Archbishop backs Catholics who will join anti-Marcos protests
MANILA — Saying the country must never forget Martial Law, Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas is backing Catholics who will join the protests on Wednesday against the burial of dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
In a statement posted on the blog of the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan, the prelate reminded Filipinos that they should never forget the dark moments of the Marcos regime.
“If you think joining the rally is necessary and is part of one’s duty as a Christian, I enjoin you to do so with my blessing,” Villegas said in Filipino.
The message was meant for the Archdiocese of Lingayen-Dagupan and was not issued in his capacity as president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
Church bells in his archdiocese will toll for five minutes every 6 p.m. from November 30 to December 2.
On Wednesday (Nov. 30), anti-Marcos forces are scheduled to hold another rally protesting the burial of deposed dictator Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani last Nov. 18.
The protest will be held at the People Power Monument in Quezon City. It may be recalled that last Friday, a similar protest attended by thousands of Filipinos was held at the Luneta.
Villegas has been vocal in objecting to Marcos’ burial at the heroes’ cemetery, which was hastily and secretly carried out after the Supreme Court voted to uphold President Duterte’s decision allowing the burial but before protesters could file a motion for reconsideration.
Last week, he took part in a prayer rally protesting the interment of the late dictator.
In his message to his flock, the prelate noted that in any rally or protest, one’s resolve should come from heartfelt concern and not revenge.
“Let us talk about issues and principles, and avoid invectives and putting down our fellow man who may have different beliefs. We are looking for truth with love. Let us not destroy one another,” Villegas said.
He also urged parents to tell the real history of the Marcos dictatorship, and not to change the ugly truth about it.
“To forget those who died during Martial Law is to forget their heroism,” he added.
Villegas also lauded the country’s youth, who have come together to protest the burial amidst misconceptions that millenials did not care for such issues.
The prelate called on Filipinos to pray that the country’s problems be solved soon in a peaceful, humble and healing manner.
“Do not forget, take a stand, and be involved. Do not let freedom escape us again,” he added. SFM/rga
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