Daily Archives: May 28, 2016

Libingan ng Mga Bayani at Isang Diktador


May 28, 2016


By Benjamin Pimentel

What’s supposed to be a sacred resting place for the nation’s heroes may have to be given another name: “Libingan ng Mga Bayani at Isang Diktador.”

What’s noteworthy is, in reaffirming his plan to allow the Marcos family to bury Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani, even President-elect Duterte is now admitting that the late dictator, considered the second most corrupt ruler in recent history, is no hero.
He is allowing the late dictator to be buried at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani “not because he (was) a hero, but because he was a Filipino soldier.”

But Duterte sure is choosing to honor the worst kind of Filipino soldier. And in doing so, he’s disrespecting the truly honorable Filipino soldiers, especially those buried at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani.

It’s a safe bet many of the soldiers buried there did not make up tall tales about what they did during the war.


That’s not the case with Marcos, the most notorious fake hero in Philippine history.

“’This is not true, no. Holy cow. All of this is a complete fabrication. It’s a cock-and-bull story.”

That was the famous reaction of former US Army Captain Ray Hunt, who commanded Filipino guerrillas during World War II, when he was told of Marcos’ claims that he was the leader of impressive guerrilla force that wreaked havoc on enemy forces during the war.
“Marcos was never the leader of a large guerrilla organization, no way,” Hunt told the New York Times.

In fact, Hunt said Marcos was the leader of nothing more than a “Paper Army.”

“My frank opinion today is that Marcos did get around the islands, and he did do some recruiting, but he didn’t manage to get arms,” he said according to a Los Angeles report. “ So we call that a paper army.”

And there are even questions on which side Marcos’ “paper army” was fighting for.
For there’s evidence that Marcos and his alleged guerrillas weren’t even on our side.

The U.S. Veterans Administration found that some of the guerrillas who claimed to be members of Marcos’ group became notorious for committing atrocities against Filipino civilians, not fighting the Japanese occupation forces, according to a 1989 UPI report.
And Marcos’ men were even found to have engaged in “nefarious activity,” such as selling contraband to the Japanese.

That’s the kind of soldier Duterte thinks is worthy of a hero’s burial?

And it’s not like the president-elect doesn’t have an idea of heroism. He had one in his family: his mother.

Soledad Duterte was a prominent, fearless leader in the movement against the Marcos regime in Davao in the 1980s.

She was 95 when she died four years ago. This was how a Gabriela activist, Luz Ilagan, remembered her:

“She was already a woman activist long before the term was coined. She showed us through example how to be committed and be strong in the face of adversities. Davao was heavily militarized, we had no resources, we had our own families to raise, we were still learning the ropes in alliance work; and there she was, a teacher, a fundraiser, an organizer, an inspirational model and a friend, not to mention, ‘inahan sa kanunay nga panabang’ — a “mother of perpetual help.”

That’s the standard of heroism Duterte should follow.

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“The North Remembers”

Mayo 26, 2016


By Arturo P. Garcia

duterte-joma-sisonI lost two of my loved ones during the darkest days of martial law. I lost countless comrades in the thick of our fight against martial law. Friends, comrades, neighbors.

As a historian, I made a list of comrades and during our human rights conference in 1977 in the North, my list was up to 600 persons.

That is why I do not believe in the list that more than 30,000 were killed, missing or disappeared during the 14 years of martial law. Its more than that because there was no clear recording of the atrocities of the Marcos martial law years. So we have to contend with what was recorded then.

In the Eastern Forest Region of Isabela alone more than 150 barrios were evacuated and more than 50,000 people were affected from 1972 to 1977. This was repeated in Eastern Cagayan from 1980 to 1986, in Western Cagayan,Kalinga and Apayao to Ilocos Norte from 1983-1986.

There, three companies of the New People’s Army (NPA) slugged it out with the two army battalions of AFP and the strike companies of PC rangers /INP for more than six years and thousand mostly civilians died in pitched battles and massacres

That is why, as a human rights worker and a media person, I cannot understand presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte’s stubborn and dogged decision to bury the dictator in the National Heroes Cemetery.

As if insulting the victims of human rights violations during martial law, he told them bluntly, ”just collect your claims and forget what happened “ to that effect. And saying in deadpan fashion,”what do you want to do with the body, burn it?’

As if Duterte did not know that the Marcoses violated the agreement with President Ramos that they will bury the dictator’s body in Ilocos Norte. That is the reason why FVR let Marcos body be brought back to the Philippines. Well, I understand that politicans are notorious for breaking their words.

