They want democracy buried, not Marcos



I cannot say how long the small, scattered marches against the burial of Marcos’s remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani can go on. But even if they should grow into massive crowds and cover the entire archipelago, I do not believe they would be addressing the most important question for our country’s future. Whether or not Marcos is or was a hero is not the most important question for us Filipinos. Whether we should become a free and prosperous, God-fearing democracy or a wretched Godless communist dictatorship is. This should be our main concern, from which we cannot be distracted.

Marcos has been dead for 27 years. According to our Christian faith, he is now in God’s hands. Human vanity must yield. God alone awards the honors with justice. If God chooses to crown mortal man in glory, it does not matter if all the millennials and their arrogant professors call him shit. If on the other hand, if God chooses to damn him, all the earthly praises and honors heaped upon him will mean nothing.

No state rites

As far as the law is concerned, Marcos’s remains should be buried, and remain buried, where the law allows them to be buried, without making him a hero or accusing him of wanting to be treated as one. A hero’s burial is always a solemn state ceremony, but Marcos’s remains were buried by the Marcos family in private rites, “precipitately and surreptitiously,” as Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman puts it. Since not even his family is claiming Marcos is or was a hero, there is no quarrel with those who are saying he was and is no hero and should therefore not be buried as one. But they apparently wanted to create a strawman so that they would have something to tear apart and bring down.

Why? Why this tumultous pandemonium and thunder? What distraction are they trying to create, and from what, and from whom? We cannot avoid this question. There are several possible answers.

Motives for distraction

DU30 has his drug war and extrajudicial killings. More than 700,000 “users” have surrendered and are now detained, awaiting rehabilitation. Close to 5,000 suspects have been killed while resisting arrest or while already under detention, as in the case of Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte. The killings continue,
and the police commanders are given quotas of dead bodies to fill.

Second, Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. has his communist revolutionary dictatorship project under the Kilusang Pagbabago to pursue. He has just begun, and he cannot afford any focused public scrutiny of his project. A noisy distraction on a sensational issue would be to his advantage.

Third, the CPP/NPA/NDF has its peace agreement to conclude without conceding anything to the Government, while it insists on the release of all political prisoners, among other things, as a precondition for a ceasefire agreement. With a loud noise on a sensational issue in the streets, the negotiations between the communist or communist-influenced members of the Cabinet and the NDF could proceed indoors to discuss the terms of surrender of the Government, without committing the CPP/NPA to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate into the government forces.

With the noise barrage focused on Marcos and the “evils of martial law,” there may be no time to ask the CPP/NPA/NDF, now that they have become a de facto coalition partner of DU30, what made them force Marcos to declare martial law. In particular, there may no longer be any opportunity to examine at close range the role played by the CPP/NPA/NDF when they bombed the Liberal Party rally at Plaza Miranda on August 21, 1971 and precipitated the suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus, and when they set into motion all the violence that led to the declaration of martial law.

Ideally, if we could forget Marcos for a while, we and the angry anti-Marcos crowd should concentrate on the CPP/NPA/NDF issue, even at the risk of eventually finding Marcos a victim, like the rest of the society, rather than as the enemy. By asking ourselves the right questions about the communist threat we could perhaps influence the course of activism in our midst. Only then could we understand our messed-up history. Only then could we expect a catharsis for all those caught in the controversy.

An episode in Singapore

In Cory Aquino’s time, I once sat in a forum in Singapore on what happened in the Philippines during the period of martial law. The discussion revolved around the disaparecidos, people who were supposed to have been forcibly “disappeared” by the military. As Marcos’s press secretary, spokesman and information minister from 1969 to 1980, I read the martial law proclamation on Sept. 23, 1972, and engaged its critics every day. I resigned from the Cabinet six years before Marcos fell; but then, as now, I thought that many of the things blamed on martial law should properly be blamed on those who had made martial law necessary.

