The Philippine Supreme Court has finally issued its decision against the petition to block former President Ferdinand Marcos’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) and the result was 9-5 in favour of allowing the burial. As predicted, there are people weeping and gnashing their teeth in frustration. Anti-Marcos rallies are being held as of this writing with one attended by no less than former President BS Aquino expressing his outrage over the decision. It’s not surprising considering the decision is a slap on the face of the Aquino clan.
The Aquinos built their image on the back of the “Marcos is evil” narrative. It’s safe to assume that the Aquinos feel threatened now. They probably think that allowing Marcos to be buried at the “heroes’ cemetery” will change how the public see them. If the public perceives Marcos Sr as a hero, how will the public perceive Ninoy and Cory? Apparently, 30 years in power have made the Aquinos and their supporters delusional. They need to be told that the majority of the public have stopped seeing them as the “heroes” a long time ago thanks to BS Aquino who ruined his parents’ so-called legacy.
Indeed, 30 years in power have made the Aquinos, their supporters and all the other anti-Marcos advocates complacent to the point that they were completely taken by surprise by the fact that there is no law that says Marcos cannot be buried at the LNMB. They had all the time in the world to craft a law (BS Aquino was a lawmaker for years) or change the rules in a way that would exclude Marcos Sr from being buried at the LNMB, but they didn’t do anything at all.
It was only when the new government under current President Rodrigo Duterte announced the schedule of the planned Marcos burial in September of this year when those opposed to the burial finally did something, and what they did was basically just a shot in the dark. They were hoping against hope that appealing to emotion would work to convince the judges of the Supreme Court — those trained to follow the law — to throw the rule book out the window and accede to their petition.
Now the petitioners are acting so outraged — as if they didn’t see it coming. It’s not like the Marcos kin made it a secret. The Marcoses have always made their wishes to bury the husband and their father at the LNMB. Critics of the Marcos family knew this but just laughed at the thought. They underestimated the Marcos appeal.
The petitioners’ reactions show their lack of understanding of the law. It is crystal clear that Marcos Sr, being a former President and soldier, is more than qualified to be buried at the LNMB. Moreover, Marcos Sr was never convicted of any of the allegations being bandied around by his critics. This was also confirmed by the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court spokesperson Ted Te emphasised during a press conference that the former President was not convicted of any crime. It is therefore wrong for anti-Marcos advocates to continue calling him a thief and murderer. Doing so means they are denying an individual his right to presumption of innocence and they are no better than people they accuse of violating the law.
The petition to stop the Marcos burial at the LNMB already went through a process with the highest court of the land. The petitioners and other anti-Marcos advocates should respect the decision. The Supreme Court’s decision to allow Marcos’s burial at the LNMB should bring closure to the issue. The petitioners should follow their own advice. Ironically, the same people keep telling Duterte to follow the rule of law, so it would be hypocritical of them not to accept the Supreme Court’s decision. The decision is part of the democratic system they hold so dear. There is no dictator now. They should be lauding the fact that their petition was entertained despite the lateness of the hour when it was filed.
The problem with anti-Marcos advocates is they expected the SC to rule based on emotion. It seems too hard for them to comprehend the simple rule that allows Marcos Sr to be buried at LNMB. They are being irrational now. Some of them want to promote civil disobedience just because they didn’t get what they want. Anti-Marcos advocates are blaming the SC and Duterte for their own lack of foresight and complacency.
It’s odd that the people who insist on calling it a “hero’s burial” are the same people who object to giving him a hero’s burial. What is actually going to transpire is a state burial, not a hero’s burial. These people find it hard to understand that the LNMB is not just for heroes, it’s also for former Presidents and soldiers.
It’s a good thing there are more people who don’t have a problem with the Supreme Court’s decision. Most Filipinos are ready to move on to more important issues plaguing the Philippines. Filipinos need to bury their dead as a symbol of closing a chapter and moving on to the next. It’s too bad there are Filipinos who would rather be stuck in the past even though they consider that past as the darkest part of Philippine history. It’s as if they have become too attached to that episode and cannot let go. Some of the architects of Martial Law are still alive today and are enjoying being revered as “heroes of EDSA”. Focusing on Marcos and blaming him for all the atrocities is where his critics get it wrong.
Marcos Sr is dead. It’s quite baffling why some people are still afraid of him. His critics keep giving him power over them even beyond the grave. Burying him as soon as possible will definitely help his own critics to get over him, if only to stop the noise that distracts everyone from focusing on the real issues.