MANILA (UPDATED) – An illustrated short story, published in time for protests on the hurried burial of late President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, went viral on social media Wednesday.
The story, entitled "The Monster in the Cemetery," garnered more than 4,700 reactions and about 7,400 shares on Facebook as of this writing.
Readers compared it to works by American horror writer Stephen King, and speculative fiction "rock star" Neil Gaiman.
"Parang Stephen King novel for kids ... also for adults ... katakot (scary)!" said one reader on Facebook.
"The Monster in the Cemetery" tells the story of a monster who convinces people of its innocence, "to lower your guard so that it can steal again."
While not clearly stating that it is about Marcos, who was recently buried at the Heroes' Cemetery, one frame shows a drawing of the late dictator.
However, while the story drawn by 20-year-old illustrator "Tumbke" received accolades from those against Marcos' "surprise" burial, it also garnered criticisms from supporters of the late strongman and his family.
"Wala namang napatunayan na may ninakaw sila (Nobody proved that they stole anything)," said one commenter, while another said that the "real monsters wear yellow," alluding to those who supported Marcos' ouster.
According to Tumbke, while she did not expect her work, a collaboration with a friend who critiqued her concept, copy, and art, to go viral, she did expect it to gain attention because of the controversial topic. She also downplayed criticisms that she is too young to comment on Martial Law, which happened years before she was born.
The story, she said in an interview over Facebook, was also her way of joining protests on Bonifacio Day, as she wanted to join them but could not.
"I wanted something to solidify my support for this movement, be it a comic or my physical presence at a rally. I wanted something more than just a political rant online that reflected my stance on the issue," she said.
Tumbke added that while she learned about Martial Law first during her elementary school years, the “real eye opener” was during history classes at Asia Pacific College.
"My professor had so much passion when talking about history, and it made everything so much more interesting…after that, it was just a matter of doing my own research about it and forming my opinion based on what I read," she said.
Access to information, she said, is a privilege she feels lucky to have, just like freedom of expression.
"I'm taking advantage of the freedom of expression that our dear president swore to protect, and hopefully listen to. Shout out to that person who made a placard of my comic, by the way! You rock!!"