The abuses of martial law became possible because, and after, the communists made martial law necessary. To the communist armed rebellion, the military response had been costly to both parties. Perhaps as many partisans perished in party “purges” as in running gun battles with the military. But there were acts for which the government was pilloried, despite its total non-involvement. This was a particular propaganda tactic, which the communists exploited at the bombing of Plaza Miranda. They threw the grenades, killing nine and wounding close to a hundred others, then accused Marcos of bombing the rally.

Recalling Plaza Miranda

Marcos, who had no palpable benefit to be gained from it, insisted the communists did it. But the public was more disposed to believe the enemy propaganda. It took years before the victims finally recognized that, indeed, the communists did it. The late former Senate President Jovito Salonga, who lost an eye from the blast and recently passed away, said that the late former Senator Benigno Aquino Jr., who was the only high LP official absent at the rally, “had something to do with it.”

Unfortunately, there was never a closure to the Plaza Miranda bombing nor to the crimes that led to the proclamation of martial law. The government entered into peace negotiations with the CPP/NPA/NDF without clearing the deck on these incidents. Thus, top personalities involved were allowed to exercise major roles in the negotiations without first having to make amends for their offenses. This is the very opposite of what they would like to do to Marcos. They would like to punish him beyond the grave, for things he had already paid for when he was ousted. In contrast, Joma Sison has not even been interrogated about his role in Plaza Miranda or in the spate of violence that precipitated martial law.

One famous martial law “disappearance” involved a well-known Jesuit priest named Luis Jalandoni, S.J. and a religious sister named Consuelo Ledesma. Both came from rich families and were highly regarded and well-loved within and beyond their respective family circles and religious communities. They suddenly went missing one day, and their disappearance was instantly blamed on Marcos. Most everyone believed it. If anyone had suggested that they had been liquidated, they would have promptly blamed it on Marcos too.

But a few years later, Father Jalandoni and Sister Connie surfaced in Utrecht, Netherlands, not as Catholic missionaries, but reportedly as spouses, identified with the National Democratic Front. When the Soviet Union fell and the Cold War ended in 1991, Louie Jalandoni, together with founding chairman Jose Maria “Joma” Sison of the Communist Party of the Philippines, became one of the last few remaining communist holdouts in Europe. He became a Dutch citizen, but remains a top official of the NDF.

They knew but did not tell

So in Singapore, I referred to this case as one reason I could not take any claim levelled by the CPP/NPA/NDF against Marcos at face value. Challenged by that remark, the conference chair turned to the next Filipino participant—-a Jesuit bishop who had since passed away—-for help. “What’s the real story here, Bishop? Did the Jesuits know that Marcos had nothing to do with the disappearances, and that the priest and the nun had in fact flown the coop to Utrecht?”

“Of course, we knew,” said the bishop of happy memory.

“How come you never made it public?” the chair asked.

“Ah, we did not want to help Marcos!” the bishop said.

This story becomes relevant as one listens with excruciating pain to the angry young men and women trying to gloss over the communist rebellion which Marcos had decided to confront with martial law. Martial law was probably not the ideal or perfect response to Joma Sison’s and Commander Dante’s armed rebellion. But it was the best available weapon under the 1935 Constitution, “in case of invasion, insurrection or rebellion, or imminent danger thereof, when the public safety requires it.”

The young men and women who were not yet around then would be well advised to inquire how close we had come to becoming a communist state then. They would then be more prudent in declaring that martial law was a criminal response to a non-existent threat, or that Marcos had lost the right to have his remains buried at the Libingan for making use of that constitutional response. They would then see that the burial of Marcos’s remains, whatever its perceived impropriety, cannot possibly eclipse or supersede the gravity of the threat presented by Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco’s plan to create a communist dictatorship or DU30’s coalition program with the CPP/NPA/NDF.

What if Marcos did not declare martial law?

To his worst critics, Marcos may be no better and no worse than the common run of strongmen who used rebellions and national emergencies to extend themselves in office. Staying in power for 20 years instead of simply eight was the consequence of the communist rebellion and martial law. Many have gone so far as to suggest that Marcos’s only intention in proclaiming martial law was precisely to stay in power beyond his constitutional term limit, as if the communist rebellion did not exist and he had to invent it to provide the casus belli.