Maybe Duterte made the promise to the Ilocanos and he is now stubborn to stay true to his word. But he should know better that the north suffered like his brothers Moros in Mindanao. In fact, it was the north that suffer the most as I narrated during martial law.

That’s why they remember. Maybe some people will say,”Why then Bongbong won in the Solid North”. It was clear that it was not only Marcos that got their votes but most of all– Duterte.

The North remembers and they want change. They were feed up with the insensitive hacendero President for six years. And actually that’s besides the point. And Duterte cannot make it as an argument that Ilocanos wanted him (Ferdinand Marcos) to be buried as a hero.

It is wrong for Duterte to make that as an explanation why he is adamant to bury the dictator in the “Libingan ng Mga Bayani.”. He should know that the Ilocanos suffer too during martial law. Actually, they suffered the most and they remember.

Let us say, for Christian values, we must bury the dead even they are our enemies. But to honor them as heroes, it is the height of arrogance and wrong expenditure of political capital for Digong Duterte.

His action speaks louder and displays what values he holds dear. And human rights and freedom is not one of them on this case.

I personally who lost two of my loved one and countless comrades and friends, cannot take nor will never understand his actions. You are no different from other Philippine Presidents of the past who will bulldoze their ways among the people.

And on this case, if you will bury the dictator among the heroes of the people, I will never forgive you nor forget what you did to insult the memories of those thousands who died for freedom.

To Digong Duterte, be warned; “THE NORTH REMEMBERS!




May 27, 2016


By Allie Escandor

The incoming president, Rodrigo Duterte, tells us that for those who suffered abuses during Martial Law, “It’s just a matter of distributing the award. So anong problema? Patay na ‘yung tao.”

Well you see, Mr. president-elect, my late granduncle, Dr. Johnny Escandor, died under the dictatorship, his innards in his skull along with his briefs, his guts emptied, his skin a deep blue from the blows, and you tell me it is just a matter of “distributing the award.”

My grandfather, Judge Ireneo Escandor, was imprisoned, leaving my grandmother, Lola Celing, to raise eight children. They suffered deep hardship, and endured separation from their father. And you tell us it is just a matter of “distributing the award”.

Real people sacrificed life and limb, not to amass cash (how absurd!), but to bring down a tyrant, a plunderer, a murderer. Both grandfather and granduncle now lie in a humble, marked grave in the small town of Gubat, Sorsogon. They died for country, without a hero’s burial, no marching band, no flag on the casket.

There are thousands of them, Mr. president-elect, who died maimed and tied and tortured, in graves marked and unmarked, but they are the fortunate ones because at least their families had a body to bury. Yolanda Gordula, the person Dr. Johnny was with on March 30 right before he was “salvaged”, was never found.

There are immense moral and historical consequences to burying Marcos as a hero. The matter is certainly not confined to narrow legalese, not a matter of just “going to court” as you suggest. If Marcos is buried a hero, what do we make of those who fought his tyranny? Are they now the anti-hero?

We have always said that there is something deeply wrong with a people who cannot remember their history or their real heroes, who are happy with the short-sightedness of a sanitized “peace/healing” rather than one that is based on justice.

I could go on and on about the woeful tragedy of forgetting. But the greatest tragedy is that those who do not remember are bound to make the same mistakes. No wonder then that too many of us, when confronted with another murder, plunderer, tyrant and all their configurations, are confounded by the discovery; when confronted with the destructive dismantling of democracy, are at a loss, not knowing what to say or do or make of it; when confronted with the spreading canopy of aggression and dispossession, are happy with the little spoils from the Master’s table, are quick to trade their freedom for quietude, humanity for comfort, justice for convenience, motherland for self-gain. They have no insight from the struggles of past, and have no collective narrative to moor them to the fate of the larger society.

How many deaths, Mr. president-elect, before we treat a murderer like a murderer? How many billions of national wealth siphoned to offshore accounts before we call a plunderer a plunderer? How many years lost, families separated, people detained and disappeared, lives snuffed out before we call a tyrant a tyrant? How many, Mr. president-elect?

I was truly hopeful when, at the presidential debates, you did not mince words about the disposession of the Lumads, the Moros; the impoverishment of Mindanao; the inequities induced by “imperial Manila”. You, of all people, should know what justice means, what historical wrong is.

So to your question: “Anong gusto niyo? You want the Marcos cadaver to be burned? Will that satisfy your hate?” my answer is, it was never about hate at all, it is about JUSTICE.

P.S. For those who believe in justice, please sign this petition.https://www.change.org/p/rodrigo-duterte-no-to-burying-marc…