Sunday, September 18, 2016

Tatlong Bayani

In Memoriam Boyet Mijares

You might have seen my fresh face,
I was only a boy.
You’ll discover my velvety dark eyes in Batas Militar, documentary
About martial law in the Philippines
Under Marcos, watch it.
Black-and-white photograph from the sixties,
My father stands beside me,
Self-possessed...imperturbable, he looks it...
In his own way
Content as content can be,
Buddhic as his black plastic spectacles,
Old style, balanced on his nose, also old style.
He did not know...he could not know...
How could he possibly know?
What we both know now,
Now that we are dead,
His body disappeared,
Mine found,
Dead, too,
Mutilated, same way
Kitchen knives slice open vegetables, poultry...
Sledgehammers break apart tendons, bones...
Cabbages snap, fracturing into large pieces for your salad.
You would not want to see
What my father’s dead body looked like.
Souls...after they die...
They are not really dead,
Just not in the body.
Some natural process of disintegration,
Devastating mishap,
Murder, unnatural,
Damages the body
So that it is like the painting of a landscape,
Not the landscape itself,
Breathing plants, animals, living things,
Joined to a universe in perpetual motion—
Soul, spirit, consciousness,
Whatever you call it,
A soul can know, does know.
Only a boy at the time, I could not imagine
The pain, indescribable...yes, I can describe it,
As long as you understand,
Words do not equal the experience.
Have you ever stood in front of a high-pressure water stream gushing,
Your mouth agape,
And you drink and drink and drink
To the point you cannot drink anymore?
And then you drink even more,
You drown by drinking.
Pain fills you the same way, like a bicycle tire before it explodes.
A hot water bag before it bursts.
White light, pain has the capacity to inundate your consciousness.
It becomes who you are
Because you cannot think of anything else.
What happened?
You ask me.
They were grown men.
I had never seen them before.
I was still a youth.
They smashed my hands and my feet,
Household hammer,
No nails.
Next, they pried out my eyes
The way you dig up potatoes.
They used a blade to maim my genitals,
Castration first, severing the rest.
I screamed all the while.
My father, arms held fast,
Was forced to watch.
Stabbed 33 times in my torso,
I drowned in my own blood, gurgling like a sink.
A wash of emotional anguish...terror...disbelief...incomprehension...
I am going to die! In front of my father!
I may have known anger,
But I have never raised my arm against another
To disable or to disfigure,
Or to kill, certainly not!
Why is it my time now?
Swinging a hardwood bat, a soldier
Popped my skull, loud crack inside your head
You hear when you split hard candy.
This time I felt no pain.
Only 16 years old,
I had not lived at all, or hardly,
I barely knew who I was.
Who will remember me when even I hardly knew myself?
Will nothingness be the remembrance of who I am?
Now I am become a harvested fruit, disconnected forever.
Murdered, I was not yet a man.

Boyet Mijares

In Memoriam Liliosa Hilao

I was the first murder victim under Marcos’ martial law regime.
I will not be the last casualty of political repression.
What was my crime?
I exercised my freedom of speech and expression.
They were guaranteed under our constitution.
I exercised my freedom of the press.
Associate editor of Hasik, our university student publication,
I wrote articles like “The Vietnamization of the Philippines,” “Democracy Is Dead in the Philippines Under Martial Law.”
The year I died I was 23 years old, about to graduate with honors from Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.
Soldiers forced their way into my home, looking for my brother.
He was a Communist, they claimed.
Not there, they ate our family’s lunch, like wolves, no fairy tale.
Arriving home with my sister, a high school student, I asked for a search warrant.
They slapped me, forced me into a room, attempted gang rape.
They beat my sister, damaging her hearing and eyesight.
Nighttime, they hauled us both off to a military camp.
They pummeled me like a live chicken before it’s stewed.
Bruised all over, I resembled a ripe blackberry bush.
Injected with “truth serum,” I turned into a tender, swollen orange punctured multiple times.
Indentations, gun barrel points, inscribed my flesh like seals of the Antichrist.
Ringed by a bracelet of cigarette burns, my mouth hung open, a door about to shut.
Old hempen bag, I collapsed in the cell I shared with my sister, middle of the night.
Powerless to prevent further abuse, handcuffed by circumstances, my brother-in-law, an army officer, visited me.
They are my last witnesses.
Next day, I was gang-raped in the men’s bathroom.
To destroy my testimony, they poured muriatic acid down my throat
And then alleged I had committed suicide.
Some compassionate man, they said, attempted to save my life by stabbing my throat so that I could breathe.
Hole in my throat says otherwise.
I was butchered like a pig, by pigs.
They excavated my internal organs to destroy any evidence of rape.
They divided my body, top of skull down to pubis, same purpose.
Again, I ask, what was my crime?
I had spoken on behalf of freedom, using my intellectual gifts from God.
My brain was returned to my family in a pail.
I had drawn courage from my heart, my deepest entrails, so to speak.
My entrails were also returned in a pail.
I had opened my mouth in protest.
My tongue was cut in half.
I was the poster girl for the fate of all those who dared to oppose the regime.
I am the first. I will not be the last.
Never forget.
Never again.
Nie vergessen.
Nie wieder.

Liliosa Hilao

In Memoriam Archimedes Trajano

We are born inquisitive. Even in the womb we ask questions. We are sentient creatures, agog at our sensible experience of life—darkness, light, color, sound, softness, a mother’s bosom, sweetness, her fragrant milk. Time passes, a flock of birds. We learn about rocks and knives—bitterness of boiled vegetables, raw agony of skinned knees, sudden terror when we are abandoned. We discover how to step around dangers, deftly avoid them.

We do not use language all at once. When we do, we ask questions like, Where does the wind come from? Why is the sky blue? How do birds fly? Our teachers ask us, Any questions? We are encouraged to think critically, taking apart the world the same way you disassemble an electric fan.

Questions grow green everywhere. Waiters smile, nodding. Anything else? Broadcast journalists badger their respondents, angling for the sound bite. You said…? Medical doctors probe, detective work. How long has this been going on? Scientists set forth hypotheses. Engineers detail specifications. Creative writers forge plots. Artists conceive works of art. Thinkers of every stripe, philosophers, theologians, children, naïve as newly washed fruit—all ask questions.

Some questions you do not ask, ordinarily. How much do you weigh? Are you pregnant? What sins did you confess to the priest?

Twenty-one years old, I asked one question too soon, too late—too soon to confront the daughter of a tyrant, too late to take it back. Must the National Youth Council be headed by the president’s daughter? Bodyguards forcibly detained me, beat me, tortured me. Tossed me out a second-story window. I no longer ask questions.

Archimedes Trajano


  1. Photos of persons above are posted on this website according to principles of fair use, specifically, they are posted for the purposes of information, education, and contemplation.


    1. I rearranged and reposted my comments below to improve their coherence and facilitate their perusal.


  2. Credits - original publications:

    “Only a Boy,” Eastlit (September 5, 2016)

    “Nie Wieder,” Turk's Head Review (July 30, 2016)

    “Asking Questions,” vox poetica (August 22, 2016)


  3. Contributor’s Note:

    Three poems respond to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s expressed intention to bury Marcos at the Cemetery of Heroes (Libingan ng mga Bayani). Duterte authorized Marcos’ burial on September 18, 2016. See:

    Dancel, Raul. (August 7, 2016). Philippines’ Duterte Says Former Dictator Marcos Can Be Buried at Heroes’ Cemetery. The Straits Times. Retrieved from

    The poems protest Duterte’s action by inciting remembrance of the heinous crimes committed under Marcos’ command responsibility.

    As of this time preparations for Marcos’ burial at the Cemetery of Heroes have been halted by the extension of a status quo ante order of the Philippine Supreme Court, which remains in force until October 18, 2016.

    Some artistic license has been used to recreate the torture and murders. See References listed in Comments sections:

    Boyet Mijares:

    Liliosa Hilao:

    Archimedes Trajano:


  4. Let us honor on this day, September 18, 2016, the Philippine heroes of the martial law period, many who are unsung and many more who are nameless, who won for us the restoration of our political freedoms and the opportunity to reverse the devastating effects on our economy of the massively corrupt Marcos regime. Some of our heroes paid the price of their own blood.

    It is fitting that on the day that the heinous criminal Marcos was to be interred in the Cemetery of Heroes, we celebrate instead the many who rest outside the aforementioned National Shrine, by law to be kept “sacred” and “hallowed.”


  5. Details of the murders of Boyet and Liliosa (“Lilli”) have been selectively depicted to underscore the criminal horror and brutality. Doubtless, Marcos through his exercise of command responsibility created the police state that incited and abetted the murders.

    “Boyet” is the victim's nickname. His first name is “Luis.”




    The facts of Marcos’ violations of human rights and plunder and authoritarian rule are in effect not in dispute because they are well recognized in the explicit judicial record—at least 38 Supreme Court cases, apparently.

    The key to resolving the case on its merits appears to lie principally on finding an explicit relevant legal textual anchor for proscribing Marcos' burial at the Cemetery of Heroes. In this regard, the merits of the case appear to be solidly in favor of the petitioners. In particular, it is well-argued by both the petitioners and their supporters on the Supreme Court bench—Justices Sereno, Leonen, Caguioa, and Carpio—that the following laws in combination bar Marcos' burial at the cemetery:

    - Presidential Decree No. 105, signed January 29, 1973 declaring National Shrines “sacred” and “hallowed” places

    - Republic Act No. 10368, Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013

    - Relevant principles and policies in the 1987 Constitution

    - Entire tenor of the “anti-dictatorship” 1987 Constitution

    - Revised Administrative Code Section 14 about establishing National Shrines

    - International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, UN treaty to which the Philippines is a signatory.

    Relevant UN legal provisions, as follows:

    - Basic Principles and Guidelines on the Right to a Remedy and Reparation for Victims of Gross Violations of International Human Rights Law and Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law, which was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly on December 16, 2005

    - Updated Set of Principles for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights through Action to Combat Impunity, from the UN Commission on Human Rights Economic and Social Council

    1986 EDSA Revolution (not a law)—legal recognition, including that of the community of nations, of the “people power revolution” that deposed the Marcos government

    Applying Republic Act No. 289 to the case is not airtight because although it can be argued that the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) or Cemetery of Heroes is the successor in purpose and function of the National Pantheon described in RA 289, the National Pantheon described therein is not literally LNMB.

    begin Justices’ questions on RA 289 intended to settle whether or not the “national pantheon” referred to in the law is the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

    Justice-in-charge Alfredo Caguioa raised the Solicitor General’s argument that the site in RA 289 is distinct from the national shrine in Fort Bonifacio.

    He asked counsel Albay First District Representative Edcel Lagman to cite specific laws or issuances that link RA 289 to the Libingan. Lagman said that the hero’s shrine is the “factual and logical” realization of the memorial envisioned in the law.

    Meanwhile, Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr said the law enacted on June 16, 1948 seems to be a “dead law” after its provisions failed to be implemented 68 years after it became state policy. There have been no public burial grounds built on East Avenue in Quezon City; a Board on National Pantheon has also not been organized, as provided by law.

    Justice Diosdado Peralta, for his part, said that if RA 289 refers to the Libingan, “shouldn't Congress have stated such?” end





    Presidential Decree No. 105, signed January 29, 1973 declaring National Shrines “sacred” and “hallowed” places:

    Justice Caguioa: This was not mentioned in your petitions or in the consolidated comment of the Solicitor General. But my own reading is that this piece of legislation appears to be relevant to the controversy at hand, would you agree?

    Congressman Lagman: Yes, your honor, it would seem to be most relevant, because it says here that National Shrines are to be considered hallowed places and the desecration of the same in the form of disturbing the peace by etc., etc. would be prohibited. In the particular case now at bar, the burial of the late dictator in hallowed ground would desecrate the Cemetery of Heroes.

