Patriotism is good, and is cool, to many. We want to get a piece of history, be part of history. But as taught by the great Sun Tzu, we need pick our battles wisely. Especially when fighting for someone else’s battle. When it cannot be won. When it no longer serves a purpose.
A disclaimer – I am not pro-Marcos. I knew Ferdinand E. Marcos wasn’t a hero. He doesn’t deserve an honorable burial, not fit for even a square inch of space at Libingan Ng Mga Bayani. Many will agree with me, and many do not.
For more than 27 years this has been the debate which divided a nation. The victims of Marcos’ martial law are still seeking for justice, the Filipino people are still deprived of the billions stolen from them. On the other hand, the Ferdinand Marcos family have returned from exile, his wife Imelda the former first lady with a thousand pair of shoes and their children are back in politics – a symbol of being in power again. Worse, Ferdinand was just buried in the cemetery reserved only for heroes.
How did all these happen? Like a thief in the night. Should we hold Duterte accountable for the Marcos burial and the return to power of the Marcoses? Blame the Supreme Court for such shameful decision?
Are protests against the Marcos burial justified? With posters and placards expressing disgust like “#MarcosIsNotAHero”, “Magnanakaw”, “Ukinam Marcos”, “Pakyu Po”, “Duterte Tuta Ni Marcos”, students and kids even joined the protests passionately chanting “Marcos is no hero!”
While we all are entitled to express our voices through peaceful rallies, here are my reasons why I am not joining:
1. Political posturing.
Duterte was clear during the campaign period that if elected, he will allow the burial of Marcos at the LNMB. He said this issue has been dividing our country and need to be finally addressed. Some say it’s “bayad utang”, maybe, but I also see it as political will. At some point in our “funny” history, someone has to have the balls to make that decision regardless of political repercussions.
Those who opposed the burial at LNMB, including 2 Aquino Presidents failed miserably to address this issue, for one obvious reason, Politics. Heck, there was even a resolution filed in Congress in 2011 (House Resolution 1135) urging the PNoy administration to allow the burial of Marcos at the LNMB where many Liberal Party congressmen signed!
Whether you like it or not, the Marcos issue was no longer about the quest for justice and to recover hidden wealth but political posturing. Still in doubt? How about the more than 14 million votes Bongbong Marcos got last elections for the VP spot? That number can already send a dozen people to Congress and the Senate, and is almost enough to elect a President!
2. Inaction, Incompetence. Sin of Omission.
Cory knew Marcos wanted to return to the Philippines. Her successor, Fidel V. Ramos allowed that to happen and the Marcoses have made it clear that they wanted the former President to be buried at Libingan Ng Mga Bayani.
But nothing was done to prevent this. Another Aquino became president and for 6 years, yet nothing was done to even just add another impediment to the AFP regulation (which was signed by Cory herself!) to make sure Marcos won’t be eligible to be buried at the LNMB. PNoy even legitimized Marcos’ “hero status” by allowing his Medal of Valor displayed at the AFP Halls of Heroes!
A simple statement like “If ousted by people’s revolt/people power, a President shall not be buried at LNMB” or “If accused of graft and corruption at the time of death, a President shall not be buried at LNMB until cases filed are dismissed in court.” Tapos!
Any Congressman or Senator could have filed a bill to make the amendment, but no one dared. They are either simply playing politics, or ignorant, or lazy, or just don’t care. But you see them NOW, playing the citizens’ champions against Duterte’s or the Supreme Court’s “abuse of authority” and lack of sensibility! Porbida!
3. Rule of Law.
Despite having the discretion to allow the burial of Marcos at the LNMB, Duterte turned to the Supreme Court to decide on the matter. This is to show everyone he values the legal opinion of the highest magistrates of the land. After all, the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of the law, the very essence of our democracy.
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court decided in favor of the burial of Marcos at the LNMB, 9-5 with one abstention. Personally, I don’t like the decision. I was hoping there was a legal way to stop PRRD from allowing it. But as a citizen and someone who loves his country, the patriot in me should respect the rule of law by abiding by the decision.
Going back to the earlier question – are protests then justified to show our disgusts? Of course, by all means, we all should! But our protests should be directed at the circumstances and the people who have allowed this to happen in the first place.
- To the grossly incompetent lawmakers, who are currently riding the issue, yet, did nothing to prevent this burial from happening.
- To the previous administrations, who were too busy playing with politics they’ve neglected to act on the issue, and even failed in prosecuting the Marcoses on the cases filed by the Martial Law victims
We should know our battles. Do not allow those who have hidden sinister motives to use us. Let them fight for their own lofty ambitions.
We should spare the children from people with political agenda. Let us teach them to respect our institutions, respect the rule of law. I hope we don’t give them the wrong message – that if an institution like the Supreme Court decides on matters not popular and do not conform with our expectations, it is okay to protest and shame the institution.
It is #MisplacedPatriotism. Real patriotism is supporting your country all of the time and your government when it deserves it [Mark Twain], and challenge it when it is wrong. The Supreme Court has decided. It’s when the demarcation between right or wrong is made.
I am not joining the anti-Marcos LNMB burial rallies, but I will make sure my protest is put into action – by making sure grossly incompetent people are NOT ELECTED ever again. NEVER AGAIN!
“With all the various groups who act as if they have a right to win… where the idea started gaining acceptance that people who felt aggrieved don’t have to follow the rules or even the law.“No justice, no peace!” was a slogan that found resonance. Like so many slogans, it sounds good if you don’t stop and think – and awful if you do.Almost by definition, everybody thinks their cause is just. Does that mean nobody has to obey the rules? That is called anarchy.” [Thomas Sowell]
Your comments are welcome. Pardon for the grammar.