This was the spoken dream of the late Ninoy Aquino, who loudly told his friends in the foreign press that should be become president, (after Marcos), the first thing he would do was to declare martial law and put the Philippines on the same footing as South Korea under Park Chung Hee. In fact, until Marcos acted and had him arrested, he continually chided Marcos for not having the courage to declare martial law.

Now, far too many Filipinos, and even outsiders, believe that the Philippines would have become a communist state by now had Marcos not acted as he did and when he did against the communists. Thus, if Marcos owes the nation any enduring apology, it should not be for his having imposed martial law but rather for his having failed to use martial law to extinguish the communist menace, as Lee Kuan Yew did in Singapore, and Suharto did in Indonesia. Because he failed to do so, the communists are now openly moving to take over our Republic, with the perceived support of the constitutionally elected President, after communism had lost the Cold War and failed everywhere else in the world.

We are about to lose our democracy and our country, but the best hope of our land could only see the perils of burying in his grave the long-dead Marcos.


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  1. To his worst critics, Marcos may be no better and no worse than the common run of strongmen who used rebellions and national emergencies to extend themselves in Sec.Kit Tatad

    Bury the dictator wherever they want to but never again that another Marcos ever put their filthy hand on my Philippines again. Bury him wherever they want but never bury and never forget his tyrannical rules and plunder of the Philippines.

    The opinion writer make it seem that the dictator was after peace and order in the country, He forgot that one of the triumvirate for the declaration of martial ( Marcos, Ver and Enrile), recount the pretext of martial law was the fake ambush at Wack Wack. The dictator wanted to stay in power that he already plan to declare martial law as early as ,May 17, 1969, when he address the PMA assoc. He hinted that one of his favorite mental exercise,is a scenario wherein he declare suspension of the writ of habeas corpus or martial law in 5 minutes by answering 5 questions. Again in the dictator’s own diary, he wrote on September 14, 1972, he had informed the military that he would proceed to declare martial law, This was also expose in a privileged speech by Sen. Ninoy Aquino as Oplan Sagittarius. Even the US embassy knew on September 17, 1972 about the plan. The fruit is in the pudding, Marcos has alway maintain September 21(signed proclamation 1081 declaring martial law) as the National Thanksgiving day by virtue of proclamation to memorialize the New Society (KBL). In his diary, he wrote he just finished writing the preparation for the Proclamation 1081 at 8 PM with his cabinetmember. Then the pretext to martial law on the evening of September 22, 1972 , JPE was ambush at Wack Wack. This is even noted handwritten by the dictator himself September 22, 1072 @ 9:55 PM. The proclamation of martial was signed on September 23, 1972.

    The opinion writer claim that martial law was declared to promote normalcy in the country. The writer has claimed peace and prosperity was obtained but martial law still continue. The dictator would not relinquish his his obsession for power and greed. He noted in his secret diary, “I am president. I am the most powerful man in the Philippines. All that I have dreamt of I have. More accurately, I have all the material things I want of life — a wife who is loving and is a partner in the things I do, bright children who will carry my name, a life well lived — all. But I feel a discontent.”— Ferdinand Marcos

    I subscribe to the all readers Marcos was never for the filipino . He is for himself and his cohort wife, Imelda and his children Thank you

  2. A very insightful article coming from a person who have witness mostly everything. Clearly the Liberals are only using these millennials to be they’re Canon fodders to facilitate their greedy plans in politics. I couldn’t imagine christian student coming from a christian school carrying a placard saying “exhume a Marcos corpse”. Politics is already a dirty game but brainwashing the youth is more than evil. In this modern day age of technology, people are lucky enough that truth still exist through social media. Its just a matter of discernment to differentiate good vs evil.

