marcos burial, duterte, history

There are certain things that are better left for history—not this Court—to adjudge. The Court could only do so much in accordance with the clearly established rules and principles. Beyond that, it is ultimately for the people themselves, as the sovereign, to decide, a task that may require the better perspective that the passage of time provides. In the meantime, the country must move on and let this issue rest.”

that’s from the SC ponencia dismissing the petitions against the burial of marcos in the libingan ng mga bayani.  and here’s president duterte in the wake of that:

“Now the question about the dictatorship of Marcos is something which cannot be determined at this time. It has to have history. Kasi ho, ‘yung nasaktan, and it was a contention really of a political fight initially that turned sour because of the power struggle of the ruling political families in this country, and almost it deteriorated into something almost like a revolution. That part of the sins of Marcos has yet to be proven by a competent court. ‘Yung sabihin lang ‘yan nawala ‘yung pera that is altogether another different issue. As far as the right or the privilege to be buried sa Libingan ng mga Bayani, I simply followed the law. Wala tayong magawa diyan. … He was a president and he was a soldier. I am limited to that issue.”

clearly we have a president and nine supreme court justices who think we’re still in the dark ages and history can be written only after some fifty years, when the participants in a life-changing event or period are either dead or suffering from alzheimers or dementia, that is, with faulty or no memories at all, and by then bongbong or imee or one of their kids would be back in the palace and martial law would be celebrated as a golden age and the four days of EDSA ’86 would come down as a 9/11 kind of disaster for nation, as in, you know, a false flag kind of ugly thingy that unjustly interrupted marcos rule.

in fact, martial law pa lang, the martial law story, the unfolding, was already being documented by amnesty international and other human rights groups, and foreign observers were monitoring developments and taking notes, and soon after EDSA, testimonies of the tortured and the families of the salvaged were put on record, and then the books started coming out: primitivo mijares’s The Conjugal Dictatorship written in ’75, cecilio arillo’s Breakaway (1986), james fenton’s Snap Revolution (1986), raymond bonner’s Waltzing with a Dictator (1987), ninotchka rosca’s Endgame: The Fall of Marcos (1987), lewis simon’s Worth Dying For (1987), Dictatorship and Revolution: Roots of People Power edited by aurora javate de dios, petronilo bn. daroy, and lorna kalaw-tirol (1988), sterling seagrave’s The Marcos Dynasty (1988), stanley karnow’s In Our Image (1989), among many many publications into the ’90s, ricardo manapat’s Some Are Smarter Than Others (1991), mark thompson’s The Anti-Marcos Struggle (1996), paul hutchcroft’s Booty Capitalism (1998), alfred mccoy’s Closer Than Brothers (1999), to name a few, tracking not only the stories and numbers of human rights violations but also of the “rise” and fall of the economy, the ballooning of the foreign debt, the crony capitalism, the institutionalized looting, imelda’s jewels and mansions, the swiss accounts, atbpang kahindikhindik at kalunuslunos na mga kaganapan.

never has the marcos camp issued any categorical denials, issue by issue, with supporting documents — just a finger pointed at ver as the culprit in human rights violations, and another at the fabled yamashita treasure as the source of the marcos wealth.  deafening is the silence of FVR, honasan, and lacson on the stories of torture, murder, and disappearances.

president duterte insists that he is only following the law that imelda invokes, the one qualifying marcos, as former president and soldier, for burial in the libingan ng mga bayani, even as he and imelda et al. willfully ignore the exceptions laid down by the very same law.  read associate sc justice antonio carpio’s dissenting opinion:

AFPR G 161-375, which respondents rest on to justify the interment of Marcos at the LNMB, specifically provides that “personnel who were dishonorably separated / reverted/ discharged from the service” are not qualified to the interred at the LNMB. Marcos, who was forcibly ousted form the Presidency by the sovereign act of the Filipino people, falls under this disqualification.

In Marcos v. Manglapus (1989), the Court described Marcos as “a dictator forced out of office and into exile after causing twenty years of political, economic and social havoc in the country.” In short he was ousted by the Filipino people. Marcos was forcibly removed from the Presidency by what is now referred to as the People Power Revolution This is the strongest form of dishonorable discharge from office since it is meted out by the direct act of the sovereign people.

