PROTESTS against the burial of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. took place in four Cebu City locations yesterday, starting with a noise barrage on Colon St. and ending with a similar activity near Fuente Osmeña.
Two different coalitions organized the activities, but they made similar appeals: for people to continue to demand justice for Martial Law victims and to stay vigilant against a rebirth of tyranny.
That the protests coincided with the 153rd birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio should remind people to honor true heroes, said Fr. Cris Mostajo. He gave the homily during the 3 p.m. Mass at the Redemptorist Church, where some of the protesters gathered.
“True heroes offer their lives to defend our nation. True heroes are killed for their principles,” the parish priest in Cebuano.
He said there was nothing heroic about Martial Law under Marcos, when more than 3,000 persons disappeared or were killed, including the Redemptorist priest Rudy Romano. To this day, the men who kidnapped Romano in Labangon, Cebu City on July 11, 1985 remain unidentified.
In all four protests yesterday, Martial Law survivors, among others, talked about what they endured.
‘A fake hero’
Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Meinrado Paredes, a Martial Law detainee, spoke at the protest yesterday morning in Plaza Independencia and again at 5 p.m. on the Capitol steps.
Soldiers arrested him while he was reviewing for the Bar examinations just after Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972.
“Instead of taking the Bar, I was placed behind bars,” Paredes quipped.
He condemned President Rodrigo Duterte for allowing the dictator to be buried with military honors. Andres Bonifacio, for all that he did for the country, did not get the same recognition.
“Bonifacio deserved to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani but Marcos, a dictator, a fake hero, was buried there instead,” Paredes added.
The Marcoses buried their late patriarch last Nov. 18, only 10 days after the Supreme Court dismissed several petitions to stop the burial. Duterte had promised such a burial during the campaign, and gave the order for the military to prepare for it last July 11, less than two weeks into his presidency.
“Duterte’s insistence on burying the dictator Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani is an endorsement of the tyrannical and dictatorial rule of the Marcos regime. His action indicates that he is partial to a tyrannical rule,” the Cebu Citizens’ Assembly Against the Marcos Burial at the Libingan said in a statement yesterday.
This alliance includes the Anti-Bongbong Coalition (ABC), Akbayan, Sanlakas, Kilusan Para sa Panbansang Demokrasya (KPD), Nagkaisa, Partido Manggagawa (PM), Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (BMP), Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), UP All Cebu and Pagtambayayong Foundation Inc. (PFI).
They organized yesterday’s march from Sto. Rosario to Colon St., where they held a noise barrage before proceeding to Plaza Independencia.
In his speech at the plaza, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña encouraged the youth to continue the fight against corruption and tyranny.
“In our culture, the adults are supposed to fight for the rights of the youth. But you, the youth, must stand and fight. I will stand behind you to my last breath,” Osmeña said.
Also honored yesterday were seven martyrs and eight survivors of Martial Law, who were selected from a group of 30 nominees.
Named Cebu Martial Law martyrs were former assemblywoman Nenita “Inday Nita” Cortes Daluz, Redemptorist Fr. Rudy Romano, Atty. Vicente Balbuena, Professor Evelyn Neri of the University of San Carlos, Ribomapil “Dodong” Holganza Sr., Fr. Louie Hechanova, and former assemblyman Valentino Legaspi.
The Martial Law survivors were Auxilium “Toling” Olayer, Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez, Judge Meinrado Paredes, Atty. Democrito “Mocring” Barcenas, Professor Zenaida Uy, former senator Sergio Osmeña III, Fr. Emi Maningo ,and Ruben Diaz.
“Their genuine love for freedom and for the people are all worthy of emulation by today’s generation and the generations to come. They are also chosen regardless of political and ideological persuasions,” read the press statement of the Citizens’ Assembly.
Former Cebu City councilor Alvin Dizon of Akbayan said that the Marcoses should answer for the thousands of people who disappeared during Martial Law and who remain missing to this day.
Senior Supt. Joel Doria, chief of the Cebu City Police Office (CPPO), estimated the Plaza Independencia crowd at 1,000. He said it was peaceful.
After the activities on Colon and in Plaza Independencia, another group attended Mass at the Redemptorist at 3 p.m. They prayed to the Lady of Perpetual Help “to protect our country from evil.” They then walked to the Capitol, chanting, among others, “Marcos diktador, di bayani (Marcos was a dictator, not a hero).” After an hour-long program at the Capitol, the group proceeded to Fuente Osmeña for a noise barrage that peaked around 6 p.m.
For young Cebuanos, the protests created a space where they could safely express their objections to Marcos’s burial.
Karyna Sencio was reviewing for the Bar examinations in Manila when she received news last Nov. 18 that the dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. was about to buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).
She wanted to leave her books behind and join those who went to the People Power Monument for an impromptu protest, as the sudden burial angered thousands. But she had the exam to contend with.
Instead, after finishing the Bar exams last Sunday, Sencio immediately came home to Cebu and participated during the noise barrage yesterday, Bonifacio Day.
She was one of more than a hundred protesters who marched from the Cebu Provincial Capitol to Fuente Osmeña, where a noise barrage to protest the sudden burial took place just as night fell.
“For me, (the burial) was a grave injustice and a contemptible offense. They took away the people’s chance to ask the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision,” Sencio added.
The Marcos family, after quick arrangements with some military officials, buried the dictator just 10 days after nine justices of the Supreme Court rejected all petitions to stop the burial.
Aside from Sencio, participants like Jesson Morata, 34, attended the activity yesterday not only to oppose Marcos’s burial, but also to remind people that the ousted president was no hero.
“Dili unta nato i-twist ang history (We shouldn’t twist history),” he added.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 01, 2016.
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