  3. The reason why the culprit behind the Plaza Miranda bombing was never found is because of the cowardice of Liberal Party Senators who refused to find out who threw the bomb at them for fear that another bomb will be thrown at them should they attempt to find out. We should credit the late Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr. for being a good psychologist since he was the one who planned and executed the bombing. He knew that Liberal Party senators are just cowards who cannot stand for the truth. Our present Senators inherited the cowardice of these Liberal Party Senators back then. They impeached Corona for fear of President Benigno C. Aquino III. Corona was only fighting for the rights of the Senate and the Filipino people but the Senators had no nerve to fight for their rights much less the rights of the Filipino people who elected them to office. Senator de Lima is now showing the same courage demonstrated by Corona by fighting for the rights of the Senate but the Senators are too afraid of President Duterte. I guess the best way to influence our Senators is to do what Senator Benigno S. Aquino Jr. did – throw a grenade at them. It is far more effective and cheaper than pork barrel. It will save the Filipino people billions of pesos bribing the Senators to do something. Fear is the only language they understand. All their talk about patriotism is a sham. Only an exploding grenade will make them come into their senses.

  4. Christ has forgiven a criminal in the calvary. I do not see the logic why cant Filipinos, that rowdy minority, cant let go of that hatred in their hearts. Enough has been said about Marcos. Burying him where he is at does not mean we have ignored the lessons of the past. When we allow pride to overwhelm reason, it is where we tend to stick to the past and find difficulty to move on.

  5. I have a feeling that all the noises of the anti Marcos will not stay long. I am more worried about your accusation that “Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. has his communist revolutionary dictatorship project under the Kilusang Pagbabago to pursue. He has just begun, and he cannot afford any focused public scrutiny of his project. A noisy distraction on a sensational issue would be to his advantage.” You are making it appear that Pres. Duterte’s move of allowing Marcos burial at LNMB is not simply fulfilling his campaign promise but rather to help Sec. Evasco to accomplish his own agenda and turn our Republic into communism. Pres. Duterte care for the people and want a better government for our country but I am sure he will never adopt communism. But maybe you know the details of Sec. Evasco’s Kilusang Pagbabago, so why not write extensively on this so all will be informed and let us be judged if there is something sinister about it.

  6. You said according to your religion marcos should be in gods hands now. Well dont you also say the devil exists so could it be he is now living with the devil. I see a better world of having every country a democracy without religion. To all of you who reply to this paper read the writings of richard dawkins & christopher hitchens. There are also many others who tell you about religion.
    Now is marcos a hero, no of course he isnt well not to any fair minded person. He wasnt for democracy at all, well unless you followed his every word so his democracy. If you opposed him he would have you killed, that isnt a democratic person.

  7. Watch the video, “Interview with former spokesperson of Imelda Marcos regarding President Marcos’ burial, Martial Law.”

    at time 5:11, she said the reason some people could not move on even when Marcos is already dead, is that they could not discern that they are Filipino leftists, communists who fought against the Philippine government; that’s why Marcos imprisoned them.

    See what happened to former leftist Rigoberto Tiglao. He now discerned that Marcos government was right in imprisoning him, because he (Tiglao) fought the Philippine government during his youth.

  8. Mr. Tatad,

    I usually agree with what you write on your columns. But defending Marcos is crap. There’s no excuse for Marcos to cling on to power beyond the 2 terms as president. Beyond that, he connived and cheated so he can stay in power. Shame on him and to all the opportunists who pillaged the country.

    Marcos’ legacy is of corruption, thievery, abuse and cronyism to the highest degree.

  9. A cousin who was a member of Kilusang Mayo Uno (UNO) confided to me that not all accusations against Marcos were true. My cousin was smiling when he related that to me. Nabola tayo ng mga Filipino communists and enemies of Marcos.

  10. If you think you know more, please, write more, talk more. They are trying to write history. I hope you will be there for others to know the truth.

  11. I simply don’t understand why the Duterte administration would go for a communistic government when communism itself is a dead form of government today. How many communist countries in the world are giving up on this system because they now become irrelevant in the modern global economy. Vietnam and China closely make it as a backdrop for the sake of mercantilism. The walls in Germany had been broken down because Germany saw the relevance of an independent commercialized country. With the death of Castro, Cuba might follow soon to pivot towards commercialism. Russia and the Communist bloc in Europe are operating under democratic commercialism under the guise of communism as its bleak shadow. Funny, how Joe Ma and these so called Filipino communists are comfortably nestled and holed up in a non communistic country —the Netherlands! One wonders their ulterior motive of making the Philippines communistic. Pwe!, as my late mother and brother would disgustingly say.