    Caguioa: The third Whereas clause expressly states the policy of the State to hold and keep said National Shrines as sacred and hallowed places. What do you understand from that?

    Lagman: Well, I think hallowed and sacred have ordinary meanings, your Honor, and to my mind they are places where we honor the dead or we honor events. In the case of the late president, there is no cause to honor him.




    The position of the state and that of the Marcos family were presented. Solicitor General Jose Calida set forth four basic claims:

    - Marcos burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) is a political question. No grave abuse of discretion was committed by Duterte.

    - Marcos is qualified for interment at LNMB under AFP regulations, specifically 161-375. He was not dishonorably discharged by the 1986 EDSA revolution, one of the disqualifications of AFP regulation 161-375. Duterte is not bound by the 1992 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Imelda Marcos and the Ramos government.

    - R. A. No. 289 is a defunct law and does not apply to the present case. Creation of LNMB originates in General Order No. 104 (October 3, 1902).

    - Marcos burial at LNMB does not violate international treaties and norms because the state has already complied with them by enacting all legislations and judicial remedies required.

    Calida maintained that the petitioners’ positions were based on “four flawed premises,” to wit:

    - LNMB is reserved for heroes.

    - Marcos is a hero.

    - Marcos burial at LNMB makes him a hero.

    - Image of hero defeats spirit of 1987 Constitution.

    Counsel for the Marcoses argued that the basic issue under adjudication is, “Is there grave abuse of discretion in obedience to the law?” She said, no.

    Oral arguments dwelt on issues of varying relevance and importance to the decision at hand.

    Caguioa said that Proclamation No. 86 and P. D. No. 105 set forth legal standards applicable to Marcos’ burial at LNMB. Proclamation No. 86 renamed the Republic Memorial Cemetery to LNMB for the purpose of expressing “esteem” and “reverence” for the Philippines’ “war dead.” P. D. No. 105 declared national shrines as “sacred” and “hallowed” places.

    He said that R. A. No. 10368 also applies to the present case because Marcos’ burial at LNMB will diminish the reparation due by the state to the human rights victims of the Marcos regime.

    Leonen asserted that the state is proposing that only particular aspects of the person, Marcos the president and Marcos the soldier, not the entire person, warrant Marcos’ burial at LNMB, yet it is the whole person, Marcos, he argued, who should be taken into account.

    He also underscored that the maintenance of LNMB is based on law, specifically, the Administrative Code, Chapter 4, Section 14, which grants the president the power to reserve public lands for “public use” and for “specific public purposes.” He asked, what is the statutory basis or basis in the residual powers of the president for the issuance and implementation of AFP regulation 161-375? Is the AFP regulation discriminatory, violating the equal protection clause of the 1987 Constitution?

    Carpio disputed the application of the term “personnel” in the AFP regulation to only military personnel in active service.

    Velasco observed that the 1992 MOU provides that Marcos’ remains can be “transferred.”

    De Castro remarked that Marcos’ Medal of Valor entitles Marcos to burial at LNMB.

    If the Supreme Court declares that Marcos is not a “hero” but that he can be buried at LNMB, Perez reasoned, the interment would not be contrary to R. A. No. 10368 and other relevant laws because despite the burial, the claim that Marcos is a “hero” would be repudiated by the Supreme Court declaration.

    To be continued



    Sereno said that the 1987 Constitution requires that public expenditures serve a public purpose, yet Duterte’s fulfillment of his campaign promise is not a “defined public purpose,” merely a “political purpose.”

    She asked, how can the “national reconciliation” policy of Duterte be advanced if it is not the Marcos family but the taxpayers that will pay for the Marcos burial at LNMB? How can reconciliation be accomplished if the Marcos family shows no acknowledgement of, makes no reparation for, or pays any penalty to the human rights victims of the Marcos regime?

    Heatedly, she contrasted the weight of the entire body of judicial decisions, statutes, and international principles and norms invoked by the petitioners, with that of AFP regulation 161-375 that Calida doggedly invokes as the basis for justifying Duterte’s decision to bury Marcos at LNMB.

    At the end of the session it was by no means conclusive how the members of the bench, especially those who remained silent, would evaluate the well-argued claims, or how they would come to terms with the complex, nuanced points and disputations taken up during the hearing.

    In my opinion, the most controlling argument thus far is that despite Calida’s disavowal, Marcos’ burial at LNMB unmistakably assigns him the title of “hero” and thereby transgresses the manifest proscriptions of the judicial rulings, Philippine statutes—including the 1987 Constitution—and international principles, norms, and obligations cited by the petitioners. If the Supreme Court were to grant Calida's claim, it would become a classic of legal casuistry because it would amount to saying that Marcos is a hero and then in the same breath that he is not.



    (Note: Below is a reprint of an article I wrote on April 8, 2011. On November 8, 2016, the Supreme Court will announce its decision on whether the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos can be buried in the Libingan ng Mga Bayani. The Marcoses have found a great ally in President Rodrigo Duterte for making the burial a reality, a great insult to the Filipino people and humanity. President Rodrigo Duterte openly idolizes Marcos as well as Hitler. All good and decent Filipinos everywhere must wake up to the reality of the darkness that has engulfed the Philippines and pray much to bring back the light.)

    “When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it – always.” –Mahatma Gandhi

    The Marcos family and their supporters (ex-cronies, mercenaries, etc.) are moving heaven and earth to have Marcos interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. With tons of money, influential loyalists, mercenary journalists and other resources at their disposal—they may well succeed. They hope to end the stigma against the Marcoses if they do. They recently got some military officials to install Marcos in the AFP Hall of Heroes.

    ...Libingan ng mga Bayani literally means “Cemetery for Heroes.” Essentially, in theory, it is reserved for those whom the nation honors for their service to the country. In Congress, Marcos crony Congressman Salvador Escudero, leads this campaign. The father of Senator Chiz Escudero has already gotten 204 members of Congress to sign the petition to have Marcos interred as a hero.

    Money talks especially in the Philippine socio-political cultural setting. This distortion of getting a brutal greedy dictator buried as a hero will happen unless the people speak out and shout: “No way.”

    Ferdinand Marcos became a dictator based on a lie. He claimed the Communists tried to assassinate his then Defense Secretary Ponce Enrile, so he declared martial law. Enrile later confessed after Marcos fell, that this assassination story was concocted. The dictator killed, imprisoned and tortured political enemies. He engaged in all kinds of graft and corruption as well as stole directly from the Philippine treasury enabling him to amass billions, impoverishing and starving Filipinos.

    Marcos brought out the worst in the Filipino. Many cooperated with his evil ways. He could not have thrived for so long without the obvious or tacit assistance of many.

    The corrupt practices he institutionalized today continue to plague the Filipino people. Corrupt politicians from the lowest to the highest utilize Marcos’ corruption technology of “steal and hide.” Steal money through government procurements and other sophisticated methods—then hide the booty using cronies as fronts, depositing money overseas, investing in other countries and converting into corporate assets.

    Imitated by succeeding government officials, Marcos’ “massive stealing without going to jail” example has resulted in the country being arguably the most corrupt in Asia.

    The economy is generally kept afloat by the millions in foreign currency sent by hundreds of thousands of heroic, hardworking overseas workers who undergo tremendous sufferings due to family separations, loneliness and culture shock.

    As a result of its widespread reputation for corruption, massive poverty and government inefficiency, the country is referred to by its neighbors interchangeably as “the basket case of Asia” or “the sick man of Asia.”

    Marcos’ dark legacy should cause Filipinos to shudder in shame if despite the innumerable sufferings he had imposed on our people, his fabulously wealthy family and a small group of influential loyalists and mercenaries are able to impose their will on us and have him buried as a hero.

    To be continued


    ...This greedy, philandering, cruel man was nice to his many mistresses but not to the Filipino people to whom he left a legacy of much misery, suffering and bad governance. Now his family and a small group of powerful robber barons want to pull wool over the people’s eyes and make him out to be a hero.

    Mercenary Filipino journalists play a major role in good versus evil conflicts in Philippine society – attacking or defending an issue – depending on “envelopemental concerns.”

    ...Was Marcos the multiple-medaled war hero his propaganda machine claims he was? This claim was debunked by various researchers including the late Col. Bonnie Gillego who scanned military records in Washington, DC and elsewhere. Gillego discovered that Marcos’ claim as the greatest resistance fighter in WW II and his stash of war medals were blatantly false.

    Gillego’s book, “The Fake Medals of Marcos,” not only exposed the deception foisted by the dictator on the Filipino people but also revealed that he was a Japanese collaborator and therefore a traitor. Gillego based his findings on American military records.

    The world would be shocked if Marcos were now declared a hero. It’s like former Nazis using their amassed wealth and influence succeeding in getting Adolf Hitler declared as a hero.

    If PNoy gives in to pressure and allow Marcos a hero’s burial at Libingan, it will be an official act formally declaring that Filipinos are the biggest fools on earth. It will also be an unofficial act declaring that PNoy has no balls and does not really understand true moral leadership. By so doing, he also desecrates the memory of his genuine hero-father who was ordered killed by the Marcoses. Marcos was an absolute dictator and no one would have dared put the hit on Ninoy Aquino without an okay from Malacanang.

    Does this mean Marcos should not be forgiven for his transgressions?

    The Almighty tells us to forgive and we should. But He never told us that aside from forgiving, we should also honor murderers, torturers and thieves as heroes. This would be a terrible example for future generations of Filipinos.

    Atty. Ted Laguatan is a San Francisco based human rights lawyer and recognized Immigration Law expert. email




    When a court stops the government from doing something, it is wagging a finger at the errant official, saying, “That is not who we are.” We are a people who respect human rights and dignity, so the police may neither enter our homes uninvited and without a warrant nor torture or kill suspects. We are an independent people, so the government may not pursue foreign policy that makes us dependent on another country.

    We all agree that we are a democracy. The democratic ethic pervades our Constitution. Because democracy is part of our identity, the government may not undermine the democratic ethic. But this is exactly what it would do if it buries the remains of Ferdinand Marcos—who destroyed democracy to become a dictator—in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

    Marcos declared martial law and used soldiers to arrest, abduct, imprison, torture, or kill more than 70,000 people he considered enemies. He muzzled the press, closing newspaper offices and broadcasting stations, arresting journalists, columnists and publishers, and censoring criticism. He also employed flimsy legalisms—a dubious new constitution, amendments to it, dissolution of the legislature and refusal to convene its mandated successor, etc.—designed to make him dictator for life.

    But Marcos’ control of the bullet could not contain the people’s clamor for the ballot. He was forced to call a snap presidential election. When he saw that Cory Aquino would win, he resorted to electoral fraud—stuffed ballot boxes, phony registration, flying voters, vote buying, manipulated election returns. Most knew that

    Marcos had cheated, and Cory declared herself the true winner. Marcos refused to budge—until a group of reformist soldiers mutinied.

    Marcos ordered his military to crush the mutiny, but People Power prevailed. Over a million Filipinos massed on Edsa to protect the mutineers. Tanks stopped when met by priests and nuns. Soldiers refused orders to shoot the women and children handing them flowers. After four days of peaceful protest, most of the armed forces and the whole Manila police defected. On Feb. 25, 1986, Marcos fled Malacañang and Cory took the presidential oath. People Power had deposed the dictator.

    It also birthed our Constitution. The product of the anti-Marcos struggle, the 1987 Constitution is an anti-Marcos Constitution. Its sections limiting the president’s martial law powers, bolstering judicial independence, disqualifying the president’s spouse and relatives from holding high government offices, etc. are all designed to prevent the abuses that Marcos committed to kill Philippine democracy.

