Villegas to Marcoses: Don’t use the dead for your ambitions
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines President Archbishop Socrates Villegas has called on the family of deposed tyrant Ferdinand Marcos to stop using the corpse of their patriarch to advance their ambitions.
Opposing Marcos’ controversial burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Villegas said what the late dictator needed were prayers and not honors.
“Nananawagan ako sa pamilya ng yumaong Ferdinand Marcos. Huwag sanang gamitin ng mga buhay ang bangkay ng yumao para sa kani-kanilang pangarap at ambisyon. Sa katayuan ng yumaong Ferdinand Marcos hindi na niya kailangan ang parangal sa libingan. Ang kailangan niya ay dasal. Hindi madaragdagan ang kanyang kapayapaan sa kabilang buhay sa pamamagitan ng puntod sa Libingan ng mga Bayani,” Villegas said in a strongly worded speech during a prayer rally in Dagupan City last Wednesday.
(I call on the Marcos family—that they may not use the dead to advance their interests and ambitions. Ferdinand Marcos doesn’t need funeral honors. What he needs are prayers. Burying him at the heroes’ cemetery will not bring him more peace.)
“Ang pinakamahalagang parangal sa yumao ay hindi isang magandang puntod. Mas mahalaga ang panalangin kaysa sa marangyang libingan (The highest honor you can pay the dead is not a grandiose tombstone, but prayers),” he added.
Villegas was a protégé of the late Manila Archbishop Jaime Cardinal Sin, who played an instrumental role in gathering Filipinos at the historic 1986 Edsa People Power Revolution that toppled the Marcos dictatorship.
Alluding to the clandestine burial that sparked protests throughout the country, Villegas said true honors for the dead are being given and not demanded, adding that true heroes are recognized and declared by the people and not any cemetery.
“Ang parangal sa yumao ay iginagawad nang kusa, hindi pinagpipilitang ibigay. Ang parangal sa yumao ay hinihintay na ipagkaloob hindi ipinaglalaban na makuha kahit ano ang mangyari. Ang tunay na marangal ay hindi natatakot sa liwanag ng katotohanan hindi nagtatago palihim. Ang parangal sa patay ay biyaya ng bayan hindi bunga ng labanan ng abugado. Ang parangal na pinilit ay mapakla. Ang parangal na ipinagpilitang makuha ay nakakasuka,” Villegas said.
(True honor for the dead is accorded voluntarily. True honor is not afraid of the light of the truth. True honor is a nation’s gift to its heroes, not a product of a legal tussle. A forced honor is bitter.)
The Lingayen-Dagupan archbishop also urged the Marcoses to ask for forgiveness for the sins committed by their patriarch and to return the family’s ill-gotten wealth to the government. The Marcos family allegedly stole $10 billion from public coffers during the late dictator’s two-decade regime.
“Para sa mga pamilyang naiwanan, ang dapat gawin ay ihingi ng tawad ang kasalanan ng yumao. Lahat naman ng yumao ay nangangailangan ng kapatawaran. Ibalik ang ninakaw na mana. Iwasto ang pagkakamali. Ang awa ng Diyos ay naghihintay sa lahat ng taong mababang loob at nagsisisi,” Villegas said.
(To the family, what they should do is to ask forgiveness for the sins of the deceased. All of the departed need forgiveness. Return the ill-gotten wealth. The mercy of God awaits those who are humble and repentant.)
“Ang bayang nag-rarally ay handa namang magpatawad, bakit hindi? Subalit ang pagpapatawad ay hindi maaaring pagpapaubaya sa masama; hindi pagyakap sa pananakit at pandarambong. Ang pagbabayad pinsala sa masama; ang kabayaran sa pinsala; ang paghingi ng tawad sa kasalanan—ang mga ito ay kailangan upang mapatawad, wika ni San Juan Pablo II,” he added.
(But forgiveness should not just surrender to evil ways—to oppression and plundering. A reparation for all the damages caused by wrongdoings and apology for sins, these are needed to be forgiven.)
Expressing his support for the nationwide protests against the burial, Villegas called on the Filipino youth to never forget the lessons of history and to remain vigilant against any attempt of revisionism.
“Ang paglimot sa kahapon ay isang malaking kakulangan ng ating panahon. Kailangan nating alamin ang kahapon upang maitaguyod ang makabuluhang kinabukasan, sabi naman ni Pope Francis. Bayan ang humihirang sa bayani hindi ang libingan. Ang tunay na bayani ay bayani kahit saan ilibing. Ang huwad ay huwad kahit igawa ng monument,” he said.
(To forget the past is one of the greatest shortcomings of our time. We should know the past in order to establish a meaningful future… Heroes are recognized by the nation, not a cemetery. A true hero is a hero wherever he is buried. A fake one will always be fake even if you build him a monument).
“Mga kabataan, alamin ninyo ang kasaysayan. Huwag mag palinlang sa mga may masamang pangnanasa na pagandahin ang pangit at madilim na nakalipas. Magbantay laban sa sinungaling! Manalangin at manindigan,” Villegas added.
(To the youth, take your history to heart. Don’t be fooled by any sinister attempt to beautify a dark, ugly past. Be vigilant against the liars. Pray and stand for what you believe in.)
Marcos’ secrecy-shrouded interment at the heroes’ cemetery, which saw full military honors for the late dictator, drew widespread protests in the past weeks. Last Friday, protesters led by students and young professionals trooped to Manila’s Rizal Park for a “Black Friday” gathering. JE/rga
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