  12. Mr. Mario Magpalo on

    Mr. Tatad is very accurate in saying that PFM’s declaration of martial law during that time saved our country from the clutches of communism, if not for that decisive action, surely at present our nation is at the mercy of the communists. I am a first year college student at PCC now PUP at that time and I witnessed for myself how CPP/NPA/NDF cells were established and operate within Metro Manila. They were very close to clobbering the seat of government power at that time. In fact, some of our professors in PCC at that time were communist cadres well trained from the USSR, one I know was Prof Teodosio Lansang. PCC at that time was a virtual sanctuary for top communist leaders and ideologues and therefore was raided by the government forces and was closed at that time. My point is, we should not use the declaration of martial law by PFM or martial law per se to dehumanize PFM’s burial at the LNMB…only the communists their cohorts and partners will do that.

  13. Continue to expose Senator the game plan of the Communists until sa mabuko sila ng madlang Pilipino so that mahinto po sila.

    On the other hand, as you have said the declaration of Martial Law has a dividend when Marcos imposed it on 1972: It prevents the Philippines from becoming a Communist state as the Communist insurgency have become worse then.

  14. Ow come on yellows, make a full comment contrary to this article by Mr. F.S. Tatad. He is aware of the facts that the history before was known to him … BTW when you have to post against this article, be sure it was supported by any facts that you can gather or else you are only making a story much better to be posted in the regular TABLOID.

  15. vagoneto rieles on

    The young Mr. Tatad was a darling of martial law in its early days. As Marcos’ information officer, he faithfully read the whole declaration just minutes after it was declared. He jumped ship, as he says, six years before the ‘ship finally sunk’ in 1986…making him and his family 14-year beneficiaries of martial law’s ‘blessings’. His treatises on martial law now, which pull readers to view events then from another perspective…no matter how tenuous these may be… are persuasive, seductive and, border on veracity and credibility. To those who were tots then…and, more so, to those who were born after…these products of Mr. Tatad’s computer, could be the definitive truth. Well, it is not. In reality, it is subtle and crafty historical revisionism and ‘negationism’ in its most insidious form.
    To those who have, to this late date, not made up their minds, I’d suggest that testimonies of victims, or their families’, (if they had just disappeared or had failed to come home at some night then), would be more reliable references. Other than this, and to corroborate these testimonies, readings from foreign dispatches during and after martial law would be helpful.
    Those who rabidly protest and oppose the martial law years are victims and, families of victims who are no longer among us. Those who favor and speak in glowing terms of those years, were, or still are, beneficiaries of the largess of those difficult times. There couldn’t be a stronger demarcation line than this.

    • You are correct, those who are protesting are the victims and families of the victims who were most probably communists, leftists and the like. On the other side, the law abiding citizens were in favor of martial law, and they were not necessarily beneficiaries of martial law.

    • I hope also that those who protest will remember those who has been victim of the NPA purges, and will also include in their outcry JUSTICE for the victims both of the Military and the NPA during the martial law. In this way I can see that their is a true seeking of Justice. But what we see is that they want to exhume Marcos but they forget that the other side also committed the same crime as the Military did during the Martial Law period.

  16. The Roman Catholic Church has not changed a bit even after Pope John Paul 2 asked for forgiveness for the atrocities committed by the church during the past where an estimated 50 million people were killed by the church on the name of God.

  17. Yes, there are far too many things all blamed on one person, Marcos. Your column helps in correcting some things that were blamed on Marcos and accepted by the public. We will probably never know what really happened during those years. The main question: Who did what? Will never be answered now. The time for for the truthful answers was when Cory took over. The problem was that she took so many of the Marcos people into her government and she did not know how to run a government. She was told not to look into the past and blame everything on only one man. FVR and Enrile came out clean because no one ever looked at what they had done..

