Martial Law victims to Duterte: Marcos burial no family feud issue 1

By  Erwin Colcol
Source: GMA News

Upset by President Rodrigo Duterte’s “reductionist” statement, Martial Law victims on Wednesday said that the raging issue on the burial of Marcos’s remains in the heroes’ cemetery cannot be reduced to a mere conflict between the Marcos and the Aquino families.

“Ang issue namin ay hindi dahil kay Ninoy (Aquino). Noong ako’y naging chairman ng Student Catholic Action, walang kune-koneksyon si Aquino doon,” former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares, a human rights violation victim during Martial Law, told reporters at a forum in Quezon City on Wednesday.

Last Tuesday, Duterte described the issue on the burial of late strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani as a fight between two political families, referring to the Marcos and the Aquino political clans.

It’s basically an away (feud) between the two families,” Duterte told reporters.

But Colmenares said Duterte’s statement is “reductionist.”

“Hindi mo mare-reduce ang pain [ng mga biktima].”

Hundreds of suspected “enemies of the state” were killed, tortured, and made to disappear during the Marcos’ iron rule.

May Rodriguez, spokesperson for the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation, shared Colmenares’ view.

The Bantayog ng mga Bayani or heroes’ memorial wall located in Quezon City bares the names of the victims of human rights violation, murder, torture, and enforced disappearances during the Marcos era.

“Hahamunin ko sinuman na nagsasabi na ito ay Marcos at Aquino conflict dahil ako ay tatayo dito at magsasabing hindi ito totoo dahil wala akong pakialam sa pamilya Aquino,” said Rodriguez, also a victim of Marcos dictatorship.

“Huwag pasaklawan ‘yung buong issue ng pang-aabuso ni Marcos sa pamilya Aquino. Hindi mo talaga makikita ang kasaysayan sa wasto kung ‘yun lang ang makikita mo.”

“Kahit sabihin mo na ang pulitika natin nasa pagitan ng mga pami-pamilya, let us not miss the truth na sinira ni Marcos ang demokrasya, dinurog niya ‘yung democratic institutions noong siya ay nag-declare ng Martial Law,” she added.

Ally in some policies

Colmenares, a former lawmaker of the House of Representatives, admitted that he and some of is associates favor some of the president’s policies, but disagree with Duterte’s position on the issue of Marcos’ burial.

“Part kami ng alyansa ni President Duterte. Sumusuporta kami sa kanyang [laban sa] kontraktwalisasyon, ‘yung kanyang peace process, ‘yung independent foreign policy,” Colmenares said.

“Pero siguro ‘yung alyansa, hindi lahat ‘yan ‘Yes, man.’ Dapat ang isang ka-alyado, sasabihin mo kung saan siya tama. Tama siya doon sa mga issue ng kontraktwalisasyon, pero dito sa Marcos burial, hindi,” he added.

Colmenares urged the president to review the history of the Marcos dictatorship in order to fully understand the issue.

“I think President Duterte should recognize the history and the context of Martial Law to explain the inflamed emotions that continuing to erupt,” he said.

For her part, Rodriguez said that Duterte’s statement is a “device” to water down the issue of the Marcos dictatorship.

“I think ito ay device ng mga gustong magpaliit doon sa paglaban kay Marcos. Device para malito ang mga tao na iyan nga ang katotohanan. Malayo ‘yan sa katotohanan,” she said.

Colmenares and fellow former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, through their legal counsel from the National Union of People’s Lawyers, filed a motion last Friday to call on Supreme Court justices to issue an order preventing the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani pending finality of its decision in favor of the interment.

Voting 9-5, the Supreme Court on November 8 dismissed the consolidated petitions seeking to stop the burial of the late strongman at the heroes’ cemetery, which is backed by Duterte.