Militant solon backs ‘principled alliance’ with Duterte
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate on Friday said the Makabayan bloc remains vigilant of its “principled alliance” with President Rodrigo Duterte, especially with the latter’s decision to give the dictator Ferdinand Marcos a hero’s burial.
In a statement, Zarate said while it is a member of the administration coalition in the House of Representatives, the Makabayan bloc has opposed Duterte’s position on the Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB), recently given the green light by the Supreme Court.
“Our principled alliance with the Duterte admin is not predicated on one single issue or program alone. From day one of his presidency, we have already engaged Pres. Duterte and have opposed his decision to allow Marcos burial at LNMB,” Zarate said.
The Mindanao lawmaker said the Makabayan bloc led the filing of petitions assailing the Duterte administration’s instructions to transfer Marcos to the military-run cemetery.
In granting Marcos’ burial, the Supreme Court said there was no grave abuse of discretion on the part of Duterte when he ordered to give Marcos a hero’s burial as a former president and soldier.
“We held protest actions, filed resolutions in Congress and sued the Duterte administration to stop the Marcos [hero’s] burial. We will continue to oppose President Duterte and the Supreme Court ruling favoring the Marcoses,” Zarate said.
Zarate said the Makabayan took a position against the Marcoses “despite alliance with his administration on other pro-people and patriotic policies and programs.”
“We supported Duterte because of his pro-people and progressive programs, like his stand on ending contractualization, appointment of progressive in his Cabinet, pursuit of an independent foreign policy, the release of political prisoners and the resumptions of the peace talks, among others,” Zarate said.
To align with the Left, Duterte appointed members of militant groups to his Cabinet—Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano, National Anti-Poverty Commission chairperson Liza Maza and Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor chairperson Terry Ridon.
The administration also resumed peace talks with the communist-led National Democratic Front.
“We supported President Duterte knowing fully well of his unprogressive pronouncements and programs, which we will continue to constructively engage with him,” Zarate said.
Zarate made the statement after the Makabayan bloc filed House Resolution 197 urging Congress to oppose Marcos’ hero’s burial “for being a grave travesty of justice, and monumental historical distortion tantamount to declaring as a hero a dictator.”
The Makabayan’s resolution listed the following human rights violations during the Marcos’ martial law regime—3,257 killed, 35,000 tortured, 70,000 incarcerated, 737 Filipinos “disappeared” from 1976 to 1983.
Of those killed or tortured, at least 2,250 or 77 percent of all victims were summarily executed or salvaged, the resolution read.
“Many were tortured, mutilated and dumped on roadsides for public display to create widespread fear. Marcos and his family have never acknowledged these grave violations and have never apologized to the Filipino people up to the present,” the resolution read.
The resolution also said that Marcos bloated the country’s foreign debt—from below $1 billion when he assumed office in 1966, to $28 billion when Marcos was ousted by a people’s uprising in 1986.
Citing the independent think tank IBON Foundation, the foreign debt under the Marcos’ regime would be shouldered by Filipino taxpayers until 2025, the resolution read.
“With his legacy of plunder, corruption, human rights violations, puppetry and flawed economic policies, Marcos does not deserve a hero’s burial. Thus, government must put an end to the issue, oppose the proposal and validate the injustices made to millions of Filipinos, in turn affirming that crimes against the nation will not be tolerated and taken lightly,” the resolution read. RAM/rga
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