MANILA - The youth dominated the thousands who joined the rally held at the People Power Monument today to condemn the “sudden” burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Saying the older generations of politicians have failed to bring justice to those victimized by the Martial Law atrocities under the Marcos regime, student leaders vowed to continue the crusade for justice, which they say has taken a blow by the burial of the late dictator at the hallowed grounds.
“Magsisikap kami at darating ang panahon na kami ang mamuuno at kami ang magbibigay hustisya sa mga taong hindi niyo nabigyan ng hustisya,” said James Ali of San Beda Law School, where President Rodrigo Duterte, who allowed the burial to happen, got his law degree.
(We will strive and one day we will lead this country and we will give justice to those who have so far failed to achieve it.)
“Na-fail man tayo ng ating mga nakakatanda, sisiguraduhin nating hindi natin ife-fail ang mga susunod sa atin.”
(The elderly may have failed us, we will make sure that we will not fail those who will follow us.)
The Supreme Court last week rejected a petition by human rights victims to stop the transfer of Marcos' remains to the same resting place of former presidents, national artists and heroes of war.
Anti-Marcos groups, however, were surprised that the burial pushed through despite the pending appeal from the petitioners for the high court to overturn its decision.
Critics took a potshot at the unannounced burial, saying like a “thief in the night,” it was “characteristic” of the late dictator.
Marcos' remains were transferred by helicopter from Ilocos Norte province, where it had been kept since it was brought back to the country in 1993. He died while on exile in Hawaii in 1989, three years after he was ousted by a military-backed popular revolt.
“It is characteristic of him, like a thief in the night,” said prominent anti-Marcos figure Jim Paredes.
“They think this is closure? No! Bastusan ito. (This is utter disrespect). They disrespected all the people who suffered in Martial Law. I call on the Duterte government for doing this. This is a monstrosity.”
PASSING THE TORCH
Several Martial Law survivors surprised by the burial also attended the rally, recalling their ordeal and telling the young crowd to continue pursuing for justice.
“Matanda na kami para mag-rally pa ng ganito pero hindi natin hahayaang mabura ang kasaysayan,” said 78-year-old Fe Mangahas, who suffered a miscarriage after being detained during the Martial Law.
(We are too old to be attending rallies but we will not let history be erased just like that.)
“Ituloy ninyo, mga kabataan (To the youth, continue it),” appealed another Martial Law victim Aida Santos Maranan.
Another Martial Law survivor, Sonny Melencio, said he is glad that many young people participated in he hastily organized event, calling on them to not let another dictator rule over the nation.
“Ito ang katotohanan ng Martial Law (This is the truth about Martial Law),” Melencio said as he narrated how he got detained during the Marcos regime. “Natutuwa ako at maraming kabataan pinag-aaralan niyo ang kasaysayan. (I am glad that many among you are aware of our history).”
Youth leader JC Tejero of the University of the Philippines College of Law, meanwhile, said to ask someone opposed to the burial of Marcos to “move on” is to be out of touch with reality and be devoid of knowledge of history.
Tejero said those who speak of moving on know nothing about the implications of the Marcos rule to the current lives of Filipinos.
“Lahat tayo ay biktima ng Martial Law. Tayo ay ninakawan ni Marcos ng ating mga ama, mga ina, mga tita, tito. Tayo ay ninakawan nina Marcos ng mga hinaharap na sana ay nag-aayos ng bansa ngayon. Tayo ay ninakawan ni Marcos ng kaban ng bayan na hanggang ngayon ay binabayaran ng kabataan at babayaran ng ating mga anak,” he said.
(We are all Martial Law victims. We all got robbed by Marcos of our fathers, mothers, aunts, and uncles. Marcos robbed us of future leaders of our country. Marcos robbed us of our money which until now we are paying for and our children will be paying for.)