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Political Dynasties in the Philippines: In My Opinion

Next year’s Philippine midterm elections are fast approaching and it paints an all too-familiar image once again: candidates that are ei...



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JR Lopez Gonzales 3:52 PM 0

 This has been the question which resurfaced once again after decades of winding discussions.

Sorsogon Representative Salvador Escudero, Marcos's former agriculture minister during the Martial Law, says that “while Marcos was ousted from power, it could not be denied that he served the country well”. This then gave birth to the House Resolution 204 (or 1135) and was voted by no less than 204 congressmen in the lower house.

The resolution stresses out that the late Ferdinand Marcos (FM) deserves nothing less, as “he served the country as two-term President and has brought honor to the country as a war hero”. It was of course, greatly subscribed to by Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos.

Years before FM’s presidency, he has already bragged on his stellar achievements during the Second World War:
That he served as a lieutenant in the Army and was awarded one medal of valor. He has claimed to have led a guerilla unit of 8,000 soldiers and has boasted that he received 300 war medals, including the US Congressional Medal of Honor.

The above claims, however, were long debunked in 1982, when journalist Bonifacio Gillego, ran a series of exposés on the alleged phony medals.  Because of that, Pres. Marcos ordered the closure of the newspaper which, in turn led to the arrest of the press freedom editor Jose Burgos Jr.

What I find alarming is, as of presstime, there are 219 lawmakers who have signed the resolution. The same institution which the former dictator closed in 1972, is the one that wants him to be hailed a hero.

Moreover, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey conducted from March 4 to 7 revealed that half of the Filipinos were in favor of the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani while 49 percent were not. Around 30% of those who favored his burial there believe he should be "buried with official honors," while 20% said only for a "private burial."

Should it be called as Heroes' Cemetery or Former Presidents' Cemetery?
I, on the other hand, belong to the other half which believes that Former President Ferdinand Marcos’s remains should never be given a hero’s burial (even though Ilocano blood has been running in my veins). I’ve got to agree that FM had been a great president, but that is, on his first term.

These are some of the congressmen who voted against House Resolution 204:
Rep. Bebot Bello
Rep. Kaka Bag-ao
Rep. Manny Pacquiao
Rep. Roilo Golez
Rep. Sonny Belmonte
Rep. Roman Romulo
Rep. Paul Daza
Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara
Rep. Edcel Lagman

And some of those congressmen who hail Marcos hero are the following:
Rep. Imelda Marcos
Rep. Vincent Crisologo
Rep. JV Ejercito
Rep. Mikey Arroyo
Rep. Iggy Arroyo
Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Heroes' resting place in the Philippines

The first argument on him being a war hero has already been refuted. Next thing to answer is, if he those terms (and 21 years of rule) his regime left an impact that was ruinous for the economy, the society, and the political institutions of his country.

While many would say that it was on his administration that we’ve seen the infrastructures sprouting, it was nonetheless his duty as the President to make those necessary developments. It was a thing expected of any person holding the reins of the government. It was part of his responsibilities so I contend that the infrastructure argument is not an entirely valid point.

Human rights abuses, dictatorship, cronyism, nepotism, corruption, etc - however rampant in past governments - are not part of his duties and responsibilities. How can we even think about this?! To borrow the words from the CEAP, “he is the longest serving Philippine President because he declared martial law, used military repression to silence opponents, destroyed what was then an imperfect but working democratic system, and perpetuated himself in power through an authoritarian Constitution which was never legitimately ratified”.

Regarding the matter, CEAP president Fr. Gregorio Bañaga

''Who doesn't want to be reconciled? We want unity and reconciliation, we want to move on, but let it be true reconciliation based on justice. We cannot reconcile and at your back, I stab you. Is there ever a statement by the Marcoses admitting that they indeed repressed human rights? Are they repentant? That is why in our statement, we quoted St. Augustine, 'charity cannot substitute for justice denied'…”

A good thing to ponder upon is the implications of the supposed former dictator’s hero’s burial. It will definitely have deep implications on the youth, the country and the world.

The bill furthered by Rep. Escudero opens old wounds in the hearts of thousands of Marcos human rights victims. Just what kind of message are we sending our kids – that it is okay to be a dictator and later be declared as a hero?

The youth will be even more confused with the real meaning of history while the country will be further divided. Isn’t it enough that the non-calculating masses have already put the Marcoses back in the reins of government during last year’s elections?

Ferdinand Marcos is arguably the most intelligent political leader of the 20th century and the best Philippine president during his first term (1965-1969) but after that he is one, if not the worst Philippine president that has ever lived. It has been so long since FM’s body was locked up in the iced crypt maybe it’s about time for Imelda to finally bury her husband… beside his loved ones in Ilocos.

Gonzales-Garcia, Lydia. 1991. Mga Pangulo ng Pilipinas. Anvil Publishing, Inc. Pasig, Manila: Philippines. p.75.

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