More protests staged vs Marcos burial
Student activists from the University of Santo Tomas held a noise barrage on Friday, Nov. 11, in protest of the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the burial of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UST (STAND-UST) President Elizabeth Anthony hopes that the Supreme Court and President Rodrigo Duterte will backtrack on the issue.
She said that a hero’s burial is positive commentary on the late dictator, whose 21-year rule was marred by thousands of human rights violations and plunder..
According to data from human rights group Amnesty International, about 70,000 people were imprisoned, 34,000 were tortured, 3,240 were killed and more than a thousand went missing during the Martial Law period.
“When we say Marcos and Libingan ng Mga Bayani parang kasi nagco-connote iyon ng positive thing that, despite being a dictator and a human rights violator, Marcos is a hero.”
In a statement released the same day of the protest, STAND-UST described the burial as a “slap on the face” of Martial Law victims.
The organization said that the burial will only bring healing to the Marcos family “because they can finally and officially turn their backs from the crimes they have adamantly and wrongfully denied.”
STAND-UST affirmed that they will continue to support demonstrations and petitions against the decision of the high court.
Beyond the law
Union of Journalists of the Philippines-UST chairperson Tiffany Tolones says she is frustrated over the ruling.
“Not only did they acknowledge Marcos worthy of label as a hero, but they also proved what sort of justice we have in this country,” Tolones said.
Aktiboto program pirector Raymond John Naguit told TomasinoWeb in an interview that he was also disappointed with the high court’s decision.
“Sila dapat ‘yung naga-uphold ng pagiging just. Supposedly, they should be going what is beyond the law,” Naguit said. “The justices should not have just decided based on what is in the law lang. Kasi, may mga gaps talaga na hindi mapupunan ng batas.”
Last Nov. 8, Naguit staged a prayer vigil together with other student leaders in front of the Tan Yan Kee Student Center.
Naguit said that there will be other protests in the future.
“May mga plans pero di ko muna idi-disclose kasi ‘di pa naman siya final. And hindi lang dapat sa UST ma-confine protests natin.”
“I’m also looking into partnerships with other organizations outside and kung kaya i-collaborate into one big activity that would be good,” he added.
Lawyers challenge SC
Meanwhile, a lawyer group and other human rights groups challenged the Supreme Court’s decision head-on as they donned black and picketed during the second day of the bar exams held at the University.
“Ang simbulo dapat ng batas ay justice o katarungan. Ang ginawa ng Korte Suprema ay pagbalewala sa katarungan,” said National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) chairperson and former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares.
NUPL staged the protest along with human rights organizations Karapatan and Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda).
“Studying the law, taking the bar, and becoming a lawyer, becomes relevant and meaningful only when it serves justice, takes notice of the judgment of history, confirms self-evident truths, and sides with the oppressed,” said the National Union of Peoples Lawyers in an open letter to bar candidates.
Selda member Danilo dela Fuente, 67, is a Martial Law victim present during the protest on Sunday, Nov. 13.
He said that when he was organizing unions under the National Federation of Labor, he was arrested, blindfolded for 79 hours, tickled until he fell to the ground and then kicked around by 10 men, was routinely punched in the gut and his head repeatedly bashed onto walls.
He now suffers from generalized seizure which is secondary to head trauma.
“Siya ay isang plunderer! Kaya lahat tayong mamayang Pilipino ay biktima dahil ninakaw nila, itinakbo nila ang kabang-yaman ng ating bansa. Yoon ang aming paninindigan kaya si Marcos ay hindi dapat mailibing sa Libingan ng mga Bayani dahil siya ay hindi bayani!” dela Fuente said.
“Hindi magkakaroon ng reconciliation hangga’t hindi ina-acknowledge ng mga Marcoses na nagkaroon ng mga human rights violations at plundering noong panahon ng Martial Law. Hindi magkakaroon ng reconciliation hangga’t hindi sinasauli ang ill-gotten wealth,” said Colmenares.
Like Tolones and Naguit, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate is hopeful that the masses will continually be roused to mobilize against the burial of Marcos at the LNMB to finally convince the Duterte administration to halt it.
He added that the Makabayan Bloc had already filed House Resolution no. 197 to oppose Marcos’ burial at the LNMB.
The SC junked the petition filed by human rights groups and Martial Law victims after nine justices voted in favor of the burying Marcos at the LNMB.
In the decision penned by Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, the high court said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s order was within the bounds of the law.
The high court has given the petitioners against the burial 15 days to file a motion for reconsideration. – M.W. Dela Paz & X. Gregorio
Photo by Mark Darius Sulit