By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – “It’s typically Marcos. Just like a thief in the night.”
Messages like these peppered the reactions of leaders of various organizations opposed to the burial of ousted strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Around the same time the deposed strongman was being buried at Libingan ng mga Bayani, protests in various points of Metro Manila were being held. Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Caloy Zarate, Bayan Muna Partylist President Neri Colmenares, and Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. separately described the acts of the Marcos family as typically or “classic” Marcos, just “like a thief in the night.”
Zarate said the Marcoses had tried to lull the public into thinking they would first hold a nine-day prayer vigil. Yet, early this Friday morning, November 18, news about Marcos’ sneaky burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani broke out.
There would be no state funeral for him, reports said. He would be accorded “only military honors.”
Surrounding the Libingan ng mga Bayani, guarding its entrance both from the media and protesters, are troops of fully armed soldiers and policemen.
Disregard of due process, a Marcos ‘trademark’
“This is a classic act identified with the Marcoses. Tatak ni Marcos ang pagnanakaw. And this time, his family is stealing time, and our rights, to due process,” said Zarate.
Petitioners have been preparing to file a motion for reconsideration with the Supreme Court regarding its decision to allow the burial of deposed President Marcos to the Libingan ng Mga Bayani. By law, the petitioners have 15 days to do that. But the Marcoses did not wait for this. Its supporters told the media they have been apprised of the planned burial but were told it was “confidential.”
Policemen from Taguig and National Capital Region Police Office, and members of the Philippine Army secured the Libigan ng mga Bayani entrances. Even the media have been banned from entering the cemetery.
“Binalasubas ng mga Marcoses ang proseso ng korte suprema. (The Marcoses have trampled on the processes of the Supreme Court),” Colmenares said of the sneaky burial.
He asked in Filipino, ‘What will be the “grave and irreparable injury to the Marcoses if they had waited in respect of due process?” He further said, “Marcos’ body had lain in wait for 23 years in Ilocos, why the rush now?”
Despite having experienced first hand the brutality of Martial Law, even Colmenares had not expected the Marcoses would push for this rushed, “secret burial”.
“First, the Supreme Court decision allowing the burial is not yet final and executory. How can you implement that?” he told Bulatlat.
Marcoses gunning for full political restoration
Despite reports that the Marcoses and the military were just after a simple military funeral for him, Bayan Muna Rep. Colmenares said it is actually the message behind it all that is the graver problem.
He told Bulatlat that based on the Republic Act 289 regulating the burial of Philippine Presidents, only those worthy of emulation can be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. “No matter what you say, a plunderer is not worthy of emulation,” he said of the ousted president. Marcos was a convicted plunderer.
In burying Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, “With or without a gun salute, the message you’re imparting is that he’s worthy of emulation,” — an idea so patently untrue, according to Colmenares. But, he added, this is why the Marcoses “can’t move on” from their fervent desire to bury Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, 30 years after he was overthrown.
Ousted President Marcos was reportedly given a 21-gun salute. His burial was conducted fairly quickly. Only the Marcoses, armed troops, and a handful of unidentified people seen arriving aboard heavily tinted SUVs were in attendance.
“With that, it’s as if we have done away with the memory of the people power. Nawalang saysay ang kasaysayan,” Colmenares said. Bayan Muna Rep. Zarate believed that even if they had filed the motion for reconsideration, “in the end, the final decision would be with the people and history.”
They invited everyone to participate in their Black Friday protests. There are many protest points all over Manila as of this writing. Another protest gathering is also scheduled at the University of the Philippines evening of Nov. 18.