“9-5-1 is a lie. We must stand up for the truth. And the truth is that Marcos does not deserve to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.” — Edita Burgos
MANILA – Hours after the Supreme Court issued its decision allowing hero’s burial for the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos , over a hundred protesters gathered at the Quezon Hall of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman to condemn what they called as “an act of betrayal.”
Leading the protest were martial law victims who were among the petitioners against the internment of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).
Bonifacio Ilagan, spokesperson of Campaign Against the Return of Marcoses in Malacanang (Carmma), said that nine Supreme Court magistrates “betrayed the memory of Filipinos who struggled to stand up at a time that the Philippines was being raped by a certain Ferdinand Marcos.”
Ilagan was detained and tortured during martial law. His sister Rizalina was abducted, raped and has never been found to this day.
Another political prisoner during martial law, Satur Ocampo said the high court’s decision is “a betrayal of the collective action of the Filipino people that ousted Marcos in 1986.”
Ocampo maintained that the ruling also betrays Republic Act 10368 , or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, which recognizes the heroism of those who became victims of the Marcos dictatorship. The law further acknowledges the state’s obligation to provide reparation to the victims for all their sufferings under Marcos regime.
Ephraim Cortez, secretary of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) and one of the lawyers for the petitioners, pointed out, “The Supreme Court seems to have forgotten their several decisions declaring Marcos as a dictator and plunderer, that Marcos is sui generis…He should not be treated like other previous presidents, soldiers.”
Sui generis is a Latin phrase meaning “of his own kind.” In its petition, the NUPL cited 20 Supreme Court cases calling Marcos a dictator and 18 cases calling him authoritarian.
Adding her voice to the indignation, Edita Burgos, widow of the late press freedom icon Jose Burgos Jr., told the crowd, “9-5-1 is a lie. We must stand up for the truth. And the truth is that Marcos does not deserve to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.”
The Burgoses published newspapers We Forum and Malaya, which, among others, exposed Marcos’s fake war medals. Marcos ordered the arrest and detention of Joe Burgos and several editors of the paper.
Burgos said what her family suffered was nothing compared to thousands who were tortured, disappeared and killed. She said, “There could never be forgiveness without justice.”
Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Emmi de Jesus criticized Imee Marcos and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for bastardizing the words “hero” and “justice.” De Jesus said that the late dictator Marcos is certainly not a hero and giving Marcos a hero’s burial is a mockery of justice.
Holding torches, protesters set on fire a life-size photograph of the late dictator as they chanted, “Marcos, Hitler, Diktador, Tuta!”
Even the younger generations joined the chanting.
Ben Te, a councilor of the University Student Council belied that millenials do not study history. “We will not accept that as truth. What will the youth achieve if they forget our history; what will be our use if we do not know the crimes of the dictatorship to the Filipino people?” Te said.
Te paid tribute to the young martyrs who died fighting the dictatorship, including Lorena Barros, Emmanuel Lacaba, Liliosa Hilao and Lean Alejandro.
The youth leader vowed to continue fighting for justice, freedom and genuine democracy.
The protesters ended the program by singing Bayan Ko (My Country), a popular song during the anti-Marcos dictatorship.