Should Marcos divide the Left and DU30?

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FRANCISCO S. TATAD

FRANCISCO S. TATAD

Unless it falls through, a “massive” protest march is scheduled to be staged today by the leftist Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) at Manila’s Rizal Park and other places, “against the return of the Marcoses to Malacanang.”

This is an offshoot of their initial protest against the November 18 burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos’s remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, 27 years after he died in exile in Hawaii, following his fall from power in the “EDSA Uprising” of February 1986.

The remains were brought home in 1993, and preserved inside a refrigerated vault in Batac, Ilocos Norte, his hometown. President Duterte authorized their interment at the Libingan. Several petitions were filed before the Supreme Court questioning that decision, but by a vote of 9 to 5, with one abstention, the Court ruled it has no jurisdiction to review the President’s political decision.

Without any fanfare, the Marcos family buried the remains in private rites that caught the public by surprise. The Left denounced the burial as “surreptitious and precipitate” and asked the Court to declare it as illegal and to allow the exhumation of the remains.

Precipitate and surreptitious?

To the Marcos family, there was nothing precipitate about a burial that had waited for 27 years to undertake; nothing surreptitious about a burial that took place at high noon, rather than at midnight, to the accompaniment of a 21-gun military salute and some TV reporting. So the anti-Marcos petitioners and the public were not informed. But did the Marcos family have a duty to inform them?

The Court has not ruled on the new petition questioning the legality of the burial and asking for the remains to be exhumed.

Today’s march will now take the issue to the streets where the mob rather than the Court will preside. The issue about Marcos’ right to be buried at the Libingan will now be expanded to include the right of his son and namesake, former Sen. Ferdinand (Bongbong) Marcos Jr., to pursue his claim, before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, to be proclaimed as the lawfully elected vice president in the May 2016 election. The PET is composed of the Supreme Court en banc.

The Liberal Party’s Leni Robredo, who now temporarily occupies the position, has likened the burial to “a thief in the night,” an inapt description using a scriptural quote which Bible-quoting divines normally associate with something else–death. Her real fear is that the same Court majority that ruled in favor of the burial could rule against her, in favor of Bongbong, whom far too many people believe to be the real winner in the last election.

Mob rule will not work

Resorting to mob rule is always a cheap and foul tactic. Although the Executive and Congress are usually prepared for street manifestations, the Supreme Court is not as disposed to them, being apolitical and the most benign of all the institutions. The equanimity of the justices deserves to be protected at all times, since they cannot be all beyond intimidation. But the protesters seem to believe that so long as the issue is Marcos there is no limit to what they can do.

At the weekly Kapihan sa Manila Bay at Cafe Adriatico in Ermita on Wednesday, I shared the forum with Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman with Philippine Star columnist Marichu Villanueva asking the questions. Lagman made it very clear that even if the Court rules with finality in favor of the burial, this would not bring a closure to this controversy. The Left would never accept that Marcos has a right to be buried at Libingan, he said. He is no hero, and the Libingan, according to the Left, is a burying ground exclusively reserved for heroes.

To the best of our knowledge, the Libingan is nothing more than a military cemetery where former soldiers, Medal of Valor awardees, former defense secretaries and former presidents may be interred, according to the existing military guidelines. But by insisting that the Libingan is supposed to be what it is not, the protesters are able to say Marcos cannot be buried there because he is not a hero.

Lagman claims the guidelines, which allow one of Marcos’ qualifications to be buried there, are not legally binding because of some alleged defects. The claim has to be proved, but the danger here is that if this argument is correct, then not a single corpse in the Libingan deserves to be buried there and should be dug up and thrown out. But that would create an absurdity, which the state cannot permit.

Martial law was the crime, not causing it

What we are seeing now is a situation where the same CPP/NPA/NDF which had provoked Marcos into declaring martial law in 1972 are saying he could not be buried at the Libingan either as a former soldier, or a former Medal of Valor awardee, or a former secretary of national defense, or a former president because of martial law. Doing everything that provoked the martial law proclamation was not a crime; responding to the provocation was.

They could not forgive Marcos his firm response to their armed insurgency, which proclaimed “Death” to the President, and “Long live Commander Dante!” They had been assured by the late former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., who liked to taunt Marcos until the final day, that the man “did not have the balls” to declare martial law. So the CPP/NPA/NDF would now like to resume their interrupted revolution and claim their long delayed “victory.”

What FVR and JPE can do

At the Manila Bay forum, I suggested that instead of blaming everything on Marcos, former President Fidel V. Ramos and former Defense Secretary and Senate President Enrile, who helped administer martial law, should now be asked to share with the public what they knew about martial law. What appeared in The Manila Times report on Thursday was substantially correct, but I never “challenged” FVR to do anything–that was not my word; I only suggested what he should do.

