The life of former president Ferdinand Marcos was summarized in four words – ‘hidden wealth, hidden burial.’ The loathing for the Marcoses burst when the remains of the former president was surreptitiously buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Cemetery for Heroes). Everybody was caught unaware because the decision of the Supreme Court allowing the burial is not yet final and executory and an appeal is being prepared by the anti-Marcos camp.
But such haste and duplicity were typical of Marcos who stayed in power for more than 20 years, plundered the coffers of the country and stifle dissent by force. Thirty years after he was ousted, the government is not yet finished tracking down and getting back the loot, the victims of Martial Law remained not compensated and offer no closure for the desaparecidos.
The Marcoses one by one returned to the country and were gradually rehabilitated as they ran and won elective local positions in their traditional bailiwicks. Ferdinand ‘bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. even won as a senator. His support to Duterte during the last elections earned him a promise to have his father buried in the cemetery reserved for the country’s heroes.
And so it goes that the rule of law be damned. The infallible President Duterte has spoken and will keep his promise whatever it takes. The Supreme Court justices who voted, most of whom were appointed by former President Arroyo, stamped the decision as legal. A hero is hailed by the people he served. Marcos is different, he has to be buried in secret lest the people howl in protest.
The effort to rewrite history and depict a heroic Marcos points to President Duterte. The methods he is using now are reminiscent of the Marcos Martial Law years. He is bent on doing what his idol has done in the 70s, and kept no secret about it. He crowed about suspending the writ of habeas corpus, the first step in declaring Martial Law. It was the communist insurgency in the 70s, today it is the drug menace.
‘Never again!’ was the battle cry in 1986. Last night we saw the millenials marched and the emotions of the people roused as the spirit of EDSA is steadily and systematically being erased. Are we going to witness history repeating itself?