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Allowing Ferdinand E. Marcos’ burial under the pretense of the President’s policy of promotion of national healing and forgiveness lowers the victims’ dignity and takes away from them their right to heal in their own time. Allowing the Marcos burial on the premise of national healing and forgiveness is a compulsion from the State for the victims and the Filipino People to forgive their transgressor without requiring anything to be done by the transgressor or his successors, and without even allowing the victims to be provided first the reparations granted to them by law. (Dissent of J. Leonen on Ocampo v. Enriquez )

Whoa. The last few weeks have been crazy! I was thankful that the week following the Supreme Court’s denial** of the petitions against the Marcos burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani and Trump’s election as US president was humdrum and low-key, giving us time to decompress after that week’s circus. But no. The craziness reared its ugly head again with the whirlwind burial of the one we lovingly call The Dictator.

The labels have been flying ever since the days leading up to the national elections and it looks like the Dutertards and Yellowtards will not be calling a truce any time soon. But I personally know loud and proud Dutertards and Yellowtards and they are nowhere near the labels that have been slapped on them.

It’s easy to think that a Dutertard is your typical tambay sa kanto, no good, no contribution to society type of bloke, but don’t succumb to that generalization. More often than not, a Dutertard is someone who didn’t feel any improvement or gains from the past administrations and saw hope from someone who was so clearly anti-establishment that he/she was willing to look beyond the potty mouth, crass behavior and incendiary temper, and chooses to see a man who wears his heart on his sleeve and clearly only wants what he thinks is the best for the country, whatever it might take.

When people I knew started rolling their eyes and spouting “move on” in response to the uproar over the Marcos burial, my initial instinct was to shame and bitchslap. Because really, how can you callously say “move on” to someone who lost a loved one through torture and a country that’s still reeling from the effects of years of looting?

Move on mo mukha mo.

However, I put on my adult hat and tried to see where she was coming from. From her perspective, it has been several decades since the Marcoses were ousted from Malacanang and nothing has been done since then. Since nothing has happened and justice hasn’t been meted out even after several administrations, then it’s clearly a losing case and we should all just forget about it, cut our losses and move on.

I respect her right to have an opinion, but I disagree with her opinion.

It’s not true that nothing has happened after the Marcoses were kicked out of Malacanang. Our courts and the international courts have found them guilty of human rights abuses and have accordingly awarded reparation to the human rights victims. This is also recognition of Marcos as the primary perpetrator of the abuses and the widespread looting of the national coffers, putting him in the esteemed list of Famous Dictators of the world.

But in the guise of moving on and getting on with our lives post-dictatorship, the Filipinos slowly allowed the Marcos to slither their way back into the Philippines, where they plotted and schemed, built their army of misinformation and before you know it, Imelda’s a congresswoman, Imee’s a governor and Bongbong is a senator who almost won as vice-president.

Ang tanga lang natin no? They must be laughing their perfumed and bejewelled asses off during their weekly viewing sessions at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (and that One Guy)*** at how they got their way again.

So what now? Their next step is clearly to wrestle the vice-presidency from Leni Robredo and this is where we must be vigilant and, for lack of a more accurate English term, make supalpal every single one of their attempts.

Never again.

*Credits to Lourd de Veyra

** You can read the Peralta decision on Ocampo v Enriquez here. For the dissenting opinions:  SerenoCarpio, Leonen and Caguioa.

*** J. Peralta categorically said in his decision that Marcos’ burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani does not make him a hero. 

****Additional image from the Philippine Star

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