Marcos on pa’s Libingan burial anniversary: ‘No need to forgive’ foes
SAN FRANCISCO — There’s “no need” for him to forgive those who caused his family’s downfall more than three decades ago, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. told reporters here Saturday, the seventh anniversary of his father’s burial at Libingan ng Mga Bayani.
“I don’t need to forgive them, I never blamed them,” said the president who was to fly on Sunday “to visit old friends” in Hawaii, where the Marcoses spent five years in exile after their patriarch’s ouster from Malacanang.
“They don’t need my forgiveness. [But] if they want it, I’ll give it to them,” Marcos said of those who fought against his father’s regime and succeeded through the 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution.
“They fought for their beliefs. And that’s how it turned out. That’s what’s life—well, at least my life—that’s what it’s like,” the President said.
At the climax of the peaceful, four-day uprising, the Marcos family was driven out of the Palace and flown on a US Air Force transport aircraft to Hawaii. The deposed strongman Ferdinand Sr. died there in 1989, and his family was allowed to return to the Philippines in 1991.
The President said he was going to Hawaii to see “really old friends who shared our difficult times together and helped lighten the load.”
On his last day at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit here, he spoke of those who “looked after’’ his family during their “enforced stay” in Hawaii, “the people who fed us, brought us clothes and food … They occupy a special place in my heart.”
As part of his official schedule, Marcos is also meeting the Filipino community in Honolulu. The US island state is home to about 371,000 Filipinos.
He will also have a security briefing with American military officials at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, the headquarters of the US Indo-Pacific Command. The visit to the US military base comes amid fresh tensions between Manila and Beijing over maritime claims in the West Philippine Sea.
Marcos will also join a roundtable discussion at the Daniel K. Inouye Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies.
Protests at Bantayog
In Manila on Saturday, two groups composed of former political detainees during martial law marked the Marcos burial anniversary with a symbolic barricade at Bantayog ng mga Bayani in Quezon City.
Bonifacio Ilagan, convener of the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses and Martial Law (Carmma), said the barricade “symbolizes the clear separation between the masses, who experienced poverty and hunger [during martial law], and the Marcos elites who drowned themselves in wealth that they stole from the people.”
Members of Carmma and Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detention at Aresto (Selda) also offered flowers to honor the “real heroes” of martial law.
While this dark period in the country’s political history happened a long time ago, Ilagan said, “it never really left us.”
He cited the continuing arrest of activists and the suppression of the political opposition. The recent release of former Sen. Leila de Lima on bail, Ilagan said, resulted from a confluence of factors and should not be seen as coming “out of the goodness of [President Marcos’] heart.”
In August 2016, less than two months into his term, then-President Rodrigo Duterte approved a hero’s burial for Marcos Sr. at Libingan in Taguig City in fulfillment of a campaign promise he made in the 2016 elections.
He then justified the burial at the military cemetery by citing the late leader’s service as a former soldier and President.
The move drew strong protests especially from martial law victims, who later questioned it before the Supreme Court.
In November of that same year, the tribunal voted 9-5 to uphold Duterte’s decision.
The secrecy-shrouded burial took place on the morning of Nov. 18, 2016, with Marcos Sr.’s body flown in from Laoag, Ilocos Norte, and given military honors at Libingan.