‘Without closure, there’s no moving on’ | Inquirer News

‘Without closure, there’s no moving on’

Historian says hero’s burial for Marcos will haunt us

A PROTESTER wearing a Marcos mask makes public his sentiments against the ex-President. Eloisa Lopez

A PROTESTER wearing a Marcos mask makes public his sentiments against the ex-President. Eloisa Lopez

HISTORY, particularly as far as the martial law years are concerned, is something one should study and remember, not bury and forget.

“How can you move on when there’s no closure there?” asked historian Ricardo Jose, dean of the University of the Philippines’ Third World Studies.


“It can always come back to haunt you and that’s the problem. They say we can close [this chapter]. But not as long as you still have things that are not resolved like the martial law victims [and] the fake war records. There’s no closure there and you can’t move on even if the young ones say that,” Jose said.


Jose was one of the guest speakers at the Citizens’ Assembly against the Marcos Burial in Libingan ng mga Bayani held on Sunday at Rizal Park (See related story on Page 1). A multisectoral rally protesting the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the resting ground for heroes and presidents, the Manila police said it drew around 1,800 people at its peak—despite the wet weather.

Sharing Jose’s sentiment was Aida Santos, a former activist and member of Claimants 1081, a group of martial law victims who filed and won a class suit against Marcos. According to her, should Duterte make good on his promise to bury Marcos at Libingan, it would pave the way for the Marcoses’ comeback.

Never again

“I can’t take it if they lord it over us again. We cannot move on. History is unfinished. It repeats itself. I don’t believe that you should leave history alone because it’s finished. History is an active, continuing event and struggle,” Santos said.

In the middle of a heavy downpour, it seemed like water cannons were being trained on the protestors—except that this time, the people were armed with jackets, raincoats and umbrellas.

And notwithstanding the serious issue at hand that involves the daunting task of getting Mr. Duterte to change his mind, the protestors looked like they were just enjoying a lazy Sunday in the park.


It helped that the program for the gathering had a tight sequence guide to avoid long-winded speeches. At one point, while speaking, Santos said as an aside: “I know, I have two more minutes.”

Poking fun at Bongbong

Another ex-activist turned filmmaker, Joel Lamangan, quipped that even the heavens were tearing up with buckets of rain in sympathy with the significance of the rally. While admitting that he was also teary-eyed at the sight of aging comrades, Lamangan poked fun at the Marcoses’ attempt to get back in Malacañang, saying in an incredulous tone: “One of them even ran as vice president… and nearly won!”

A well-applauded speech was that of former National Economic Development Authority head and Inquirer columnist Solita Monsod; she debunked with official data the revisionist claim—circulated on social media during the election campaign—that the country enjoyed its “golden years” under Marcos.

Former House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman told the crowd that he had petitioned the Supreme Court to look into the burial plan—and he won’t stop until he gets a favorable ruling.

The crowd—whom organizers had requested to wear white—included personalities identified with the left, former government officials, incumbent and newly elected senators and representatives, veterans of the “parliament of the streets,” students, young professionals, ordinary workers, families and other concerned citizens.

The youngest protestor, however, was curly-haired 7-year-old Bella Pimentel who told the Inquirer: “[Marcos is] not a hero. He’s a dictator.” “I want my daughter to realize you cannot gloss over injustice. It’s important for her to know that rule of law exists,” her mother, Tina, said.

Jose, meanwhile, cited three reasons for people’s poor memory about the martial law years. First, no one rigorously researched or taught about it right after the Filipinos kicked the Marcoses out of Malacañang, he said. Second, it was often taught in political science subjects and in the context of human rights abuses with only a few teaching it using the historical perspective.

Third, the failure to record the experiences and struggles of key personalities before they passed away prevented Filipinos from making the issue contemporary, Jose said.

Clueless new generation

“Now you have a new generation here who does not know anything about martial law and are exposed to the internet which has lots of falsehoods,” he added.

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To make up for it, Jose said he was setting up a website about the Marcos years which can be used as a reference by those who wish to study history.

TAGS: Marcos burial, Martial law, Metro, News

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