    At the plebiscite for our Constitution, 90 percent of those eligible voted and 76 percent ratified it. Support for the Constitution was thus broader than the 82-percent turnout and 39-percent vote Rodrigo Duterte obtained in the presidential election. Support for the anti-Marcos principle was also deeper. Mr. Duterte’s campaign spanned mere months, and his platform was antidrugs, not pro-Marcos. The anti-Marcos struggle spanned at least a decade. And people not merely voted; they risked their lives fighting Marcos’ violent repression.

    To be continued

  13. PROPHECY? (continued)

    Such broad and deep support behind the anti-Marcos struggle is both rare and decisive. The constitutional principles that result from it distill the marching orders of a people to their government. Through these principles, the people say: “This is who we are.” The Supreme Court, in upholding the anti-Marcos principle, will preserve the clear and authoritative instructions of the Filipino people.

    It is obvious that we cannot have a hero’s burial for Marcos under a Constitution mothered by an anti-Marcos struggle. Nor can our Supreme Court allow it in a democracy established by an anti-Marcos Constitution.

    Bryan Dennis Gabito Tiojanco is a doctoral student at Yale Law School and a Yale Fox International Fellow at the National University of Singapore. He graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines College of Law in 2009.


    The author speaks of a different generation, the generation that ousted Marcos. It is not the current generation that voted for a presidential candidate who believes that Marcos is the “greatest president of the Philippines” and who promised to bury him at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. It is a generation that nearly elected Bongbong vice-president despite the fact that the son of the late dictator haughtily fails to acknowledge and shows no remorse for the heinous crimes of his father. It is a generation that nearly returned to the seat of power a member of the family that directly benefits from the plunder of the father and that will most likely resume the late dictator’s massively corrupt ways. This generation continues to support a president who trashes human rights, particularly the right to due process, and the rule of law, principles which lie at the foundation of Philippine democracy.

    Does the author speak prophetically or merely engage in wishful thinking? Maybe the title of this article should be renamed, “Honoring a Dictator Is Not Who We Should Be.”



    The Supreme Court twice held Marcos guilty of ill-gotten wealth involving the total amount of US$664 million.

    IN NO LESS THAN 20 CASES, THE SUPREME COURT RULED that Marcos was a dictator and caused massive economic hardships to the country. Ruling for the burial of Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani is tantamount to calling Marcos a hero who they held, not once but 20 times, as dictator and thief. HOW CAN THE SC TURN ITS BACK ON ITS OWN DECISIONS?

    This November 8 is a real test for our Supreme Court. Will they turn their back to the truth? Will they let the ugly technicality of the law overwhelm morality and history?

    [01] Marcos vs Manglapus, GR#88211, 9/15/1989
    [02] Heirs of Gregorio Licaros vs Sandiganbayan, GR#157438, 10/18/2004
    [03] Associated Bank vs Spouses Montano, Sr., GR#166383, 10/16/2009
    [04] Juan Dizon and Soledad Ramos vs Brig. Gen. Eduardo, GR#L-59118, 3/3/1988
    [05] Republic vs PCGG, GR#148154, 12/17/2007
    [07] Philippine Free Press, Inc. vs Court of Appeals, GR#132864, 10/24/2005
    [08] Philippine National Construction Corporation vs Ernesto Pabion, GR#131715, 12/8/1999
    [09] Republic vs PCGG, G.R No. 152578, 11/23/2005
    [10] First Philippine Holdings Corporation vs Trans Middle East (Phils.), GR#179505, 12/4/2009
    [11] Development Bank of the Philippines vs Judge Amir Pundogar, GR#96921, 1/29/1993
    [12] Taruc vs Hon. Vicente G. Ericta, GR#L-34836, 11/29/1989
    [13] Ramon A. Gonzales vs PAGCOR, GR#144891, 5/27/2004
    [14] Republic vs Sandiganbauyan, GR#104768, 7/21/2013
    [15] Lacson vs Secretary Perez, GR#147780, 5/10/2001
    [16] Sanlakas vs Executive Secretary Reyes, GR#159085, 2/3/2004
    [17] Fortun vs Gloria-Macapagal-Arroyo, GR#190293, 3/20/2012
    [18] In the Matter of the Petition for Habeas Corpus of Roberto vs Ramos, GR#81567, 7/9/1990
    [19] Frivaldo vs COMELEC, GR#120295, 6/28/1996




    One of my friends who used to work at the Supreme Court suggested that I send this letter to all the justices (I delivered 15 letters, one for each justice) and said that the letter would be made part of the case record.

    September XX, 2016

    The Honorable
    Justice XXXXX XXXXX
    Supreme Court Building
    Padre Faura St., Ermita, 1000 Manila

    Subject: Marcos Burial Case

    Dear Justice XXXXX,

    Please consider the following note concerning the Marcos burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).

    I have been following the progress of the action since the middle of the 2016 elections. Moreover, I have spent many hours browsing the documentation of the petitioners and respondents and listening to the entire audio recordings of the oral arguments thus far concerning this case before the Philippine Supreme Court. Based on the foregoing, I would like to respectfully opine that there is more than sufficient basis in the literal text of the relevant laws to proscribe the Marcos burial at LNMB.

    Please allow me to say that there are, more significantly perhaps, practical and moral reasons, besides relevant laws, to decide against the Marcos burial at LNMB. We do not want the Philippine people to forget the human rights violations and plunder, and the political, social, and economic devastation committed or wrought by the Marcos regime. We also do not want the Philippine nation to entertain the prospect of recapitulating these destructive past events, causing harm to our nation. We believe that untruthful historical revisionism and authoritarian regression are highly damaging outcomes that will be endorsed by the State if it allows the Marcos burial at LNMB.

    In consideration of the abovementioned reasons, please allow me to make a personal petition that with due regard for your conscience, you vote against the Marcos burial at LNMB.

    Attached is a copy of a signed petition of members of my family and household opposing the Marcos burial at LNMB. The original petition was submitted to May Rodriguez, Executive Director of Bantayog ng mga Bayani.

    Those who lead the many to justice shall be like the stars forever.—Daniel 12:3

    I am hoping for your kind consideration. Thank you.



    Encl: 1

    With bated breath we wait for the Supreme Court decision.



    Prefatory of the Memorandum, filed in the Supreme Court [on September 27, 2016], in support of the petition in G.R. No. 225973 against the burial of Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Reproduced with the permission of the petitioners and their esteemed counsel.


    “The first step in liquidating a people is to erase its memory. Destroy its books, its culture, its history. Then have somebody write new books, manufacture a new culture, invent a new history. Before long the nation will begin to forget what it is and what it was. The world around it will forget even faster…The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” – Milan Kundera

    When Ferdinand Edralin Marcos was deposed, the power he took from the people returned to them. When we forged the 1987 Constitution in the crucible of the 1986 People Power Revolution, it would mark the beginning of our reclamation of what had been wrested from us during decades of atrocities and deceit. Never again would greed devour liberty, nor impunity destroy humanity. Never again would a plunderer and human rights violator conceal beneath a brittle lie of a so-called new society, a rotting morass of martyrs and patriots and a pillaged national coffer. Never again would a dictator and tyrant force us to kneel before him and call him a hero.

    Yet, a mere 30 years after the People Power Revolution, we have come to this absurd turning point in our history. An absurdity highlighted by the fact that there is actually no dispute that Marcos was no hero. The President himself publicly admits it, the Solicitor General concedes it. As admitted by both the Solicitor General and counsel for the Marcos Heirs, this Honorable Court characterized Marcos as a dictator in twenty (20) Decisions and as an authoritarian in eighteen (18). This Honorable Court also found Marcos guilty of amassing ill-gotten wealth in two cases where it directed the forfeiture in favor of the Republic Marcos Swiss deposits in the staggering amount of US$661,545,348.60.

    This Honorable Court has described the Marcos’ administration as a “well entrenched plundering regime of twenty years” “at whose door the travails of the country are laid and from whom billions of dollars believed to be ill-gotten wealth are sought to be recovered.” This Court recognized “the hardships brought about by the plunder of the economy attributed to the Marcoses and their close associates and relatives” and declared that it “cannot ignore the continually increasing burden imposed on the economy by the excessive foreign borrowing during the Marcos regime, which stifles and stagnates development and is one of the root causes of widespread poverty and all its attendant ills.”

    While there is no dispute that Marcos is not a hero, the President nevertheless ordered the burial of his mortal remains in the Libingan ng mga Bayani—the cemetery for heroes—so that he, as admitted by the Solicitor General, may honor his campaign promise to the Marcoses. This the President has done without even changing the name of the national shrine.

    The Libingan ng mga Bayani is no ordinary cemetery. By its very name and pursuant to the acts and laws that establish it, the Libingan is a national shrine established to honor those whom the nation holds in esteem and reverence. Interment in its “sacred and hallowed” premises bestows a singular honor because it is, undeniably, recognition of the deceased’s positive and exceptional contribution to the country. Because it was originally intended as a memorial to the nation’s war dead—those “gallant men who brought honor to the country and died for the sake of freedom and independence”—burial therein has potent symbolic power that burnishes with the patina of heroism the reputations and legacies of the dead who would rest there.

    To be continued

  17. REMEMBERING IS A MORAL ACT (continued page 2)

    Thus, contrary to what the respondents would have this Court believe, the burial of Marcos at the Libingan is not a bland and neutral act bereft of any symbolic, historical or legal significance. It is not a mere returning to the soil. On the contrary, it is an insidious attempt to revise the historical foundation of our Constitution and discredit the fundamental policies lying at its core—that Marcos was a dictator guilty of horrendous abuses, whose like must never again be allowed to hold power over Filipinos.

    Burying Marcos in the heroes’ cemetery critically weakens the recognition of his crimes that is institutionalized in our Constitution, laws, and jurisprudence. It diminishes and obfuscates the historical premises on which were purposely anchored significant aspects of our constitutional order. It ignores the laws that recognize his crimes and provide for mechanisms to mitigate the suffering they have caused. It holds in contempt a massive body of jurisprudential law that, over three decades, has powerfully articulated the profound villainy of Marcos and his regime.

    There is no mystery as to the intent of the respondent heirs of Marcos behind their present insistence upon their patriarch’s burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The burial would be reminiscent of the relentless mythmaking of the martial law years to conceal the true nature of a predatory regime founded upon the suffering and ruined lives of millions of Filipinos. It would provide physical proof that Marcos was after all, a hero, and provide also the premise for a revisionist historical narrative totally emulative of him and the long, difficult years of his rule. No wonder then that the Marcos family had so casually disregarded the wish of Ferdinand himself to be buried beside his mother in Ilocos. The Marcoses understand that symbolic power of the Libingan and its strategic value to the national forgetting they so ardently desire.

    Petitioners’ argument against the Marcos burial is simple: The President’s discretion in the matter of the Marcos burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani is not absolute. It is limited and bound by the act of the sovereign people during the 1986 People Power Revolution, by the 1987 Constitution produced by that Revolution, by several laws such as Presidential Decree No. 105, Republic Act No. 10368 (also known as the “Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act 2013”) and the international human rights laws codified therein, by Republic Act No. 10086 that mandated that the National Historical Commission of the Philippines as “the primary government agency responsible for history and has the authority to determine all factual matters relating to official Philippine history”, by Section 14, Book III of the Revised Administrative Code, and also by the consistent rulings of this Honorable Court memorializing the sins of Marcos and his regime against the Filipino People. Since Presidential power is not untrammeled but subject to the said conditions and limitations, the Honorable Court can exercise its expanded judicial power to fulfill its constitutional role to check grave abuse of discretion and protect the Constitution.