I also never said that “it was Marcos’ request to have his remains buried beside his mother’s in Batac, Ilocos Norte.” I have no knowledge of any such thing and could not have said anything to that effect. What I did say–and this was something I had previously written in this space–is that if I were a Marcos family member and had a say in the matter, I would have recommended that the late strongman be buried in a private plot, all his own, rather than at the Libingan, like General Charles de Gaulle of France, one of the giants of the last century, who was buried inside the churchyard of his native village of Colombey-les-deux-Eglises, rather than at the Pantheon in Paris.

That class act would have left the Left gobsmacked. But, as I said, I had learned much later that it was Marcos’ dying wish to be buried side by side with his fellow soldiers who had the good fortune of dying for their country in war. That’s why the family had to honor his wish.

How the Left can help DU30

The Left will probably be hoping if they are able to generate large numbers in today’s march, that they might be able to move the Court to finally rule in their favor or the President to change his stand on the Marcos issue. I seriously doubt it. If it is not so easy to convince the Court that it has no jurisdiction on a case where it has already assumed jurisdiction, it would be a thousand times harder to convince the Court that it has jurisdiction on a case where it has already decided it has none. As far as convincing DU30 to change his mind is concerned, it appears to be simply out of the question. The Left will have to stand with DU30 on the Marcos issue, unless they are prepared to part ways with him.

Despite the venomous anti-Marcos rhetoric coming from some elements working with the old Aquino group, DU30 may have so much more to gain in supporting an early resolution of Bongbong Marcos’s electoral protest before the PET than in being indifferent to it. Belated reports have suggested that the illegal manipulation of last May’s electoral results happened not only in the vice presidential, senatorial and other contests, but even in the presidential race.

Some highly qualified sources have suggested that in a closely monitored electoral count, DU30 should have garnered at least 21 million votes rather than the 16 million votes credited to him. He may still be interested in inquiring into the real score. This is one activity where, instead of expending all their energy trying to demonstrate that there’s nothing human about the long departed Marcos, the Left could demonstrate their meaningful support for DU30.

fstatad@gmail.com

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16 Comments

  1. The High Court has already spoken. Its decisions form part of the law of the land, and thus, have the effects of laws. No amount of rhetoric can unmake the decision in respect to the Marcos burial. Only the SC En Banc can abandon a doctrine. So why the discordant noises? The Red and the Yellow may hold as many rallies as they want, but they would be futile. The better option is to forgive and forget, and move on. The country has grievous problems that need to be addressed. We focus on them rather than wasting our on an issue that has ceased to be one. Tama si Sen. Kit na sina. FVR at Enrile, the administrators of Martial Law, should talk about their roles during the time. I don’t think Marcos would have known, much less condone human rights abuses during his rule. FVR and Enrile were directly involved in the implementation of Martial Law and thus, should have known the abuses, if any.

  2. This is coming from a man who knows Philippine Politics in and outs, so left and yellowtards listen, I just called in my relatives in my former Province. Their are still yellowtards politicians roaming around and left politicians in our town

    I asked them if this people call for march against Digong what will they do hehe, they say that their ripe tomatoes are ready for throwing….. that they l never turn their back to a person that give them voice. Support still overwhelming hands down.

  3. as to du30’s negotiating with old commie foggies at the netherlands, i think du30 should not have included them in the negotiation. he should have negotiated with the local based commies. just saying

  4. The Church, the yellows and the “Commies” are all on the same side against Marcos. The Americans are also on their side against Marcos. The leader of the “Commies” is safely ensconced in the American ally Netherlands so that should tell you why “Commies” are in quotation marks. Who else is on the opposite side against the Americans? Duterte. You don’t have to be a genius to see who is the invisible hand behind these troubles. Black is the latest color of this nascent color revolution.

    • You are not a genius in saying the church, the yellows and the “Commies” are all on the same side against Marcos. This is a sweeping generalization that could only come from a die-hard DU30 fanatic. Read, Research, and Rethink before coming into conclusion.

  5. To settle once and for all, congress should legislate and approve a resolution calling for the actual manual counting of all the votes during the 2016 elections.

    But then again, some may be unwilling to do such an exercise because they might be found to be wanting in the recorded votes by the pcos!

  6. A nerve must have been struck when a can of worm open exposing a vile plot to return the Marcos to power. Let the the supposed strongman be buried where ever the loyalist want. But NEVER AGAIN should another Marcos get a hold of my Philippines. NEVER should the grim era of the Marcos years be erase and be forgotten. Let the following generation know what my Philippines suffered under this dictator.

