Veterans' group join protest vs Marcos' hero's burial

Paul Henson, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2016 03:30 PM | Updated as of Aug 19 2016 03:31 PM

What makes a man a hero?

This question was in the minds of the people in this group composed of a widow of a former guerilla, a son of a military man during the Martial Law, and a World War II veteran.

As the controversy surrounding moves to allow the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani wages on, Honorio Mitra, 93, said the measure of a hero is simple: honesty.

"Yung tapat sa kapwa at hindi gumagawa ng kaalibasbasan sa kapwa."

President Rodrigo Duterte has said he is simply following the law, arguing that Marcos was a soldier and a former president and therefore must be buried at the heroes' cemetery.

But this veteran's advocate believes otherwise.

Ago Pedalizo's late father was an Air Force man who served under Marcos.

"Hindi nagnakaw ang tatay ko. Walang cases of torture, walang rape. At obviously hindi kami mayaman. Hindi kami nagnakaw. So para itabi mo siya sa mga taong gumawa noon, maiinsulto siya ulit," he said.

The Philippine government itself recognizes the human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship, with P10-billion allotted for the reparation of more than 75,000 victims who filed claims before the Human Rights Claims Board.

This widow of a former guerilla and Purple Heart awardee said history will judge why Marcos should not be given a hero's burial.
 
"Oo hindi itinatanggi marami siyang nagawa, naging presidente siya pero nahaluan ng masyadong mabigat na [kasalanan], paanong magiging bayani?," said Flor Delos Santos.

The advocates instead posed this challenge to Duterte:
 
"Nandun ka sa tamang pagkilala kung sinong bayani at sinong hindi. Sa iyo hindi malinaw, sa amin malinaw. At dapat ang utang na loob sa aming bumoto sa iyo, hindi kung sino ang nagpondo sa iyo sa eleksyon," said Pedalizo.

With Duterte saying he will follow the high court's decision, Marcos victims have filed a petition at the Supreme Court asking for a restraining order against the hero's burial of Marcos.

READ: Hero's burial for Marcos mocks Constitution, rights victims tell SC

Until then, these veterans advocates say their voices will be heard in protest.