The fact of Marcos’ ouster is beyond judicial review. This Court has no power to review the legitimacy of the People Power Revolution as it was successfully carried out by the sovereign people who installed the revolutionary government of Corazon C. Aquino. The people have spoken by ratifying the 1987 Constitution, which was drafted under the Aquino government installed by the People Power Revolution. The Court has been steadfast in dismissing challenges to the legitimacy of the Aquino government, and has declared that its legitimacy is not a justiciable matter that can be acted upon by the Court.

As the removal of Marcos from the Presidency is no longer within the purview of judicial review, we must accept this as an incontrovertible fact which has become part of the history of the Philippines. This ouster, which was directly carried out by the sovereign act of the Filipino people, constitutes dishonorable removal from the service. Marcos was forcibly removed from the position as President and Commander-in-Chief by the Filipino people. In Estrada v. Desierto (2001), the Court reiterated the legitimacy of the removal of Marcos and the establishment of the Aquino government:

“No less than the Freedom Constitution declared that the Aquino government was installed through a direct exercise of the power of the Filipino people in defiance of the provisions of the 1973 Consyitution, as amended. It is familiar learning that the legitimacy of a government sired by a successful revolution by people power is beyond judicial scrutiny for that government automatically orbits out of the constitutional loop.”

The removal of Marcos from the Presidency, therefore, was a direct exercise of the sovereign act of the Fiipino people that is “beyond judicial scrutiny.” It cannot be said that this removal was an “honorable” one. Truly, there is nothing more dishonorable for a President than being forcibly removed from office by the direct sovereign act of the people. (pp3-4)

the cruelest and most condemnable cut of all is the way president duterte shrugs off EDSA ’86 as simply the culmination of a political fight between two families and nothing more, when in fact ninoy was mostly helplessly in jail, and then in exile, and then dead on the tarmac, while marcos’s people were mostly committing gross human rights violations with impunity, among other morally turpid stuff.  read marcos, kleptocracy, moral turpitude.

According to Amnesty International, 3,249 were killed; 34,000 were tortured and 70,000 were imprisoned during the Marcos dictatorship. The Human Rights Victims Claims Board, meanwhile, has already received more than 75,000 applications for compensation.

and someone please tell the prez that the “something like a revolution” that successfully ousted marcos was not even endorsed by cory until the third day of EDSA, feb 24, when she finally made a brief appearance in front of the POEA, and only because the sovereign people who were in the throes of revolution gave her no choice but to reconcile and join hands with ninoy’s jailer enrile vs. marcos.

it bears repeating, too, as often as i have to, that also on day three, the dictator marcos ordered the bombing of camp crame where FVR and enrile were holed up.  fortunately for nation, the marines (who did not join the rebel forces and were poised to fire from camp aguinaldo) refused to follow marcos’s orders because hosts of unarmed civilians inside and outside the camp would have been hit, too.  please read my first chronology (1996) here and/or EDSA Uno the book (2013), both fully documented, the latter available at the UP press bookshop in diliman and f. sionil jose’s solidaridad in malate.  or i could send the president a hundred copies for family and friends, cabinet officials and other allies, FYI lang, in the spirit of FOI, just say the word.

i concede that marcos did some good, particularly when he got the U.S. to pay rent for the military bases in subic and clark in ’76, even if it was less than (just half of) the $1B kissinger first offered (that he foolishly turned down) for a period of 5 years.  but land reform?  it was selective, to put it mildly.  infrastructure?  that’s par for the course, isn’t it.  though imelda’s babies — the CCP, the heart, lung, and kidney centers — were / are winners, and so too was imee’s short-lived ECP.

i draw the line though at rice self-sufficiency which was also short-lived.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte during his presidential campaign kick off rally in Tondo, Manila on Tuesday said the late Ferdinand E. Marcos is the best president the country ever had. He said Marcos was a good president before he became a dictator, praising his Biyaya ng Dagat and Masagana 99 programs.