    It should be noted that the State accepted the fact of limited Presidential discretion when the Solicitor General himself identified Section 14, Book III of the Administrative Code of 1987 as legal basis for the President’s directive to bury Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Section 14 clearly requires that the presidential reservation of public land must be for a specific public purpose. The Solicitor General further cited Manosca vs. CA, and City of Manila vs. Chinese Community of Manila, to argue that the recognition of “a person’s contribution to Philippine history or culture” constitutes legitimate public purpose that would justify the setting aside of public land under Sec. 14.

    To be continued

  18. REMEMBERING IS A MORAL ACT (continued page 3)

    By this standard alone, however, it is crystal clear that the burial of Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani does NOT serve any legitimate public purpose. Most certainly, Marcos had no contribution to Philippine history and culture that is worthy of recognition. On the contrary, the tyranny of Marcos, his rapacity, and the violence he systematically unleashed against the people, are matters of fact, established and long-settled and embodied in our Constitution, laws, and jurisprudence.

    Remarkably, it is the Solicitor General’s own admissions found in paragraphs 203-205 of his Consolidated Comment that provides final and compelling proof that the late dictator had absolutely no contribution to Philippine history and culture worthy of recognition:

    “203. Besides, the chapter of Philippine history on Martial Law is not written in ordinary ink. Rather, its every word is written in the blood and tears of recognized and unsung heroes; its every page is a Shroud that has their bloodied but valiant faces on it; and each turn of these pages echoes their cries for freedom.

    “204. The world has read and heard all of these. In this Information Age, the country's history under the hands of former President Marcos is available at one's fingertips.

    “205. The point here is simple: the interment of former President Marcos at the Libingan is not tantamount to a consecration of his mortal remains or his image for that matter. No amount of heartfelt eulogy, gun salutes, holy anointment, and elaborate procession and rituals can transmogrify the dark pages of history during Martial Law. As it is written now, Philippine history is on the side of Petitioners and everybody who fought and died for democracy.”

    Because this history is enshrined in the Constitution, our laws, and jurisprudence, it is not only subject to judicial notice under the Rules of Court, it binds the State itself, the great powers within it, and each and every government office, agency, and instrumentality.

    By actively expediting the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, without changing the name of the national shrine that was adopted through Presidential Proclamation, however, the Public Respondents appear intent on ignoring this history and the laws of the land that enshrine it, waiving the conditions imposed upon the Marcos family for the return of his remains, and violating the very Constitution that should rule us all. Verily, by every relevant measure, Public Respondents are guilty of grave abuse of discretion.

    Should the Honorable Court, the very institution bestowed by our Constitution with expanded judicial power to enable it to be ‘guardian of the Constitution, protector of the people’s rights and freedoms, arid repository of the nation’s guarantees against tyranny, despotism and dictatorship,’ allow itself to be a party to this dismembering and distortion of the history that is embodied in our Constitution, laws, and jurisprudence?

    The Petitioners come before the Supreme Court and plead, with utmost respect but also with utmost earnestness: Discharge your duty as protector of the Constitution. Do not let this pass.




    How many living today know about the 1906 US massacre of Muslim rebels at Bud Dajo from a contemporary of the victims? But PRRD [President Rodrigo Roa Duterte], who has shown a commendable sense of history, has neither forgotten nor forgiven the Americans for this century-old atrocity. Dredging out of the blue an incident that had not surfaced as a public policy issue, PRRD denounced the Americans for never having expressed remorse over the historical injustice committed at Bud Dajo.

    Martial law is not just a historical issue. Its living victims feel as a present reality the injustice they suffered that has not been redressed. But PRRD, who feels the historical injustice of Bud Dajo so keenly, now wants these martial law survivors to forget the injustice they continue to suffer, for which the Marcoses have never offered restitution as authentic remorse. The victims include the country whose plundered wealth the government continues to seek and from which the Marcoses continue to benefit.




    Mr. Duterte has close ties with the Marcos family, possibly including financial dealings that have raised questions of motives beyond national healing.

    Mr. Duterte has acknowledged receiving a campaign contribution from Imee Marcos. He has not said how much the contribution was, nor reported it publicly. She has denied giving him money, saying Mr. Duterte “likes to make jokes.”

    Another murky transaction has also raised eyebrows. In August, Mr. Duterte attacked a billionaire casino magnate, Roberto Ongpin, as an oligarch and publicly promised to destroy him. Mr. Ongpin quietly resigned from his own company and ended up selling his shares to Gregorio Araneta III, the husband of another Marcos daughter, Irene.

    Mr. Ongpin has not publicly commented on the sale, but critics see the deal as a favor by Mr. Duterte to the Marcos family.

    The Coalition Against the Marcos Burial at the Cemetery of Heroes, one of seven groups that sought to block the burial, said the former dictator’s family had “bought and paid” for the privilege of his transfer to the Philippine equivalent of Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

    “It’s all about a private transaction. It’s all about the money,” said Hilda Narciso, 70, a coalition member. “Heroism is not bought. It is earned.”

    Ms. Narciso, then an unemployed teacher, was arrested in 1983 and was raped and tortured for six months inside a military camp in Davao City. She was kept in a small, dark room, she said, and fed a soup of worms and rotten fish.

    The person who did this to her is no hero, she said. “We will not allow this travesty to pass unchallenged,” she said.

    Mr. Duterte has not further explained the campaign contribution. And the Marcos family and the government have not spoken publicly about the sale of the casino business.

    There is potentially far greater money at stake, however. Of the estimated $10 billion the government says the Marcos family stole, the presidential commission charged with recovering it has recouped only $650 million.

    Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has filed a protest at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal contesting his narrow loss, alleging vote-rigging. If he succeeds and becomes vice president, he could work to eliminate the commission, potentially leaving his family with more than $9 billion in ill-gotten gains.

    Mr. Duterte has backed Senator Marcos’s election appeal.

    In a state visit to China last month, Imee Marcos and her brother were part of Mr. Duterte’s entourage, and the president introduced Mr. Marcos as his potential vice president.


    Indeed, to say that Duterte lacks moral compass would be an understatement.



    I would totally understand if those who are okay with burying the dictator as a hero would just be honest and say “because I am a Marcos loyalist and there is nothing you would say that would reduce his worth in my estimation.” After all, people do buy on emotions.

    But to raise and promote fallacies? That is unacceptable because these betray an utter lack of respect not just for history, or for others, but even for one’s own self.

    ...There’s this other fallacy about how allowing the burial will provide “closure” to a divisive issue. The concept of “closure” may have become so overused that its basic condition seems to have been forgotten--closure requires gifting both parties a sense of satisfaction, it's about seeking what will give both parties mutual peace of mind. Clearly, there’s an ocean of difference between “closure” and simply ending an issue through an edict. Burying Marcos at the LNMB will not appease the victims and their families nor will it quiet the moral outrage in people’s hearts.

    ...And then there’s that fallacy about how it is now high time to forgive and move on--an assertion that collapses when we consider that the Marcoses HAVE NEVER ASKED FOR FORGIVENESS NOR OFFERED TO ATONE for the many wrongs they have done.

    Forgiveness is an act of kindness given to someone with humility to accept one’s frailties. The Marcoses have continued to behave as if they are royalty and we are their subjects--they have continued to act as if they have entitlement in Philippine society or to the accoutrements of power.


    Not only is logical fallacy involved in Duterte’s decision to bury Marcos at the Heroes’ Cemetery but also moral degeneracy.



    Thirty years ago, we, the people, said enough of violence; enough of dictatorship; enough, Ferdinand Marcos. Today we say Marcos is not a hero and should not be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

    We appeal to the President, our Supreme Court justices and our fellow Filipinos to listen to the cries of those who have petitioned against the burial. Many stories of horror, pain, struggle, violence and death under martial law have been shared in forums, street demonstrations, mass and social media, and the Supreme Court. We ask you to respond with compassion to these voices. To the Supreme Court justices, we pray that in making your decision you will consider not mere legality, but justice and truth.

    We reaffirm the statement we released to friends and colleagues among our various Jesuit communities and institutions in August 2016:

    “Burying the dictator in the Libingan ng mga Bayani buries human dignity by legitimizing the massive violations of human and civil rights, especially of the right to life, that took place under his regime.

    “Burying the dictator in the Libingan ng mga Bayani buries truth by perpetuating the myth of Marcos’ achievements as a leader, distorting the valuable lessons of history that we pass on to our young, and confusing them about what constitutes heroism.

    “Burying the dictator in the Libingan ng mga Bayani buries justice by justifying the shameless corruption of the dictator, his family, and the oligarchy of cronies he created.

    It violates the moral values we cherish as a nation by rewarding wrong and making it seem right.

    “Burying the dictator in the Libingan ng mga Bayani buries solidarity by denying the pain and anguish of the many victims of human rights violations and their families, the misery of the poor who suffered most under Marcos’ development policies and the sacrifices of those who fought to restore the country’s fallen democratic institutions.

    “Burying the dictator in the Libingan ng mga Bayani buries peace by erasing the memory of the violence that his regime inflicted on our nation.

    “Burying the dictator in the Libingan ng mga Bayani buries genuine empowerment by legitimizing the concentration of power in a single leader and the suppression of democratic rights and participation under his regime, and by negating the triumph of the empowered popular movement that unseated him.

    “Burying the dictator in the Libingan ng mga Bayani will not heal our wounded country.

    “We ask you, our sisters and brothers, to consider our position on this issue. And if this position resonates with you, we enjoin you to unite with us in calling upon President Duterte to reconsider his decision and find a resolution to this issue that will bring about genuine reconciliation with justice for all.

    “At another tumultuous time, our bishops called upon us with these words: ‘In a creative, imaginative way, under the guidance of Christ’s spirit, let us pray together, reason together, decide together, act together, always to the end that truth prevail…’ In the same spirit we call upon you to explore with us a communal basis of action on this and other compelling issues, as Jesuit communities rooted in our common commitment to a faith in Christ that does justice.”

    FR. PATRICK Z. FALGUERA, SJ, Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan; DR. LIZA L. LIM, Institute of Social Order; GEMMA RITA R. MARIN, John J. Carroll Institute on Church and Social Issues; and 830 individual signatories




    Today is perhaps one of the darkest days in history.

    Today, the highest court in the land has ruled that a dictator and tyrant, responsible for countless deaths, tortures, disappearances and the fall of our economy, may be buried in sacred ground, a site reserved for heroes, with the honors and accolades reserved only for heroes.

    From the very beginning, we have said that Marcos was not a hero for the following reasons:

    1. Marcos was no hero. He lied about having a distinguished war record. His claims of having led a guerilla group called “Ang Maharlika” were debunked by no less than the US military. His medals were fake and fabricated.

    2. Marcos was a dictator who ordered the torture, detention, and death of thousands who dared question his rule. As President, Marcos maintained power through state-sponsored terrorism and the gross violation of human rights.

    3. Marcos was a plunderer. He treated the national coffers as if it was his personal piggy bank. He established monopolies that became a burden to coconut and sugar farmers while he and his cronies appropriated the benefits.

    With this decision, the courts have trampled on the graves of the true heroes of this country. They have trampled on the memory of those who have died defending our freedom, our rights, and our very identity as Filipinos.

    They have subjected those who suffered and died under Marcos’s orders to a new death once again, robbing them of the sole consolation they have had: that their deaths were not in vain, that they died to protect a nation, that they died heroes.

    With this decision, the very definition of hero is now in question.

    We are disappointed. We are heartbroken. We are outraged.

    But we remain resolute and steadfast. We will not allow this to sway us from our goals of ensuring that the Philippines will never again go through another period like the days of the Marcos rule.

    We will redouble our efforts to ensure that this first step to revising history does not go forward.

    They say that history is written by the victors, but we have not lost yet.

    Not while we are here. Not while there is someone who knows the truth, someone who remembers, and willing to light the way.
    We will pursue our charge to ensure that the bloody and dark past is remembered, making it known to generations long after we have gone.

