TO bury or not to bury Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani? That is the question.
President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed Marcos’s burial in the Libingan on the simple ground that he was once a soldier and a president. Under the law, Marcos has the right to be buried there as a veteran of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
On the other hand, the anti-Marcos faction would insist that he doesn’t deserve to be buried in that “hallowed grounds” for what he did to the Filipino people during martial law. Thus, the country is divided once again between the pros and cons.
What’s so sacred about Marcos laid in a refrigerated crypt or buried in the Libingan? Even Marcos would turn over in his grave to know that after finally resting in peace for many years, he will be put again in the maelstrom of controversy. To the victims of martial law, it will only rekindle the hurts of the past that had long been buried in the dustbin of history.
To the young generations who hardly knew the dead man, Ferdinand Edralin Marcos was a brilliant law student at the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City. One day he took a rifle from the ROTC armory and went home to shoot his father’s political nemesis.
But through the intercession of Supreme Court Chief Justice Jose P. Laurel, he was exonerated and went on to top the Bar exams. He would later become a lawyer, a congressman, a senator and president of the republic.
When his term was about to end, he declared martial law to perpetuate himself in power. He placed the entire country in a state of garrison for 14 long years. He was later toppled in a peaceful People Power revolution and banished to Hawaii. He died in exile but he was not buried. Instead, he was placed inside a cold storage to preserve his body from decomposition.
Marcos padlocked newspapers, shut down radio and TV stations, jailed his political opponents in military stockades and hunted down any body he perceived as “enemy of the state.” Military abuses were everywhere. The cronies of Marcos controlled the economy.
Thousands of young and idealistic students from prestigious universities left their comfort zones, went underground, took to the hills and joined the armed struggle against the oppressive Marcos dictatorship. Marcos became the most effective recruiter of the underground revolutionary movement.
Where I stand on this controversial issue? As a victim myself, I would naturally side with those who oppose it. But I was brought up as a Christian and taught to live and practice a good Christian life. In Don Bosco, we were taught to respect the dead. So, it doesn’t matter to me whether Marcos will be buried in the Libingan or not. It’s no big deal.
But there are those who advocate “lex taliones” or the iron law of retribution. They cannot simply forgive and forget and move on. Libingan ng mga Bayani is an open sprawling ground thus putting Marcos in a vulnerable position of “attack” from elements who will play mischief or worse to desecrate his grave.
So, I wouldn’t be surprised if people with an axe to grind against him will pretend to pay homage, light candles but spit on him until his grave becomes flooded with saliva and mucous. His lonesome grave is open target for human defecation, urination and name it you have it as an act of retribution.
I suggest an appropriate epitaph for Marcos: “Here lies the state of Marcos who rises from the crypt to the grave. The worm shall feed sweetly on him and he shall be remembered no more.”--by Rene F. Antiga of Banilad, Mandaue City