“On hindsight, kung balikan ko ang panahon, noon at ngayon, kung hindi lang siya tumagal ng pagka-presidente, kung hindi lang siya naging diktador na matagal, pinaka the best na presidente na dumaan, Marcos,” he said while the crowd cheered.

thing is, both masagana 99 and biyayang dagat were credit programs that failed, according to this article on AIM’s website:

In the early 1970s, the main challenge was providing credit to the poor; there were market imperfections most experts concluded. If the private service, particularly private banks, didn’t want to provide credit to the poor, could the government do it then? Thus, the government implemented many credit programs for the poor. Even government agencies that were not financial institutions were implementing credit programs to address what was perceived as market imperfections: there was Masagana 99 (Bountiful Harvest 99) which provided loans to help farmers harvest 99 canvas of rice per hectare; there was Biyayang Dagat (Ocean’s Gift), a credit program for the fisherfolks, and Tulong sa Tao (Help for the People), loans for livelihood projects. But all these government-managed credit programs experienced very low repayment rate among the borrowers, even if government agencies were offering subsidized credit programs with minimal or no interest rates. There was also the mindset among those borrowers that what the government agencies were offering were dole-outs. Government credit programs failed. Director Almario teased, “Masagana 99 became Masamang 99, and Biyayang Dagat became Buwayang Dagat.” 

and both were programs launched during martial law, not before.  i have praised president duterte for his sense of history, declaring the little lectures priceless, but only about the moro story and american imperialism.  about marcos, martial law, and EDSA, i dare say the president needs to read up, rethink, and reboot, and so do the nine justices of the supreme court.

it’s not too late, mr. president.  it doesn’t take rocket science, or a crystal ball, to see that a marcos burial in the libingan ng mga bayani will not bring healing, rather it is certain to deepen worsen exacerbate the wounds and divisions that already afflict nation.

i would address the same appeal to the marcos family, but a mutual friend, leslie bocobo, who cheered the SC decision of nov 8, has done me better with this facebook status of nov 12.

It is my personal opinion that after the Marcos family, led by former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, VP Bongbong Marcos, Gov. Imee Marcos and Irene Marcos Araneta, acknowledge and thank the Supreme Court for finally giving its affirmative decision to allow a controversial remains a befitting final resting place in the LNMB, that the Marcoses, as a family, decide thereafter to bury FM in Ilocos Norte. There, a park-like shrine may rise so that the Filipino people may visit him without being interrupted by occasional vandals and rabid Marcos haters that I foresee may happen at the LNMB. The affirmative decision of the SC is enough. That makes it official and a sort of burying the issue (pun unintended) once and for all, thus granting Marcos the accolades and honors for a Filipino soldier. Burying him instead in Ilocos raises him to a higher level. After all, most of our past presidents are buried elsewhere. Rizal stands majestically alone in Bagumbayan. Let Marcos lie in peace in his hometown, but with a monument erected to perpetuate his memory where he too can stand alone – far away from those who hate him, but closest to all those who acknowledge him as a great leader.


  1. ignacio v. illenberger

    The issue of the Marcos burial should also be viewed from the perspective of the issue of impunity, the issue of mob rule and the issue of the rule of law. First is the issue of the rule of law. The Libingan ng mga Bayani is a military cemetery by original intent. Some emotional and sentimental sectors in civil authority renamed it by its name now. If you look at the records of its occupants, many of them were buried there under questionable circumstance. But they were soldiers who needed to be buried soonest sans the result of any investigation. If it eventually turns out that Marcos will be buried there as an honorably cashiered Major in the Philippine Army, he fills that category as the other questionable beneficiaries. That other persons outside of the military are buried there is an offshoot issue. Second issue is the rule of law. The nine justices who favored burial are not exactly fans of Marcos but their mandate by our constitution tells them to rule simply by the merits of the case, sans emotions and sentiment. Third issue is mob rue. Four presidents succeeded Marcos, not one of them took the effort of working for a law of discrimination with regards to who is qualified to be buried in that military cemetery. They just catered to what was politically correct by popular mood. This position smacks of impunity, rule of law be damned it is the rule of the mob that rules. Had our justice system been functioning properly, this so-called drug problem would not have worsened to its present proportions. EJK? That is a condition of desperation. Refusal to bury Major Marcos in a military cemetery given the aforementioned premises after a ruling by the Supreme Court will be just be a version of EJK, bowing to the rule of law and populist political expediency dictated by mob rule. By these, the issue of impunity by powers that be who fail in their duty to uphold the rule of law go scot free again.