    • as to enrile being cleansed by the 1986 coup, i think ‘santa cory’ hid her hate for enrile and when she found an excuse she had her justice sec by the name of frank drilon cook up a non-existing crime to arrest enrile. i just forgot the crime he was charged with. the court threw out the case by the way she only forgave tabako thus she made him her successor. it just so happen that people forgot that the evils or misdeeds done during martial law were generally committed by the PC, which was headed by no other than tabako himself

  18. These millennials were not even born when martial law was declared and now have taken to the streets to pillory Marcos. There is nothing one can do or say to convince them they have been brainwashed by their school officials and the Yellow media. Maybe later on in life they can do their own research and start thinking for themselves instead of believing every lie that is peddled them by others.

  19. In here is the cause and effect put in the proper perspective makes one’s views not limited only to the immediate facade of events. Unfortunately though then that Marcos labelled anyone that quacks like a communist a communist much like now that Digong is apt to treat anybody who moves like a druggy a druggy.

  20. With the response of that Jesuit priest concerning the priest and nun who cohabitated, Filipinos indeed have a damaged culture. Pwe!

  21. Singapore and Indonesia were able to defeat their communist foes because these were not Western-backed insurgents unlike these Pinoy Commies who are like the Western-backed terrorists fighting Assad in Syria and the terrorists who fought and killed Khadafy of Libya. Why the supposedly Christian West plays this game on us only the devil knows. Its as mysterious as the real reason why the Church led by the Jesuits are pushing the anti-burial exhumation warriors to act like savages. “The difficulty in fighting evil lies in its inherent ability to make itself look good.”


    Very comprehensive.

    The people should realize that the facts presented by Mr. Tatad herein are true and correct.

  23. The anti-FM burial is a preconditioning of people’s mind against the fear of Liberal Party’s anticipation of BBM winning the election protest against Robredo. Once, the verdict of Electoral Tribunal favoring BBM is set before the people, then LP’s venom (hatred) injected to the people will trigger, based on their prevision . Never give LP an inch and they will go for a mile. LP = Lasting Pretenders.

  24. I can call the Take Over a Silent Coup D tat thru the Principle of Election. Undetected but suspicious in nature.
    Why are there no opposition?

  25. Marcos was unable to eliminate the communist and moro rebellions because the US was covertly supporting both the communists and the moro rebels. The US made full use of its military bases in the Philippines and intelligence gathered from “cooperation” with the Philippine military and police to aid the operations of the communist and moro rebels. Today with the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement signed by former president BS Aquino the American military and intelligence troops are all over the Philippines operating without knowledge and control of the Philippine government. They are still helping the rebels create chaos so that they can justify to the Philippine government their continued stay for free in the Philippines. These Americans have trampled upon Philippine sovereignty for more than a hundred years. It is high time that they should be kicked out of our country.

    • Making up history to support your hatred of the US.

      The US should leave and take their BPO jobs back to the US. The US should also stop coming to the rescue anytime a disaster strikes and let the elected government handle it ( Like they handled the Yolanda Typhoon ).

      The US should send all the Filipinos in the US back to the Philippines and blacklist any business with the country due to the Philippines violating human rights same as with North Korea.

      The UN should sanction the Philippines restricting weapons importation and tourist travel into the country.

    • I agree with your comment. US gov’t. was and is playing on both sides to further their interest.

  26. Bukas na ang isipan ng karamihan ng mga Pilipino, at alam na nila ang buong katotohanan.

    just watch the youtube about Marcos and Ninoy, and you can see the positive comments of many people about Marcos.

  27. Mr. Tatad, is Luis Jalandoni the same Fr. Avidicio who disappeared during the Marcos’ administration, but after 6 months, the intelligence officers of Marcos found out that Fr. Avidicio was in Germany with somebody who claimed to be a nun?

    Watch youtube, “President Ferdinand Marcos Philippine Issues September 17, 1982” at time 42:57.