Strong dissent: Luneta rally set vs hero's burial for Marcos

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 10 2016 06:31 PM

Lawmakers, student groups, and advocacy groups are urging the public to help stop a hero's burial for former president Ferdinand Marcos. 

Various groups have formed 'Coalition Against the Marcos Burial in Libingan Ng Mga Bayan,' which aims to prevent Marcos's interment at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).

They are inviting the public to wear white and join a non-partisan citizens' assembly at the Lapu-Lapu Area, in Rizal Park, Manila on Sunday, August 14.

"Every day that passes, Marcos' burial at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani becomes more and more inevitable," wrote the organizers on their Facebook page.

In a memorandum dated August 7, the Department of National Defense instructed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to plan and prepare Marcos's interment at the heroes' cemetery. 

The burial has been projected to be held on September 18, after a nod from President Rodrigo Duterte. 

The coalition cited Duterte's willingness to bury the late dictator in the site is "because he doesn't see widespread opposition to it." With the assembly, they aim "to prove him wrong."

"Before the president makes an official announcement and goes past the point of no return, we Filipinos need to make our strong opposition loud and clear," they wrote.

They said that because they recognize that the ultimate decision remains with Duterte, they call for the assembly to be able to offer a solution to the chief executive.

"We believe that the LNMB issue is too critical to how we define ourselves as a nation and to how our future as a nation will be shaped - we cannot lose focus," they added.

Susan Quimpo, one of the organizers of the assembly, told ABS-CBN News Sunday's program will focus solely on the "issue of Marcos burial and [their] opposition to it, and [their] request to President Duterte to change his mind about it."

"We have a petition to President Duterte outlining our reasons for requesting the burial not be held in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Mayroon po tayong petition signing na mangyayari on Sunday," she said.

She revealed, there will also be simultaneous rallies planned in Cebu, Bacolod, and Davao.

"Sa ngayon, sabi ni President Duterte, mag-rally daw. E di, magra-rally tayo. For now, that is the expression that we see of this request to President Duterte," she said.

She also urged citizens to course their opposition through their congressional district representatives.

Quimpo was also among the conveners of the Bawat Bato initiative which laid rocks and stones bearing the names of Martial Law victims on Marcos's burial site.

She emphasized that Marcos has no room in the heroes' cemetery in Taguig.

Republic Act 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act signed in 2013, she cited, "provides reparation for the human rights victims of the Marcos regime."

"Kung nagbibigay ng reparations yung batas, ibig sabihin, talagang may human rights violations, 'di ba po? When you say human rights violations, automatic po, the state is responsible for it," she said.

"Ang dami pong claimants--umabot po ng 75,730 claimants. Ito po ang clear cut na batas na po ito, saying that he is guilty of human rights violation," she said.

Five of Quimpo's siblings were among those who were victims of human rights violations.

"Sa tingin ko, hindi naman karapat-dapat that he is given a hero's burial, when [there are] tens of thousands of people who were the real heroes fighting for freedom and justice and democracy," she said.

Apart from the human rights violations, Quimpo also underscored that there is proof Marcos laundered the people's money.

"In fact, even the Swiss courts have basically said na yung kaniyang deposits na umaabot sa approximately $10-billion ay ill-gotten wealth," she said.

She also noted, Marcos "was deposed by popular uprising," and as a soldier was "given dishonorable dismissal by the people that he was supposed to serve."

"Because he is a plunderer, because he is a violator of human rights, and fake naman yung kaniyang war medals and war records, patong-patong na po ito. It is overwhelming proof that he is not a hero," she said.