“It’s so painful. It’s like erasing the sins of Marcos.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA — Sixty-five-year-old Carmencita Florentino joined fellow victims of martial law in filing a petition with the Supreme Court seeking to stop the plan to bury the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Florentino, her husband Ernesto and their only daughter Gemma, then only eight years old, were dragged by soldiers from their home in Tatalon, Quezon City on June 18, 1977. Florentino and Gemma were brought to Camp Crame where they stayed in different detention cells for a month. Ernesto was jailed at Camp Bagong Diwa and was released after three months.
Their incarceration, however brief, left a scar on their lives.
After being released from detention, the family had to report weekly to the military. This only stopped when Marcos was toppled through a popular uprising in February 1986.
Tears formed in Florentino’s eyes when asked of her message to President Rodrigo Duterte.
“It’s so painful. It’s like erasing the sins of Marcos,” Florentino told Bulatlat in an interview.
Florentino who was among the thousands who filed the historic classic suit against the Marcoses said burying Marcos would distort historical facts, particularly the atrocities during the Marcos dictatorship.
“What about the thousands who were tortured, who were raped?” Florentino said, adding that there were enormous pieces of evidence proving human rights abuses during martial law.
“We’re still alive,” Florentino said. “We have not forgotten.”
Neri Colmenares, president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and was also detained during martial law, said the executive’s plan would have legal implications on the cases filed against the Marcoses.
Colmenares said the Marcoses would brag that the late dictator is a hero and would use it to their advantage.
In their petition for certiorari and prohibition, martial law survivors maintained that the existing laws prohibit the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Citing the Armed Forces of the Philippines regulations on allocation of cemetery plots at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, petitioners said Marcos is not qualified.
The petitioners said that the the Libingan ng mga Bayani was created by virtue of Republic Act 289 and Sec. 1 provides that the purpose of the construction of a national pantheon is “to perpetuate the memory of all the Presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and patriots for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generations still unborn.”
“The burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani simply mocks and taunts Section 1 of RA 289,” the petitioners said.
The petitioners noted that apart from the human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship, the fact remains undisputed that Marcos and his family, during his term, acquired billions worth of ill-gotten wealth.
“The crimes of Marcos against the Filipino people and even against humanity involved moral turpitude,” the petitioners said.
The petitioners maintained that the memorandum dated 07 August 2016 issued by Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana with the subject “Interment of the late Former President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. at LNMB” and the directive on the interment of Marcos issued by Rear Admiral Ernesto C. Enriquez by command of General Ricardo R. Visaya are “patently illegal and were made with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.”
Other petitioners include National Artist for Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, Makabayan president Satur Ocampo, Bayan chairperson Carol Araullo, film director Bonifacio Ilagan and members of Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Aresto (SELDA).