Forgive Japan, forgive Marcos, says lawyer
The Philippines forgave Japan for its wartime atrocities, so it is time to forgive strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos too.
Estelito P. Mendoza, longtime Marcos solicitor general and legal counsel, said it was “undeniable” that Marcos was among the soldiers who fought during the Fall of Bataan in World War II.
Mendoza said in an interview that this made Marcos eligible for burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani, which was intended to be the resting place for soldiers who served during the war.
“If we insist on remembering what happened under Marcos, we should also remember what most kids do not know what happened in the Philippines during the time of the Japanese and who… defended the country,” he said in Filipino.
Mendoza said if Japan was forgiven, Marcos should be too.
“Even those who were there during the time of the Japanese… are now visiting Japan happily and [have] reconciled [with the enemy]. Why couldn’t we, as a nation, reconcile when it comes to our beliefs?” he said.
Mendoza was solicitor general from 1972 to 1986. After Marcos was exiled to Hawaii, Mendoza was one of the lawyers who represented the dictator’s family in petitioning the Supreme Court to allow them to return to the Philippines.
On Sept. 15, 1989, the high court, in Marcos v Manglapus, voted 8-7 to uphold President Corazon Aquino’s decision not to allow the return of the Marcoses for national security reasons.
Mendoza said, citing information from Marcos’ daughter Imee, that even the Ramos administration that allowed the strongman’s remains to be brought to the Philippines provided it was buried in Batac, Ilocos Norte, Marcos’ hometown, hinged on national security considerations.
But Mendoza said President Duterte, in allowing Marcos’ burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani, “might no longer see any national security issue.”
Mendoza said that if those opposing Marcos’ burial at Libingan would like to forget the dictator, transferring the strongman’s remains to the cemetery would make that happen.
“Let me ask you: Which president do you remember is buried at Libingan ng mga Bayani? Do you even remember anyone?” he said.
The Supreme Court is currently hearing seven petitions from victims of human rights violations who oppose Marcos’ burial at Libingan.
It is scheduled to hear on Wednesday, in the second round of oral arguments the side of the Duterte administration and the Marcos family. Vince F. Nonato
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