    Only then can we ensure that it will never be repeated. Only then, perhaps, can we move forward, growing into the nation that our real heroes dreamed.

    Never forget. Never again.

    This is our cry. And this is our promise.

    Thank you.

    To be continued




    Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation
    Claimants 1081
    Task Force Detainees of the Philippines
    Akbayan Party
    Akbayan Youth
    Ateneo Sanggunian Student Council
    BawatBato Initiative
    Center for Youth Advocacy and Networking
    Change Politics Movement (CPM)
    Families Against Involuntary Disappearances (FIND)
    Filipinos Against Historical Revisionism
    Foundation for Media Alternatives
    Freedom from Debt Coalition
    I Defend Human Rights and Dignity (iDEFEND)
    Kapulungan ng mga Sandigan ng Pilipinas (KASAPI)
    Ladies Who Launch
    Lingap Bilanggo
    Martial Law Chronicles
    Medical Action Group
    Nameless Heroes and Martyrs
    Nationalist Youth and Progressive Democrat Party of San Beda
    Never Again Never Forget PH
    Never Again to Marcos Family and Cronies
    Pandayan para sa Socialistang Pilipinas (PANDAYAN)
    Para Sa Mga Bata Citizens Network (PSMB)
    Party Akbayan Youth
    People's Alternative Study Center for Research and Education in Social Development (PASCRES)
    Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)
    Philippine Stagers Foundation
    Project Akbayan
    Rights Network
    Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK)
    Samahan sa Tuwid na Daan Laban sa Katiwalaan, Inc. (STDLK)
    San Beda Debate Society
    Student Council Alliance of the Philippines
    The Silent Majority (TSM)
    UP Alyansa
    UP Repertory Alumni
    UP SAMASA Alumni




    VP Leni Robredo on the SC Decision on the Burial of former President Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani

    8 November 2016

    We are deeply saddened by the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

    We have consistently opposed the burial of the Martial Law dictator in the heroes’ sacred ground. Their family’s refusal to take responsibility for atrocities of the regime is an insult to the Filipino people.

    It might pass the bar of legal technicality, but can never be consistent with morality and the spirit of the Filipino people power revolution.

    Our nation’s healing begins with the acknowledgement of the truth and resolution of the past.

    To bury Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani would keep the wounds of the past unhealed.




    Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership

    November 9 at 9:56am

    Statement of Kaya Natin! Movement for Good Governance and Ethical Leadership on the SC Decision on the Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB):

    We strongly condemn the decision of the Supreme Court to allow the burial of the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

    A tyrant who was responsible for the disappearance, torture, and death of thousands of Filipinos during the martial law era and the plundering of billions of pesos in public funds does not deserve a place among genuine heroes of our country.

    This decision by the Supreme Court has made a mockery of our country in the international community. Worse, what is being prostituted in this decision is the dignity and honor of our people, that which our parents and grandparents fought and died for during martial law.

    We seek to uphold the values of truth, justice, and accountability in our nation, but by giving a murderer and plunderer a hero’s burial, we have lost the moral authority to teach our children and the future generations of Filipino leaders these values that make our country strong and proud.

    The decision is a grave injustice to the families of the thousands of victims of the atrocities committed during the dark period of martial law. There can never be real healing in our country without the admission of wrongdoing by the Marcos family and the unconditional return of their ill-gotten wealth. This verdict will only lead to the reopening of wounds and will lead to greater division in our country.

    We call on every Filipino who believes in the ideals of truth, justice, and accountability to express their indignation at this decision.

    We also appeal to the nine (9) Supreme Court justices to discern once more and reconsider their decision and the repercussions this will have on our country’s future.

    We continue to pray and hope that our nation will stand strong and heal from this dark period in our history. As our founder, the late Jesse Robredo, once said—ultimately, good will always prevail over evil.




    Statement of Sen. Francis Pangilinan on Supreme Court Decision

    This is a horrible day for democracy.

    Thanks to the Supreme Court the Philippines will be a laughing stock of the world. We kicked out a reviled dictator and now we are honoring him by burying him in our national heroes cemetery. No less than our Supreme Court wants our citizens, our children to honor a plunderer and tyrant. This is shameful and deplorable.

    Now the Supreme Court wants Mr. Marcos, who it previously called a “dictator...who caused twenty years of political, economic and social havoc in the country”, buried alongside our heroes.

    Rather than effect closure as the final arbiter of all disputes, the Supreme Court has reopened old wounds. If the Supreme Court thinks it has the final say on the matter, then they are terribly mistaken. Burying Marcos in the Libingan has created a huge divide that will haunt the nation for days and years to come.

    The law creating the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Republic Act 289, reserved its sacred grounds for heroes to be emulated by “this generation and of generations still unborn”.

    Marcos is not a hero. His burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani desecrates our democracy and the memory of those who fought for freedom and justice in our country.




    Tuesday, November 8, 2016

    Statement of Senator Risa Hontiveros on the Supreme Court decision allowing Marcos’ burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani

    The Supreme Court has miserably failed the test of history and broken our hearts. By allowing the remains of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the high tribunal has failed to protect the truth from the Marcoses’ fictional universe.

    The decision intends to effectively wipe the Marcos slate clean and negate the sacrifices of the thousands of brave souls who fought and suffered under the brutal Marcos dictatorship.

    It also aims to contravene the core policy and historical basis of our 1987 constitution, which was drafted to reject martial law. This decision undermined existing laws such as the Human Rights Victims and Reparation Act of 2013 aimed to provide full and effective reparation to the victims of Martial Law and recognition of the abuses that took place.

    However, I believe that the SC decision is not executory. The decision to give the late dictator a hero’s burial is still in the hands of President Rodrigo Duterte.

    I call on the President to respond to the challenge of history and reject with finality all plans to give Marcos a hero's burial. I ask him to rise above his indebtedness and loyalty to the Marcos family. If at all that he received money from the Marcoses for his Presidential bid, President Duterte has no right to return such favors with the history and the dignity of the Filipino people.

    President Duterte is at a critical juncture in history. He could either stand up for truth and justice or submit himself as an instrument to the dictator family’s desperate attempt to rewrite history and clear their name. I urge the President to choose well.

    I also call on my colleagues in the Senate to sign Senate Resolution No. 86, which I filed, expressing the sense that Marcos should not be allowed to be given a hero’s burial. At a time when truth and history are threatened, the Senate must make a brave stand.

    Lastly, I call on the people -- especially our millennials -- to fight to make sure their own history is not rewritten for them. Let us not forget George Santayana’s warning: “those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

    “No tombstone, no grandiose cemetery can change the fact that Marcos was not a hero. He was a plunderer, torturer and a thief with a family seeking to rewrite history to serve their interests. It is our duty to stand against this travesty and say--never again. Only then can we look back to the past with pride, and to the future with hope. Let us not fail the test of history”.




    We do not forget!

    We are saddened by the decision of the Supreme Court to allow the burial of former President Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. We see this as another step to build the culture of impunity in the country. Marcos is no hero! He should not be presented as one. During Martial Law he had made many people suffer by arbitrary torture and death. He has deprived many poor people of their basic needs while his family and cronies were enriched. We do not forget this! We will not allow that this be forgotten by the future generations in order that the same strong-hand oppression may not happen again.

    Those who do wrong should be made accountable. First they should admit the wrong they have done. Up to now this is not being recognized by the Marcos family and his cronies. Then the victims of human rights abuses have not been properly compensated for. This is a matter of justice.

    Burying Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani will not bring peace and unity to the country. Peace can only come if there is justice. Justice demands recognition of the harm done to the people and restitution to the victims. We as Church work for peace and unity that is based on truth and justice for all, especially for the poor and the victims.

    We are very sad. The burial is an insult to the EDSA spirit. It mocks our fight to restore democracy. We are puzzled and hurt and in great grief. It calls on us for greater courage to make the full truth of the dictatorship known.

    Yes, we do not forget and we will not forget!

    From the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, November 9, 2016




    9 November 2016

    Memo to: The University Community
    Subject: Marcos burial issue

    On 8 November 2016, the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines decided to allow the burial of Dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the historic and symbolic Libingan ng mga Bayani. With no hesitation, the Ateneo de Manila University expresses its indignation over this decision, calling this an act of convenient equivocation and injustice on the part of the Supreme Court.

    In its decision, the Supreme Court argued by saying: “While he was not all good, he was not pure evil either. Certainly, just a human who erred like us.” Such an argument amounts to a monumental denial of the suffering and murder of thousands of our people and the billions of public funds stolen during those tragic years of Martial Law. Ferdinand Marcos did not just err like us. Decisions that were made during his regime were marked by atrocity and impunity. People were imprisoned, tortured, and killed just for harboring different beliefs and convictions. Those years were deliberately disruptive of democracy and freedom. Martial Law wasn’t just a stumble in the dark. It was a careful orchestration of violence and power conducted in the name of order and an artificial peace.

    The Supreme Court hides behind the letter of the law, taking the myopic view that the issue is one of mere legality and politics. The Court has chosen to pass this issue back on to the executive. In so doing, it misses the opportunity and its own power to affirm the enshrined principles embedded in our Constitution, which they have affirmed as rising from the ashes of the Marcos administration.

    I call upon our community to continue to protest and express our indignation, to discern what true closure might mean concretely in this case, to create openings for our voice to be heard authentically, to protect the democratic space and engage in meaningful dialogue with our fellow Filipinos. It is easy to think of the other as enemy but we will not yield to the sinister forces that want to divide us now as a people. The only way to get to the true path of peace, justice and reconciliation is to engage in the process of listening to each other.

    Even as we embark on these, I would like to remind everyone that not all wars are won on one battlefield. We will fight for the truth in our classrooms, in the work that we do in the communities we serve, in the many places in government, business, and civil society, wherever we find our alumni engaged in building our nation and our people, so that we will never forget what cannot and should not be forgotten.

    In all these, we draw strength from the power of the cross of Christ, who calls us to stand in solidarity with those who incarnate his truth and love and justice.


    Jose Ramon T Villarin SJ

    To be continued


    Filipino translation:


    Nitong ika-8 ng Nobyembre 2016, ipinasya ng Korte Suprema ng Republika ng Pilipinas na pahintulutan ang paglilibing ni Diktador Ferdinand Marcos sa makasaysayan at simbolikong Libingan ng mga Bayani. Ipinahahayag ngayon ng Pamantasang Ateneo De Manila, nang walang anumang pag-aatubili, ang matindi nitong galit sa pagpapasyang ito, at itinuturing itong kaududa-dudang pagkilos at pagwawaksi ng katarungan ng Korte Suprema.

    Sa desisyon nito, ikinatwiran ng Korte Suprema na: “Samantalang hindi siya lubos na mabuti, hindi rin siya lubos na masama. Sa katunayan, siya’y taong nagkamali tulad nating lahat.” Ang ganoong pangangatwiran ay nangangahulugan lamang ng matinding pagtatatwa sa pagdurusa ng, at pagpatay sa, libu-libo nating kababayan, at ang bilyun-bilyong piso ng kabang-bayan na ninakaw noong malagim na panahon ng Batas Militar. Hindi basta nagkamali si Ferdinand Marcos tulad natin. Ang mga desisyong ginawa noong rehimen niya ay puno ng kabuktutan at pagwawaksi ng katarungan. Ikinulong, pinahirapan, at pinatay ang mga tao dahil lamang iba ang kanilang paniniwala at paninindigan. Sadyang winasak ang demokrasya at kalayaan sa mga taong iyon. Hindi lamang pagkatisod sa kadiliman ang Batas Militar. Isa itong maingat na paghahabi ng karahasan at kapangyarihan na isinagawa sa ngalan ng kaayusan at huwad na kapayapaan.