    • i know little about the many other “questionable beneficiaries” but i do remember asking why angelo reyes… you’re right, it should never have been renamed libingan ng mga bayani in the first place. but as long as it is so-named, burying marcos there would rehabilitate the marcos image. it is also unfair to other beneficiaries who do deserve to be buried there.

  2. john c. jacinto

    I hope that the petitioners will include in their motion for reconsideration that the supposed corpse of Marcos on display in Ilocos Norte be independently examined if it is indeed Marcos’ corpse, not just a wax replica. We would be fooled and insulted once again if a wax replica were finally buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani at Isang Mandarambong on the pretext that it was the real Macoy.

  3. manuelbuencamino

    After the SC voted in favor of the burial of Marcos in LNMB, Sen Risa Hontiveros proposed a Senate resolution that directly addressed the issue the High Court chose to ignore.

    Senate Resolution No. 86 – “expressing the sense of the Senate that the crimes of the former President Ferdinand Marcos to the Republic, and the human rights violations committed under his regime, render him unfit to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani” – needed 11 Yes votes to pass.

    Only 8 senators voted Yes. (Aquino, de Lima, Drilon, Hontiveros, Pangilinan, Pimentel, Poe, and Villanueva.)

    The rest either voted No (Gordon, Honasan, Lacson. Pacquiao, Sotto, and Villar) or abstained (Angara with an explanation, Binay, Escudero, Gatchalian, Recto, and Zubiri) or did not vote (Cayetano, Ejercito, Legarda, and Trillanes).

    To those who voted No I say, fuck you and the whores you rode in on.

    You are like those Holocaust deniers. Those assholes who “imply, or openly state, that the Holocaust is an exaggeration and/or a hoax arising out of a deliberate Jewish conspiracy to advance the interest of Jews at the expense of other peoples”. Substitute “martial law” for “Holocaust” and “Aquinos, yellows, elites” for “Jewish” and “Jews” if you still can’t see the parallel.

    Deny the Holocaust and you can say Hitler was just a leader who wanted his nation to be great again. And you can add, that he tried and failed was not for lack of noble purpose or will.

    Deny the Holocaust and you can say Hitler is qualified to be buried in the German LNMB (if they have one) because he served as a soldier in WWI and was decorated for bravery – the Iron Cross, Second Class in 1914; the Iron Cross, First Class, and the Black Wound Badge in 1918 – before becoming Chancellor and then Fuhrer.

    Deny the Holocaust and you can write Hitler’s epitaph: “While he was not all good, he was not pure evil either. Certainly, just a human who erred like us.”
    So fuck you and the whores you rode in on. Your mothers should have thrown you away and raised the afterbirth instead.

  4. ricelander

    Marcos formed a human rights body to look into issues of human rights violations, did he not? Indeed by the close of his regime, many were in prison or were facing charges on account of human rights violations. But I read it somewhere there was a general amnesty given them by–horrors!– the Cory government.

    In any case, here’s from Rigoberto Tiglao: It is Ramos who should apologize.

    • yes. as a result of that “reconciliation” with ramos and enrile — joining forces to topple marcos — cory became beholden to them. she had not wanted to endorse the defection at all. when she returned from cebu, what she wanted to do was call the coryistas to leave edsa and gather in luneta instead. let the loyalists and reformists fight it out. but she was dissuaded by her close advisers — all very eminent credible statesmen — it would divide the coryistas, not everyone might join her in luneta, and enrile/ramos could win the power-grab.

  5. Batang-Genyo, Alah Eh

    Our Highest Magistrates have spoken and as the sole arbiter of the rule of law, I believed they have “rightly divided the word of Constitutional law without piercing the veil of moral, social and political hypocracy just as they did in Grace Poe’s citizenship issue. After 30 years of debate, our future generation deserve a peaceful reconciliation with the pages of history that a new course of destiny will hopefully be unreveal.