that way.
To dismiss the protests as fleeting or manufactured or the antics of the has-beens is to misread the situation.
Emotions made Duterte president. He, of all people, should know that emotions are driving these protests.
The anger is real. It is raw. It is deep. – Rappler.com