9 June 2011
The Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), an organization of former political prisoners established during martial law, today said that Vice President Jejomar Binay’s recommendation for full military honors for the burial of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos in Ilocos Norte is a “paradox” by itself.
“In the first place, we have stated that the survey conducted by Vice Pres. Binay was unnecessary because it may became open to possible manipulated “popular” vote for the rehabilitation of the Marcos name despite his ouster by the people in 1986, the extensive human rights violation during the dictatorship, and his family and government’s plunder. These and his numerous crimes against the Filipino people clearly show that he is not a hero,” Marie Hilao Enriquez, chairperson of SELDA, said.
“We believe that the remains of Mr. Marcos should have been buried right after his death in 1989; or at the time the family was allowed to bring him back to the country; but, not in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Doing so would distort the people’s verdict on the military dictatorship. Not then; not even now. His memory should remind us all of man’s inhumanity to his fellowman and strengthen our resolve to fight for a better world,” she added.
Enriquez is the daughter of one of the original named plaintiffs, Celsa and Maximo Hilao, in the historic class suit against Pres. Marcos. SELDA initiated and led the 9, 539 Martial Law victims in filing the case against Marcos in the US Federal Court system on April 7, 1986, barely two months after the dictator’s ouster by the so-called People Power I or EDSA I. Enriquez added that while SELDA welcomes the report on the recommendation on Marcos’s non-burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, she said that it is up to the Armed Forces of the Philippines to determine what kind of so-called military honor it will bestow on the former dictator.
“It is up to the AFP to “honor” the fascist dictator who pillaged, plundered, bludgeoned, imprisoned, tortured and raped our country for 14 long years under martial law. If these honors will be bestowed, it clearly illustrates the military’s allegiance to icons of barbarity and rabid violators of people’s rights such as Marcos,” she asserted.
Bonifacio Ilagan, Vice Chairperson of SELDA and a former political detainee during Martial Law, said President Noynoy Aquino should immediately declare his stand on the issue and heed the people’s calls against the hero’s burial for Marcos.
He likewise reiterated SELDA’s call for Pres. Benigno Aquino III to certify the passage of the Marcos Victims Compensation bill in Congress as an urgent priority measure. Ilagan said the proposed legislation will officially recognize that the Marcos dictatorship indeed violated the rights of thousands who fought against it; and acknowledge the State’s moral and legal obligation to render justice, through indemnification, to the victims of human rights violations during martial law.
“It has been 25 years since the dictator Marcos was ousted by people power and 19 years after the historic decision by the US Court granting justice for the 9,539 victims of martial law. More than ever, the nation must prevent efforts of the Marcos family to revise and distort history by trying to honor the late dictator as a hero. The youth must be taught how the nation suffered under the dictatorship but also how its people fought it, with many of its finest sons and daughters answering the call of the struggle for justice and freedom. They are the real heroes,” concluded Ilagan.
SELDA members joined the mass action led by Bayan today at the People Power Monument.
Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Chairperson
Bonifacio Ilagan, Vice Chairperson