Martial law survivors to gatecrash 100th birthday anniversary of Marcos
Survivors of the dictatorship of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos will gatecrash his 100th “birthday party” on Monday at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.
The Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (Carmma) and the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda) will hold a protest program at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, where the dictator’s remains now lie and where the Marcoses have announced they would celebrate their patriarch’s 100th birth anniversay.
The event at the military-run public cemetery is not open to the public or even for media coverage.
“As far as I can remember, it is only now we will protest on the birthday of Makoy,” Bonifacio Ilagan, Carmma spokesperson told the Inquirer in Filipino in a phone interview. “Normally, we don’t even recognize it.”
Makoy is a nickname commonly used by Filipinos, anti-Marcos activist or not, to refer to the late president.
But the groups’ outrage have been stoked further after President Rodrigo Duterte issued a proclamation last week making Sept. 21, the late dictator’s birthday, a holiday in Ilocos Norte, Marcos’s home province.
“We were surprised,” Ilagan admitted, even if their group had earlier slammed Duterte for his active part in the political rehabilitation of the erstwhile exiled Marcos family.
Ilagan conceded that Ilocos Norte was bound to already recognize the strongman’s birthday as a local holiday. But he said there was an implied attempt to make the commemoration national “now the President has underscored it.”
“We won’t be surprised if he turns it into a national holiday next,” Ilagan said.
He added that Duterte seemed to be “in cahoots” with the Marcoses in their bid to return to power, Ilagan said.
He cited several reason for this observation:
- Duterte’s proclamation of Sept 21 as a holiday in Ilocos Norte
- his admission that the Marcoses had donated to his presidential campaign
- his moves to allow the dictator’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani
- his implementation of martial law in Mindanao in the vein of Marcos’ martial law declaration
- his revelation that he had recent talks with the Marcos family to facilitate the return of suspected ill-gotten wealth in exchange for their “immunity”
“How else would we explain his affinity for the Marcoses?” Ilagan said of Duterte, whose own mother, ironically, was a staunch anti-Marcos activist in Davao City.
Ilagan also pointed to Duterte’s “emulation and fascination with Marcos ideology.”
“We can see the similarities,” Ilagan said, noting Duterte’s “strongman” tactics, his profession of having “the best intentions for the people and the country,” and his vehement responses to criticism.
“It really is disconcerting to say the least, especially to victims of martial law,” said Ilagan, who was himself detained and tortured during the Marcos dictatorship.
“Everything we fought for in the 1986 uprising on Edsa has been nullified,” he said. “Even the essence [Martial Law Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013] as been set aside by the continuing actions of the President all leading to the rehabilitation of the Marcoses. He has only been giving recognition to the Marcoses.”
Ilagan appealed to the public to keep to the fight against “truth versus lies,” for “justice against plunderers.”
“The basic message we want to impart to people is to not to forget history,” he said. “We have to learn lessons of history… Everybody wants change, but change has to start with a recognition of what we experienced in the past otherwise we will simply be repeating the tragedies of history.” /atm
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