The Ateneo Public Interest and Legal Advocacy (APILA) Center of the Ateneo de Davao University expresses its indignation and dismay for the burial of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
APILA believes that there is no greater betrayal than that of public trust, and this government violated that trust by ensuring the clandestine burial of a dictator, a plunderer, and a human rights violator at the LNMB in full honors last November 18 while many Filipinos, most especially the survivors of the dark years of martial law, were still grieving over the injustice etched in the Supreme Court almanac through its November 8 decision. This, on top of its flagrant disrespect of the petitioner’s statutory right to file a motion for reconsideration which is yet to lapse on November 28.
President Duterte claimed that the burial will bring about unity and reconciliation. However, dismissing historical injustice in the pretext of national healing is not only dividing the nation further but also it is creating new and deep wounds since this treacherous act is another blatant attack against our sense of national dignity.
We firmly assert that it is only real justice that can bring us to a meaningful closure of the past wrongs committed under the dictatorship. But this burial undertaken through manipulated orchestrations is a re-enactment of a historical injustice a hundred times worse because it was perpetuated by the leaders of this country who swore to uphold the constitution, the spirit of which is based on the democratic principles that overthrew the very same person that they are honorably laying to rest. Indeed, an insult to our history as another injustice is re-written.
While the legal battle may have ended in Supreme Court’s decision, we believe that the battlefield is now transferred into the minds and hearts of the people, especially the young –in how they will remember or forget Marcos, in how they will obliterate or sanctify the memories of our past, and in how they will dismiss or embrace the struggles of our forebears.
In the spirit of genuine healing, we call upon our leaders primarily our President, to be more discerning and to listen to the people. For the sake of preserving our collective consciousness, let us continue to keep in our hearts the lessons of martial law as we value the sacrifices of our great heroes so that we may live in freedom today. We should never forget. To appease the agony of the victims of martial law and their families, let us assure them of the thought that there are still people who continue to struggle with them – that there are those who refuse to give up the fight.
The fight against oppression is not over yet!
Atty. Romeo T. Cabarde Jr.
Director – APILA
Ateneo Public Interest and Legal Advocacy Center
Social Research, Training and Development Office
Ateneo de Davao University
P.O. Box 13, Jacinto Street, Davao City, 8000 Philippines
Tel no. (082) 221-2411 local 8290, Fax no. (082) 224 2955