CELEBRATING the anniversary of Fr. Romano’s disappearance keeps alive the memory of his death and that of many others who, like him, stood up against the scourge of Martial Law. They have been silenced but the savage way it was done continues to scream to the living for justice.

The families of the “desaparecidos” (Spanish for “made to disappear”) might have despaired of ever getting justice. But they surely want closure at least by way of knowing where their remains are so they can be given a proper burial.

Yet we continue to wonder how much of a chance the families have of attaining such a closure. Like how puzzling is it that so far no President has even tried to make one sure step on the road towards it?

Cory Aquino did not do it in spite of the fact that she lost her husband to Martial Law. Fidel Ramos did not do it either when he was most fitted to do it being a military man himself (or maybe not). Of course, nothing could be expected from Erap, a Marcos-crony. And PNoy acted just as clueless and helpless about it when this is one crooked patch of the road his “daang matuwid” should have straightened.

So, who’s really running this country?

Enter President Rodrigo Duterte with his promise of ridding this country of criminals and corrupt officials acting like he wants the world to know that crime does not pay in the Philippines. I know his law degree would enable him to see that kidnapping and murder are crimes that must be punished. Yet I can only hope that his friendship with Bongbong Marcos will not push him towards letting the Marcos family get away with plunder, kidnapping and murder.

He wants closure and thinks he will achieve it by allowing Ferdinand Marcos to be buried in Libingan ng mga Bayani. But his friend Bongbong Marcos clearly wants his dead dictator father buried in Libingan as a way of revising history and of making his father the hero that he insists the former was. Will that bring closure when there is no admission of guilt and neither repentance nor atonement for it?

Again, the families of desaparecidos might forego justice in exchange for closure by way of providing the latter with a proper burial. I understand the President is busy, and rightly so, attending to more pressing problems. I must, however, hope that someday he will think of a way to bring about closure to the case of the desaparecidos because only then can he rightfully claim that in the Philippines crime does not pay.

P. S. Abducted by the military in 1973, I spent very scary days in a military safe house, ironically about the most dangerous and unsafe place to be during that time. Fortunately I came out of the ordeal alive. So now I use my pen to fight for the rights of those who were not as fortunate.