#MarcosBurial: ‘Sorry I’m not sorry’

Maria Shantelle Alexies Ambayec
A young woman's open letter to the victims of Martial Law and those who support former president Ferdinand Marcos

My voice against the Marcoses has been loud since the election days, making me gain virtual enemies and lose friends along the way. Nonetheless, I don’t regret anything, not a single moment of it. I am proud to say that I’m standing up for nothing but the truth. Besides, thanks to all the people who fought for our democracy, you and I are freer to voice out our opinions without ending up raped, tortured, and killed, which is a privilege that more often than not, we tend to take for granted. Hence, might as well use it for something worthwhile.


I am tired though. I’m tired of explaining and arguing why it is important to have our voices heard and why criticism is vital in our society. I’m tired of trying to make people understand why Marcos does not deserve to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) and why his projects could never ever make up for all the billions stolen and for all the lives lost. So for now, I just want to say sorry. (READ: Timeline of the Marcos burial controversy)


To the victims of Martial Law, I’m sorry. I’m sorry the ones who hold power in our country seem to forget all the atrocities that you had to go through. I’m sorry that our leaders, who are supposed to protect and serve their people, are pirouetting on the palms of probably the vilest family this country has ever had the misfortune to produce. I’m sorry that we are taking for granted all of your sacrifices for us to have the freedom that we’re enjoying right now, the same freedom that was stolen from you. I’m sorry we are insulting your memory and everything that you fought for. (READ: Marcos burial: ‘We hold Duterte admin responsible’)


To the Marcos apologists, I’m sorry that you believe that people have to experience things firsthand before they can feel empathy towards others. I’m sorry that you think infrastructures and bridges and bonuses are more valuable than lives of people. I’m sorry that you believe that Marcos is tolerable though he killed and tortured and stole because other politicians are doing it anyway. I’m sorry that you find our call for justice as irrelevant rants coming from our biased judgments. I’m sorry that you think of us as “mga bayarang dilaw”. I’m sorry that you think being anti-Marcos is equivalent to being pro-Aquino. 


To the Marcos family, I feel so sorry for you. I’m sorry that when the world showered humanity with cowardice, you caught it all. I’m sorry that you’re so encapsulated by greed that you think it’s okay to steal billions from your people and still have the audacity to demand a hero’s burial for your father. I’m sorry that the word “repentance” seems to get lost in translation in your vocabulary. I’m sorry that you are not human enough to admit your faults, to apologize, and to make up for your mistakes. I’m sorry that you’re too desperate to cover up your crimes and shun away your guilt, you fool yourselves to believe that there is nothing to feel sorry for. I’m sorry that in your hunger for power, you have to live in the lies that you never get tired of creating. I’m sorry that you don’t have any conscience at all because that goes to show that you’re not even worthy to be called a human, much less a hero. (READ: Marcos supporters, critics face off after hero’s burial)


Lastly, to all of you who want to unfollow me, unfriend me, make “parinigs” through Facebook status against me, I want to let you know that you can do all you want. But I’m sorry I’m not sorry that your petty “move on” statements won’t make me shut up. The fight is not over. And I don’t know about you but when the time comes, I want to be able to tell a story that I can be proud of – that once upon a time, I exercised the freedom of speech given to me, in the hopes of protecting this same freedom for the next generation to enjoy. – Rappler.com


Maria Shantelle Alexies Ambayec, Alecks for short, is a public servant by day, an aspiring theatre scholar and practitioner by night. She is currently taking up MA Theatre Arts at UP Diliman.