    Nagkukubli ang Korte Suprema sa likod ng mga titik ng batas, at bumabaling ito sa makitid na pananaw na ang usapin ay tungkol lamang sa legalidad at pulitika. Pinili ng Korte na ibalik ang usapin sa ehekutibo. Sa ganitong paraan, pinalampas nito ang pagkakataon at ang sarili nitong kapangyarihan na maigiit ang mga prinsipyong nakaluklok sa ating Saligang Batas, na naipahayag na rin nitong bumangon mula sa guhong likha ng administrasyong Marcos.

    Hinihimok ko ang ating komunidad na ipagpatuloy ang pagtutol at ipahayag ang matindi nating galit, na pagnilayan kung ano ang kongkretong kahulugan ng tunay na paglalagom sa usaping ito, na lumikha ng mga daan para marinig nang tunay ang ating tinig, na pangalagaan ang espasyong demokratiko at makipag-usap nang makabuluhan sa ating mga kapwa Pilipino. Madaling ituring na kaaway ang iba sa atin ngunit hindi tayo pagagapi sa mga puwersang buktot na naghahangad na hatiin ang ating sambayanan. Ang tanging daan tungo sa tunay na landas ng kapayapaan, katarungan, at pagkakasundo ay ang patuloy na pakikinig sa isa’t isa.

    Habang tinatahak natin ito, nais kong ipagunita sa lahat na hindi lahat ng digmaan ay napagwawagian sa iisang larangan. Ipaglalaban natin ang katotohanan sa ating mga silid-aralan, sa gawain nating kasangkot ang mga komunidad na ating pinaglilingkuran, sa maraming lunan sa pamahalaan, industriya, at mga pangkat sa lipunan, saan man natin natatagpuan ang ating mga alumni na sangkot sa pagbuo ng ating bansa at sambayanan, upang hindi natin kailanman malimot ang hindi maaari at hindi dapat malimot.

    Sa lahat ng ito, humuhugot tayo ng lakas mula sa kapangyarihan ng krus ni Kristo, na humahamon sa ating manindigan nang kabalikat ang mga nagsasakatawan ng kanyang katotohanan at pag-ibig at katarungan.




    De La Salle Philippines (DLSP) Statement on the
    Supreme Court Decision on the Marcos' Burial

    Never Forget!

    There can be no moving on without an accounting of the past, no forgiveness without remorse and apology. There can be no justice without accountability. There can be no justice with impunity.

    We are thus deeply despondent over the Supreme Court’s (SC) failure to stand on what is just by affirming Ferdinand Marcos’ planned burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB). The Court, on the petition against the President's order for the burial of Marcos' remains in the LNMB, has sadly chosen to err on the side of technicality rather than that of history.

    Marcos is not a hero. He was an oppressive ruler and a dictator. The empowering experience and triumph of all freedom-loving Filipinos over authoritarianism through People Power 1 in February 1986 is a clear rejection of the Marcos regime. He remains answerable for many counts of atrocities and human rights violations as well as ill-gotten wealth.

    The SC decision, an ominous development, reflects the weakness of our democracy to exact accountability from leaders who abused and are abusing their power. Unfortunately, after EDSA People Power 1, the task of deepening and consolidating our democracy by strengthening our institutions, including the courts, has not been assiduously pursued. The same weakness has now been taken advantage of by the Marcos family.

    This challenges our schools all the more, to help clarify for and with younger generations and those who engage us, the lessons borne out of a scrupulous study of history, citizenship, accountability, and good governance.

    We therefore call on all our Lasallian teachers and partners to strengthen all their educational and community engagement efforts and programs towards a deepening of our people's appreciation for democracy and human rights. Let us join with like-minded groups to create more robust advocacy on these issues.

    Let us oppose every effort to distort our nation’s story. We shall endeavor to re-tell our story so that we remain true to the values we have fought for and for which many have given up their lives. The oppressiveness of Marcos’ Martial Law must not be forgotten.


    Br. Jose Mari L. Jimenez FSC
    President, De La Salle Philippines (DLSP)
    10 November 2016




    FVR says Marcos family owes the country an apology
    Published November 11, 2016 8:42pm

    Former President Fidel V. Ramos has added his voice to those who expressed disappointment over the Supreme Court decision allowing the burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

    In an exclusive interview by GMA News’ Sandra Aguinaldo, excerpts of which were shown on “24 Oras” on Friday, Ramos also said the Marcos family owes the public an apology over the abuses committed during the Martial Law years.

    “Address [the apology] to all the descendants of the victims, whether or not there is an investigation, to show sincere desire to discard, reject and eliminate already all the dictatorial tendencies and happenings during that period,” Ramos said.

    On the Supreme Court decision, Ramos cited the part where the tribunal said it disagrees with the petitioners’ claim that Marcos was “dishonorably discharged” through the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution.

    “Kung kakalimutan ‘yun o iismolin o binabalewala ‘yan (EDSA People Power Revolution), para mong binabalewala ‘yung paghihirap, pagsisikap, kontribusyon ng mga sundalo at mga pulis kagaya namin,” he said.

    Ramos, a former military official, was one of the key players in the 1986 uprising that saw the end of Marcos’ decades-old regime that is widely considered as marked by corruption and human rights abuses.

    He also said the Marcos family should also return to the public coffers their ill gotten wealth, Ramos said, adding that during his term as president, the government was able to recover the Swiss deposits of the Marcoses.




    Statement of former Senator Wigberto Tanada “Ka Bobby” on the SC decision allowing the burial of Marcos at the LNMB:

    My late father, Senator Lorenzo M. Tañada, together with his colleagues Senators Ninoy Aquino, Jose Diokno, Jovito Salonga, Soc Rodrigo and others in the parliament of the streets, made sacrifices and stood their ground in the struggle against the Marcos Dictatorship. The ouster of Marcos from power in 1986 was a rejection of a regime that violated the basic rights of our people and was corrupt beyond belief.

    The Supreme Court decision to allow the burial of Marcos on the hallowed ground of heroes betrays their spirit and the sacrifices of thousands of victims of torture, disappearances and “salvagings” of the martial law years.

    When we ratified the 1987 Constitution, we vowed that “never again” shall we tolerate the evils of dictatorship that was embodied by Marcos. To elevate him to the status of “hero” by allowing him to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is both a disgrace and a betrayal of what is best in the Filipino. Malaking kamalian at hindi makatarungan itong desisyon ng Korte Suprema. Hindi iginalang ang ating pagka-Pilipino at ang ating pagkatao.

    Bobby E. Tañada




    Former President Fidel V. Ramos

    Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Chito Gascon

    National Historical Commission of the Philippines

    Senator Riza Hontiveros (video)

    Senator Bam Aquino

    Senator Nene Pimentel

    Senator Grace Poe

    Congressman Neri Colmenares

    Bonifacio Ilagan

    National Union of People’s Lawyers


    Cebu Citizens’ Assembly

    Ateneo de Zamboanga University

    National Union of Students of the Philippines

    UP Solidaridad

    UE Kapit-Bisig

    FEU Central Student Organization

    Kristohanong Katilingban sa Pagpakabana

    College Editors Guild of the Philippines – Western Visayas

    Philippine Science High School

    The Nucleus – Official Publication of Manila Science High School

    UST Senior High School Student Council

    NCR Student Protests


    San Francisco Filipino Americans





    Libingan ng mga Bayani at Isang Magnanakaw

    Season’s Greetings!


    In Loving Memory of

    At ng Isang Hindi

    Kahit ano na lang, pwedeng ilagay?

    Justice Killed in the Philippines

    Marcos not a hero!

    NHCP Chair Maria Serena I. Diokno

    Justice Sereno – State’s Duty

    Justice Leonen – Ferdinand Marcos Is No Hero

    Former Senator Serge Osmena



    I undertook this exercise to show what I think of the arguments.

    5-point rating scale, 0 to 4 stars

    Supreme Court media briefer on Marcos burial decision:



    Duterte no grave abuse of discretion – 0 stars

    Duterte not bound by 1992 Executive Agreement – 4 stars

    Marcos burial is for a public purpose – 3 stars

    Marcos is qualified for burial at LNMB under AFP Regulations G 161-375 – 1 star

    Marcos was not dishonorably discharged from the military service – 3 stars

    Marcos is qualified for burial at LNMB because he has not been convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude – 4 stars


    Justice Perez

    Substantial Bongbong Marcos vote during the 2016 vice-presidential elections shows that “national damnation” of the former president no longer exists – 0 stars

    Justice Mendoza

    Martial law regime left a stigma that will never be forgotten by the Filipino people and Marcos’ burial at LNMB will not rewrite history – 3 stars


    Justice Sereno

    Marcos burial violates domestic law and international law in relation to the obligations to do justice for human rights victims – 4 stars

    Justice Carpio

    Marcos burial at LNMB causes injury to human rights victims of martial law and to the sovereign people – 4 stars

    Marcos is disqualified from burial at LNMB by the “the strongest form of dishonorable discharge from office” – 4 stars

    Justice Leonen

    Marcos burial violates RA 289 and RA 10368 – 3 stars

    Justice Caguioa

    Marcos burial is contrary to the Constitution, the law, and several executive issuances that have the force of law, as well as the public policy that the Constitution, the said laws, and executive issuances espouse and advance – 4 stars

    Burial of the Marcos remains is motivated by a campaign promise of the President to the Marcos family – 3 stars



    Continued page 2:

    Continued page 3:



    There is none so blind as he who refuses to see. Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta’s ponencia in the Marcos burial cases will go down in history as the cowardly rationalizations of a willfully blind man; he deserves the opprobrium coming his way. He still has six years to serve in the Supreme Court, but his legacy will be forever defined by this badly written, ill-thought-through, deliberately obtuse majority decision.

    Peralta’s opinion begins: “In law, as much as in life, there is need to find closure. Issues that have lingered and festered for so long and which unnecessarily divide the people and slow the path to the future have to be interred. To move on is not to forget the past.” This New Age-speak is nonsense, misleadingly so, because closure does not come from any Court ruling but from a ruling that is truly just.

    The opinion ends with a similar lame attempt at an overview: “There are certain things that are better left for history—not this Court—to adjudge. The Court could only do so much in accordance with the clearly established rules and principles. Beyond that, it is ultimately for the people themselves, as the sovereign, to decide, a task that may require the better perspective that the passage of time provides.”

    That squeaking you hear? That’s the sound of Peralta and the eight justices who joined the majority trying to fit their bottoms on the fence they’re sitting on. The people had already decided: They ousted Marcos, supported the restoration of democratic institutions, overwhelmingly ratified the Constitution. It takes an extra amount of determination to ignore history.

    In between the beginning and the end is judicial hackwork. Incredibly, Peralta does not grant any of the points raised by the petitioners in Ocampo v Enriquez. Even the legal standing of Marcos’ own human rights victims to sue is not recognized. And in the rush to confirm judgment, Peralta runs roughshod over the very power granted the Court by the post-Marcos Constitution. Three quick points:

    The heart of Peralta’s argument is that President Duterte did not commit a grave abuse of discretion when he issued his order; this reasoning depends on a labored and unconvincing argument that the order to honor a dictator (recognized as such by law and previous judgments) is not in fact contrary to the Constitution, law, or jurisprudence.

    His secondary argument is that burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani is not tantamount to hailing Marcos as a hero. We can disagree, but we can also note that his own reasoning proves that burial there will honor Marcos (emphases mine): “In fact, the privilege of interment at the LNMB has been loosen [sic] up through the years. Since 1986, the list of eligible [sic] includes not only those who rendered active military service or military-related activities but also non-military personnel who were recognized for their significant contributions to the [sic] Philippine society.” Why should the nation Marcos brutalized seek to honor him, in a place that the Court itself recognizes is a “national shrine”?