    Here is another confusing thing, the opinion refer to all who stand against the dictator Marcos as communist. The People Power in EDSA is very sacred event. The people stood up to the dictator to return democracy to my Philippines. People has spoken and asked the tyrant to let the people go. Enough of the abuse plunder and injustices that the filipino suffered under this tyrant and his family. Ideology was never a part of People Power Revolt in EDSA. People wanted their freedom back and get rid of corrupt and greedy dictator. Readers of most of your opinion get it. Promote fear and confusion. Demonize the People Power revolt. Make it a movement of the leftist communist. Enough is enough let the opinion writer acknowledge that People Power Revolt is never a left or a right ideology. It is revolt against the tyrant who claim my Philippines as his own private estate plundering it’s wealth. and eliminating anyone who stand against his tyranny Thank you

  7. MadaboutAmnesia on

    Politicians and tainted writers like you, hide behind and conveniently cite the Law to rationalize a patently wrong decision.

    Although we may have to dig up each & every record of each person buried in the Heroes Cemetary, none has ever brought so much world- class shame to the Filipino People than the arrival of the Marcoses and their ilk at that U S Air Force base in Hawaii in February 1986 – complete with their untold loot. Dollars, jewelry, securities, certificates etc etc.

    For how in heavens sake could a publiic government official, living a life & career of integrity – amass such filthy wealth I basing on his salary & allowances alone ?

    At the very least, anyone buried at the Heroes Cemetary must be a fine example to our youth

    • My firend, Marcos is a Soldier and most fitted to be buried in the Cemetery for the Veterans. If they change the name to the Libingan nang mga Bayani, then blamed the one who change it. It is designed for WW2 Veterans. It is not designed for Heroes as you defined it but for the Veterans of the WW2 who are considered Heroes by their own standard. Veterans are Veterans, they should be accorded the Honor of being so. Are you a veteran by any chance, or just somebody who are just talking about it, but no experienced at all of being a veteran?

    • no law or rule was violated when du30 allowed the burial of makoy sr at the libingan ng mga bayani. the sc upheld du30. the sc cannot rule or even du30 cannot rule if makoy sr. is a hero or not. the sc and du30 can only rule on what the rules and the law says. if you say makoy sr is not a hero, then fine he is not. even if the majority of the people says makoy sr is not a hero, then is is fine also. but you cannot deny that he was a president and a soldier who, according to the rules of the military and the law is allowed to be interred there. besides, all the anti burial proponents submitted themselves under the jurisdiction of the sc, now that the sc ruled against their arguments, they detested the ruling and wants to force the issue by so called people power. btw, metro manila residents do not comprise the whole philippines

  8. I reckon the DU30 true total votes is nearer the 92% acceptance rate he got in the first post election SWS and Pulse Asia surveys. This rating would be like an exit survey in a sense. 92% of 42 million voting turn out would be 38 million and not just 21 million (or 50% of 42 M). Definitely not just 16 million (or 38% of 42M) as rotten Comelec tallied and Congress dumbly followed. This would mean that the 4 other Presidential candidates shared only 4 million votes (or 8%) among them. There is a compelling need to establish what the true results of the 2016 election were rather than accept them again like the country did for the 2010 and 2013 elections which were also both rigged. The DU30 admin must do this before the 2019 election period comes to fore again – so that we can finally throw out the Comelec officials who alllowed these crimes and of course its election fraud tandem partner Smartmatic.

    • real scores could be nearer to your estimate for prez digong and for bongbong, he got 33m (+) votes according to some source….

  9. From the time of Philippine Commonwealth, to Philippine Independence, to the Martial Law and to the Present, I don’t see any changes in the mentality of the Filipino Politicians. It is Power and Greed.

    • So why are the Hypocritical Saints calling FM the Looter and the succeeding Ones after him NOT??????

    • George F Guillermo on

      Yes I agree with you Val. It was power and greed that even Andres Bonifacio, a great hero was killed by Emliio Aguinaldo who also killed Antonio Luna, another hero. Yet Aguinaldo was even declared a Hero. Hate, division and vindictiveness ere the negative character of Filipinos which the Anti Marcos and Yellow Tags wanted to take advantage since it is for their benefits to insure their political and economic power & control over the country. It is power and greed that is pushing them to brainwash and manipulate the minds of the people especially the youth thru lies and hate campaign.

      I challenge the Anti Marcos to tell the truth that the bombing of the Plaza Miranda was done by the CPP with the support and participation of Ninoy Aquino, if they want to educate the people with truth on Martial law.

      Also, educate the people by telling them that in terms of accomplishments in infrastructure, even you combined all the accomplishments of the past five (5) Presidents after Marcos, the output of Marcos is greater and also, there were abuses during Martial law and these were mainly committed by the Phil Constabulary (PC) headed by ex Pres Ramos as the Commanding General (CG). As CG, Ramos was in direct control of the PC. Yet, among the armed forces, the PC under General Ramos was the most abusive & worst “pinaka mabagsik” sa pag handle ng mga bilanggo o mga suspects na Communists and/or supporters. This was a public knowledge during the Martial Law. I think without the abusive PC under Ramos, Martial law under Marcos would be different and it could had been more peaceful and properly implemented as intended by the Framers of the Phil Constitution.

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