Marcos: a dictator, a murderer, never a hero – Akbayan Youth
Press Statement on Marcos’ burial in “Libingan ng mga Bayani”
The sacrifices of our national heroes have given birth to our nation. It is through their pain that the fruits of independence and sovereignty are enjoyed by all. In celebrating the Araw ng Kagitingan, the nation pays homage and tribute to those who gave a part of themselves to give meaning and substance to the values on which our republic stands on.
We, in Akbayan Youth, remember, give respect and honor those who sacrificed and are rightfully heroes, named and unnamed. We strongly oppose granting the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos such title and an esteemed place in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
We believe that the Libingan ng mga Bayani stands for something. They are not empty words or a trivial name given to a cemetery. They stand for heroism. They stand for honor. They stand for sacrifice. Those are things we cannot associate with a dictator. To do so would to consider fact as false and history as hearsay. To consider Marcos as a hero would be to consider his regime as heroic and justify the excesses of military rule as necessary if not praiseworthy. With a simple burial we will praise a dictator whose regime imprisoned and killed thousands, driven the military to corruption, and ran the economy to shambles as a hero and condemn those who opposed him as the villains. We cannot stand for that.
Unless we do not value history, we remember that Marcos was never called a hero by the hundreds of student activists during the first quarter storm of 1970 that were bludgeoned, punched and kicked, surely not by the people of Cordillera when he threatened to dam the Chico river and destroy their communities or the people of Mindanao when he waged his war of attrition against the Bangsamoro. Even for those alive when he was deposed, they cannot call him a hero. He could never have been a hero by those in EDSA who faced tanks sent by him.
Many will definitely say, “Is this not simply an act of vengeance, of vendetta?” To be clear, we do not oppose Marcos and his family’s right to have him buried in the country. Any Filipino deserves such a right, even those his regime has killed and whose remains cannot be found to this day. We do not close our hearts to forgiveness so long as the debts of justice are settled. This is not simply being stubborn about a seeming trivial matter. What is definitely stubborn is to insist that a dictator is a hero. It is vengeance to impose more than two decades of brutal rule and taunt the victims with a hero’s burial for the dictator. It is vendetta to depose a tyrant only to have him raised to the status of hero by those who are blind to facts.