    And while Peralta is at pains to argue the limits of Marcos’ ouster (“It is undeniable that former President Marcos was forced out of office by the people through the so-called EDSA Revolution. Said political act of the people should not be automatically given a particular legal meaning other than its obvious consequence—that of ousting him as president”), he is content to accept the Solicitor General’s argument that a mere election gives Mr. Duterte’s powers wide latitude.

    To be continued

  39. ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM? (continued)

    Justice Peralta invokes history, but he does not understand it the way we do: For him, history is not so much the fruit of the ongoing and collective effort of a community of actors, including judges like him who have repeatedly pronounced on the perfidy of Marcos rule, as rather something distant, something inchoate, something he is gladly not a part of.

    The judgment of history on the Marcoses is clear and has been clear for a generation. That he, an Ilokano like the late dictator, cannot bring himself to acknowledge it is proof, if more proof were needed, of moral and intellectual cowardice.


    “Moral and intellectual cowardice”...and gargantuan greed...the elephant in the room.


  40. “We came from the ouster of a dictator and to allow the dictator to be buried and given some kind of honor will be a disrespect and dishonor to the people who made sacrifices to have our democracy right now.” — Atty. Joseph San Pedro, Supreme Court aspirant



    In evaluating the Supreme Court decision, at least two additional factors must be taken into weighty consideration:

    - First, the possibility that a bribe(s) was paid. Considering the amount of money that the Marcos family has stolen from the Filipino people, this possibility should not be ruled out. It can even be assumed as a probability for after all, we are speaking of the Marcos family here. Although no direct evidence can be adduced--it is very easy for the Marcos family to conceal the evidence of huge and/or multiple offshore banking transactions--it cannot be ruled out. If a bribe(s) was paid, well then the entire meaning of the decision is changed.

    - Second, we have to understand that opposing conclusions can be reached by highly involved legal reasoning. It would be a mistake, therefore, to assume that the legal reasoning by itself will adequately justify the conclusions. We have to place the decision beyond the legal, or should I say, legalistic context. In order to fully evaluate the decision, we need to place it in the larger human context, political and moral especially. And in the larger human context, the legal reasoning fails miserably. It fails morally--this point should be obvious. It also fails politically, in the vital sense that it does not do justice to the profoundly resonant historical meanings that advance the deepest aspirations of an oppressed people for truth and justice and freedom, and ultimately, for greatness. Unmistakably, in this case the Supreme Court has failed the Filipino people.



    I am not here to talk about the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos. As of Nov. 9, the full text of the Supreme Court decision is yet to become available, and I will not comment on a ponencia that I have yet to read in full. Rather, this piece is about whether Marcos is a hero for me, which, I believe, is the more important question. After all, a person is remembered not for where he or she is laid in death, but for whatever legacy he or she has left in life.

    I share the same home province with Marcos. I have relatives and friends who have great reverence for him. This is the norm in the North. But while I respect my fellow Ilocanos’ views, I prefer to disagree with them.

    Maybe Marcos was really a brave soldier, even though The Washington Post and The New York Times published compelling articles (in 1983 and 1986, respectively) questioning the validity of his medals. If he really was a war veteran, then he could have immediately died a venerable man. But this did not happen. Instead, he lived long enough to become a president whose memory, for me, is not worthy of perpetuation, at least “for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generations still unborn.”

    I don’t think this generation or the next should emulate a president who let thousands of people suffer, just because, as my friends would say, “he did what he thought was right.” Martial law may have been constitutional, but neither the 1935 Constitution nor Proclamation 1081 gave the armed forces the authority to torture prisoners. Even Article IV, Section 20 of the 1973 Constitution, pertaining to any person under investigation for the commission of an offense, provides: “No force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiates the free will shall be used against him.”

    Marcos had the duty to protect the rights of Filipinos—including those suspected to have committed crimes—under the very constitution that he himself proposed, if not imposed. Still, he let his own soldiers commit unjust acts to an appalling degree. Is this not a show of gross neglect, if not absolute callousness? Yes, he should not get all the blame. But as the commander in chief, neither does he deserve remission. For in trying to quell anarchy, he ironically condoned lawlessness among the military ranks.

    I also don’t think people should feel inspired by a president who used the government for rampant corruption. Courts in Singapore, Switzerland and the United States have forfeited Marcos assets in favor of the Philippines for being ill-gotten. In 2003, our own Supreme Court upheld such forfeiture by its Swiss counterpart, saying that Marcos and his wife had dollar deposits in Swiss accounts that were “way, way beyond their aggregate legitimate income … during their incumbency as government officials.” In addition, the Presidential Commission on Good Government has recovered P170.4 billion worth of illicit assets from Marcos’ family and his cronies.

    If these facts fail to persuade my friends, I wonder why some of them were quick to believe that former president Benigno Aquino III was corrupt, even though he has yet to be prosecuted. (By the way, I don’t venerate the Aquinos, either.) They still insist that Marcos was never convicted of any crime. True, but do we really need a person to go to jail first before we can doubt his integrity? Surely, many of my friends would say no. I have seen them prejudging Leni Robredo for allegedly rigging the vice presidential election, even though no criminal charge has ever been filed against her.

    To be continued


    Yes, there is a long list of infrastructure projects that were completed during Marcos’ regime. Nevertheless, a president’s legacy comes not merely from the number of buildings he or she built, but, more important, from the extent to which he or she developed the economy for the benefit of the people’s lives. The Social Weather Stations, however, reported that poverty incidence spiked as high as 74 percent in July 1985—a rate never surpassed during the administrations of Marcos’ successors. The National Statistics Office also found that unemployment rose from 9.5 percent in 1982 to 10.5 percent in 1983, and escalated to 12.5 percent in 1985.

    If life was better during martial law than it is at present, why was it that from 1972 to 1985, the economy (in GDP terms) advanced by an average of only 3.4 percent annually, while the income of each citizen (or GDP per capita) only increased 0.6 percent per year? Compare this to the period from 2002 to 2015, in which GDP grew by 5.3 percent and GDP per capita rose by 3.5 percent. Thus, that Marcos did a great job on the economy is a claim that, even if true for Ilocanos whom the Marcoses pampered, proves to be a myth for the nation.

    I don’t claim to know so much about the past, or about Marcos. Neither do I deny that he was an excellent lawyer, an exceptional public speaker, and a good husband and father to his family. Hence, I refuse to call him a monster. I have only learned a few things, but enough for me to say that such a president—no matter how brave he was during the war, no matter how many roads and bridges he built, and certainly wherever he will be interred—deserves no high respect if in the end he deprived his fellowmen of their wealth and rights. Hence, I also refuse to call him a hero.

    Lord Zedrique T. Macatiag, 21, is a sophomore at the University of the Philippines College of Law. He was born and raised in Banna, Ilocos Norte.




    Sulat ni King Palmea | Sining ni Micah el Angelo (alyas)

    Ilokano ang aking unang wikang sinambit. Ilokano ang aking ina, ama, tiya, tiyo, mga pinsan, lola, at pati na rin ang iba pang mga kapitbahay. Kahit sinusulat ko ang artikulong ito sa Filipino at kahit matatas na ako mag-Ingles, Ilokano pa rin ang paborito kong wika dahil sa paggamit ko nito unang nakilala ang mundo.

    Katulad ng iba pang wika o diyalekto, may dalang kultura at pananaw ang pagiging Ilokano. Ang paborito ko rito ay ang sinasabi nila na matiisin daw kami at matipid. Bukod dito, ipinagmamalaki ng mga Ilokano ang kanilang mga kababayan lalo na ang mga kilalang personalidad. Kung Ilokano ka at tinagurian kang magaling, idadambana ka at ipagmamalaki ka ng buong Norte mula Aparri hanggang Ilocos. Sino pa nga ba ang pinakasikat na Ilokano? Ang dating pangulong Ferdinand Marcos.

    Si Marcos ang pinakamagaling na pangulo ng Pilipinas at ang kaniyang rehimen ay ang pinakamagandang panahon ng ating kasaysayan—ito ang kasinungalingang aking kinalakihan.

    Paniniwala, pagpapakawala

    Nang nasa elementarya ako, wala akong masyadong maalalang natutunan tungkol sa panahon ng batas militar. Tinalakay namin ito nang pahapyaw lamang. Binanggit lamang na bayani si Ninoy, nagkaroon ng EDSA at masama si Marcos. Minsan naantala rin ang aming diskusyon sapagkat may kaklase akong hindi naniniwala sa sinasabi ng aming textbook. Salungat din ang pananaw ng aming guro dahil para sa kaniya, mabuti si Marcos.

    Bukod dito, pag-uwi ko ng bahay, maririnig ko ang mga kuwento ng aking mga kamag-anak at aming mga kapitbahay: ang batas militar daw ang pinakamabuting nangyari sa ating kasaysayan.

    “Gintong panahon” daw noon sapagkat piso lang ang baon ng mga estudyante, marami raw naipatayong mga impraestruktura katulad ng Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Philippine Heart Center, Philippine Lung Center, South Luzon Expressway (SLEX), ang Buntun Bridge na aming dinadaanan patungo sa mga karatig-bayan, at San Juanico Bridge. Tahimik daw noon at walang balita tungkol sa patayan. Tinanggap naman ng aking musmos at hindi mapangkilatis na isip ang mga ito bilang mga katotohanan.

    Dahil sa mga kuwentong ito, lumaki akong kinikilala si Marcos bilang isang bayani sapagkat mas maingay ang mga sabi-sabi na mabuti nga ang panahon ng batas militar kumpara sa talakayan sa klase ko sa Philippine History. Ikinatuwa ko ang presensya nina Imee Marcos at Bongbong Marcos tuwing bumibisita sila sa aming lalawigan. Itinuring kong señora si Imelda. Inakala kong binasbasan ng ubod ng yaman ang pamilya Marcos dahil sa kanilang pagmamahal sa bayan. Ano nga ba ang laban ng pahapyaw na diskusyon tungkol sa panahon ng batas militar kumpara sa mga kuwentong mula sa mga taong pinakamalapit sa aking buhay?

    Noong ako’y nasa sekondarya, unti-unti kong nabalitaan ang mga pagtutol ng iba’t ibang pamantasan sa mga Marcos katulad ng UP at Ateneo lalo na nang tumakbo si Bongbong Marcos Jr. bilang senador.

    Napaisip ako: kung ipinagmamalaki ng mga Ilokano si Marcos dahil lamang isa siyang kababayan, bakit ang UP—ang pamantasan kung saan nagtapos si Marcos ng kaniyang abogasya—ay isa sa mga institusyong tumutuligsa sa kaniya? Hindi ba’t napakalaking karangalan na makamit ang pinakamataas na marka sa “bar exam” para ipagmalaki siya? Pero bakit kinamumuhian ng mga aktibista si Marcos? Bakit sinasabi sa mga libro na batas militar ang pinakamadilim na bahagi ng ating kasaysayan ngunit sinasabi ng aming mga kapitbahay ang kabaligtaran? Bayani nga ba talaga ang pinakasikat kong kababayan?

    Dala ko ang mga tanong na ito nang mag-aral ako sa Ateneo.

    To be continued


    Sa Ateneo ko nalaman ang mga kabuktutan ni Marcos. Isa-isa at dahan-dahan, naitama ang lahat ng maling sinabi ng aking mga kababayan.

    Pinakasagana raw ang ekonomiya noong panahon ni Marcos? Heto ang GDP growth rate ng mga nagdaang pangulo bago si Marcos: 9% kay Elpidio Quirino, 7% kay Ramon Magsaysay, 4.5% kay Carlos Garcia, at 4% kay Diosdado Macapagal. Sa loob ng 20-taong panunungkulan ni Marcos, ang GDP growth rate ng bansa ay 3.8% lamang: 5.5% mula 1966-1980 at lumagapak sa -2.5% mula 1981-1985. Nagkaroon din tayo ng 26 billion dollars na foreign debt na babayaran natin hanggang 2025 dahil sa mga impraestrukturang pinatayo. Kung kaya’t tinaasan ng mga kaalyado ni Marcos ang presyo ng mga impraestrukturang ito upang umani sila ng mga kickbacks.

