Akbayan Party today commended President Aquino’s decision to disallow the burial of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Akbayan Spokesperson Risa Hontiveros said that this decision is a positive gesture to the thousands of martial law victims and their families.
She also chided Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for his remarks that a hero’s burial for his father could have unified the country. According to Hontiveros, the people were already united before in toppling a brutal regime.
“We thank the President for his decision to put closure to the issue. A hero’s burial for the former dictator is an insult to the thousands of martial law victims. Contrary to Senator Bongbong’s claim that a hero’s burial would unify the country, the country was already unified more than two decades ago to overthrow a brutal dictatorship. Walang na-miss na golden opportunity ang mga Pilipino. In fact, the people used this opportunity to finally put closure to this issue,” Hontiveros said.
According to Hontiveros, the Filipino people united against the widespread human rights violations, corruption, and mismanagement that became the hallmark of Martial Law. She also added that if there was any good legacy that came out of Martial Law it was to value the freedom and rights taken away by Marcos.
Hero’s burial for Marcos a “tragedy and comedy”
The former Akbayan Representative also reacted to Sen. Marcos’ claim that the entire process to decide whether a hero’s burial would push through was a “zarzuela”. According to her, even contemplating a hero’s burial for the late dictator was in itself a tragedy and comedy rolled into one.
“For the victims of martial law, dangling the possibility that the mastermind behind the violation of their human rights be given a hero’s burial is a tragedy and a comedy rolled into one,” Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros also pointed out that given the evidence proving the huge of number of human rights violations, a hero’s burial should be the last thing on the minds of his loyalists. According to her, the legacy of corruption and human rights violations of Marcos is still being felt by the people today.
Hontiveros said, “The truth is that there were 3,257 victims of extra-judicial killings, 35,000 tortured, and 70,000 incarcerated under Marcos’ brutal dictatorship. Those facts contradict any gesture to declare Marcos a hero.”
A hero’s burial for the late strongman was suggested before but President Aquino declined to decide on the matter and delegated the task of making a decision to Vice President Jejomar Binay pending consultations to various stakeholders.
Many social movements and anti-dictatorship activists lambasted the idea of a hero’s burial arguing that such an idea would be revising history and extolling the atrocities during Martial Law.