    Matagal na paralisado ang ating ekonomiya pagkatapos ng EDSA. Bukod dito, ayon sa Amnesty International: humigit-kumulang 70,000 ang ipinakulong; 34,000 ang pinahirapan sa pamamagitan ng torture; 3,240 ang pinapatay; at hindi pa kasama sa mga karumaldumal na mga numerong ito ang mga dinukot sa isang gabi at hindi na kailanman natagpuan. Nang malaman ko ang lahat ng ito sa pamantasan, natuto akong ipaglaban ang bersyon ko ng kasaysayan at hindi ko ito hahayaang mabaluktot sa mga sabi-sabi lamang.

    Nang mamulat ako, nakaramdam ako ng di-tuwirang pagtatakwil mula sa aking mga kababayan dahil sa pagtanggi ko kay Marcos bilang huwarang presidente at bayani. Tuwing umuuwi ako at napapasama ako sa ganitong usapin, ipinapahayag ko ang mga datos na nagpapatunay sa kabuktutan ng rehimeng Marcos. Gayunpaman, kahit anong hirap kong ipaintindi, hindi nila pinapakinggan sapagkat pinipili nilang paniwalaan ang komportableng kasinungalingan pinaniwalaan nila simula nang sila’y musmos pa lamang. Kinuwestiyon ng ilan kong mga kababayan kung talaga bang nakikiisa ako sa kanila bilang mga Ilokano. Ang sabi ko, oo. Parte ng pakikiisa ang pagbuwag sa kasinungalingang bumubukod sa atin at ang pagtataguyod ng kasaysayang walang bahid na prehuwisyo.

    Nalaman ko sa pamantasan kung bakit kinamumuhian si Marcos ng mga estudyanteng katulad ko, at mga mag-aaral at mga dalubhasa sa kasaysayan. May mga guro ako sa Pilosopiya, Sosyolohiya, at Filipino na umaming kasama sila sa “underground movement” noong panahon ng batas militar. Inilahad nila ang mga paraan ng pagpapahirap katulad ng pangongoryente ng ari at panggagahasa sa kababaihan.

    Nakakilala ako ng mga kaibigang ang kanilang kamag-anak ay pinatay at naglaho noong batas militar. Nakapagbasa ng mga akda katulad ng Dekada ’70, Heisenberg Equation, The Last Time I Saw My Mother at nakapanood ako ng mga pelikula katulad ng Ka Oryang na nagpapakita sa kalupitan noong panahon ng Martial law. Kinuwento ng aking mga guro na ang mga kabataang marahil ka-edad ko noong panahon ng martial law ay namundok upang tuligsain ang oligarkiyang binuo ni Marcos. Isa siyang magnanakaw at mamatay-tao. Ang katalinuhan niya ay kaniyang ginamit upang manipulahin ang masa, at kaniyang pinanatili ang sarili niya sa poder katulad ng pagpapasara niya sa kongreso.

    Napapatanong tuloy ako, ano nga ba ang sanhi ng pagbuo ng prehuwsiyong si Marcos ay isang mabuting pangulo?

    To be continued


    Hindi paglimot kundi maling pag-alaala

    Base sa aking karanasang inilahad, masasabi kong dahil ito sa kakulangan sa pagtuturo ng kasaysayan ng Martial law lalo na sa mababa at mataas na paaralan. Hindi napagtuunan ng pansin ang Martial law sa mga klase ng Kasaysayang Pilipinas.

    Ayon kay Prof Ricardo Jose ng Kagawaran ng Kasaysayan sa UP Diliman nang siya’y aking makapanayam, mainam raw na hatiin sa dalawang bahagi ang Philippine History sa high school: ang unang bahagi ay ilalaan sa pagtalakay ng panahon ng pre-kolonyal at kolonyalisasyon at ang pangalawang bahagi naman raw ay ilalaan sa pagtalakay sa mga naganap pagkatapos ng kolonyalisasyon kasama na rito ang Martial law at hanggang sa kontemporanyong panahon. Naniniwala ako na kapag natutukan nang husto ang pagtuturo sa kasaysayan, hindi basta-basta madadala ang mga tao sa sabi-sabi at haka-haka. Siguro, kung nasa mga libro ang mga datos na nabanggit ko kanina, siguro hindi aakalain ng ibang Pilipino, lalo na ang mga kabataan, na “gintong panahon” ang rehimeng Marcos.

    Samakatwid, hindi ko itinuturing na masama ang isang tao kung sumusuporta siya kay Marcos sapagkat ang paghanga kay Marcos ay produkto lamang ng kakulangan sa pagtuturo ng kasaysayan. Ang paghanga kay Marcos ng mga taga-Norte ay isa lamang sintomas ng isang mas malubhang sakit: ang kakulangan ng sistema sa edukasyon.

    Ang edukasyon sana ang siyang wawasak sa baluktot na konsepto ng rehiyonalismo na namamayani sa Norte at sa mga prehuwisyong nabubuo sa mga sabi-sabi na hindi base sa mga obhektibong mga datos. Ito ang dahilan kung bakit hindi ko magawang kamuhian ang mga kababayan kong kumakapit sa kasinungalingang ito sapagkat hindi kami pareho ng oportuninad: ako ay natanggap bilang iskolar sa isang pamantansang nagtataguyod ng liberal na edukasyon sa pamamagitan ng pagtuturo ng kasaysayan samanatalang sila’y nag-aral sa mga pamantasang hindi pinapahalagahan ang kasaysayan ng panahon ng batas militar.

    Paulit-ulit sinasabi na huwag makalimot. “Huwag nang muli” ang sigaw sa social media. Ngunit paano ang mga wala naman talagang pinanghahawakan nang hindi makaligta, ang mga hindi naitatak sa sarili kung ano ang hindi dapat mangyaring muli?





    A few people were prosperous. People like Herminio Disini, Danding Cojuangco, Imelda Marcos. Ferdinand Marcos, junior -- Bongbong -- got his own island, Calauit -- as a hunting preserve. He demanded, and was handed, millions of pesos from a private company, Philcomsat. “What could we do,” a company officer said later, “he was the president's son.” Imelda turned the Philippine National Bank into her private piggy bank and Philippine Airlines into her personal air service. She bought condos in New York, ordered posh department stores to close their doors so she could shop inside in peace, handed out hundred dollar tips to Americans. Where'd all this money come from?

    Marcos ruled unchecked for almost 14 years, free to write his own laws as he went along (after he was overthrown, investigators discovered dozens of secret decrees he'd kept handy for all possible contingencies). With those awesome powers, what progress did he bring to the country? In 1974, the poverty rate was 24%. By 1980 it was 40%. When Marcos assumed the presidency, the country's foreign debt was US$1 billion. By the time he fled, it was US$28 billion. Where'd all the money go? Investigators later estimated the Marcoses stole at least US$10 billion, most of it salted away abroad. Martial Law sustained a plunder economy run for the benefit of the Marcos family, its relatives and associates. Everyone else was just an afterthought.


    During Martial Law, not only did the Communist New People’s Army increase in strength, from a few hundred to more than 20,000 soldiers, but crime in Manila became so bad that at one point Marcos actually ordered the deployment of “secret marshals.” These were armed plainclothes military agents who pretended to be passengers in jeeps and buses, with orders to shoot and kill anybody they thought were criminals.

    The worst threat to peace and order was none other than Marcos himself. Historian Alfred McCoy estimates the Martial Law regime killed more than 3,000 Filipinos and made hundreds disappear. Dinampot (picked up) entered the venacular to describe what happened to Marcos critics, who were usually labeled “subversives” or “dissidents.” Another word coined under the dictatorship, “salvage” -- murder committed by the authorities -- acquired international notoriety. If there was “peace” in the country it was the graveyard silence produced by fear and repression.


    True. He could build and build because it wasn’t his money that was being used, it was the taxpayers’. And of course, Marcos made sure he got a cut. The biggest, most famous construction project, the billion-dollar Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, was an overpriced, graft-ridden structure which paid Marcos millions of dollars in kickbacks. His crony Herminio Disini got such a large commission he could afford to flee to Austria, buy a castle and settle down. The country took years to pay off the BNPP. It still hasn't been used. Imelda also had an “edifice complex.” She was in such a hurry to have the Film Palace in Roxas Boulevard finished, part of it collapsed, reportedly burying workers alive.

    Imelda’s idea of infrastructure for the poor was a high whitewashed concrete wall around Manila’s squatter areas, the better to hide the poverty and misery, and so avoid depressing passing motorists and tourists.

    To be continued

  47. 5 PERNICIOUS MARCOS MYTHS (continued)


    Actually he was urging his generals to attack, but in front of the TV cameras made a big show of concern over civilian casualties. Reporter Sandra Burton, who was there, wrote: “Viewers had just witnessed another bit of play-acting, or moro-moro, between Marcos and (General Fabian) Ver, which seemed intended to impress upon his official US audience the president's concern for preventing bloodshed, even as the Americans’ sensitive communications devices were intercepting his generals’ orders to fire on rebel headquarters.”

    The truth was the dictator’s generals were reluctant to attack. According to Beth Day Romulo, one general later said his huge amphibious assault vehicles could have “rammed through the crowds.” However, “I didn't want to be known as the Butcher of Ortigas Avenue.”

    Marcos kept up the pretense. Burton wrote how: “…Hyperventiliating again, Ver grew more and more excited. ‘Just give me the order, sir and we will hit them.’ Marcos, looking reasonable, compared to his bellicose chief of staff, refused. Yet even as he spoke, his generals were ordering Colonel Balbas to stop making excuses and fire the mortars he had positioned early that morning on the golf course inside Camp Aguinaldo.” Marcos never let a few broken, maimed bodies stand in his way. He wasn’t about to stop.


    He refused to share power. He kept a closet full of secret decrees. His word was law. The judiciary, legislative and military were his puppets. If Ferdinand Marcos could claim credit for all the nice buildings constructed during his regime, he should also take responsibility for everything else.

    The truth was, Marcos was evil from the get-go. As a young man, he assassinated his father’s political opponent -- through a coward’s way, sniping from long range in the dark of night. He fabricated a record as an alleged guerrilla leader during World War II. He opened a secret Swiss bank account -- under the pseudonym “William Saunders” -- with Credit Suisse in 1968, years before he declared Martial Law.

    Marcos was all of a piece. He intended to run the country purely for the benefit of his family and friends, and to set up a dynasty that would continue the plunder. He was prepared to do anything to hang on.

    During the snap election campaign in 1985, he sneered that his opponent, Cory Aquino, was a mere housewife with no experience. Cory fired back with a statement that summed up the dictator: “I concede that I cannot match Mr. Marcos when it comes to experience. I admit that I have no experience in cheating, stealing, lying, or assassinating political opponents.”




    November 18, 2016

    November 25, 2016

    November 30, 2016

    “Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo” by Various Artists, Songwriter Jim Paredes:

    I was present at all the above events.



    “Kung inaakala nila na ito’y closure, nagkakamali sila. Dahil ang katunayan, muling binuksan ang mga sugat ng pang-aabuso, ang sugat ng torture, ng rape, ng pagpatay, ng pag-abduct na naranasan ng tens of thousands, libu-libo, ng ating mga kababayan.”


    “Malilibing siya pero hindi ibig sabihin na mananatili siyang nakalibing dun. Dahil habang may mga taong naninindigan laban sa naging pag-aabuso ng diktadura, itutulak natin na ang mga labi niya ay dapat ilipat.”