MANILA – Members of the Ateneo de Manila community assembled outside the school's campus on Tuesday to denounce the Supreme Court's decision allowing the interment of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Armed with candles and placards saying “Hindi bayani si Marcos,” “Marcos, Hitler, Diktador, Tuta,” and “Forgiveness demands justice,” students, personnel, and alumni of the Jesuit-run university gathered to oppose the high court’s decision.
At around 5:00 p.m., protesters started converging on the sidewalks of Katipunan Avenue. They lit candles and offered prayers for the victims of human rights violations under the Marcos rule.
Floyd Gonda of the Martial Law Chronicles Project and Dr. Cristina Montiel of the Ateneo Psychology Department turned emotional as they addressed the crowd, recalling the atrocities of the regime and the difficulties of challenging the current administration’s stance on the matter.
Gonda, a graduate of the University of the Philippines, thanked the Ateneo community for joining them since the filing of the cases until the decision was released.
Montiel, for her part, shared how victims were tortured through electrocution and water cure, among others. She said most victims like her are still haunted by these nightmares.
As the night progressed, the peaceful assembly turned into a noise barrage. The protesters urged passing motorists to honk as they chanted, “Busina, busina para sa hustisya.”
As the protesters prepared to enter the school premises, they sang "Bayan Ko," a song that became an anthem of the People Power Revolution.
In an earlier statement, the university’s student council, Sanggunian ng mga Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila, said it “adamantly condemns and decries the proposal that a dictator be buried among heroes.”
“A Marcos burial will not be the first time that the nation has granted official honors to thieves and plunderers. Still, should it succeed, it will be the nation’s greatest falsehood,” it added.
"The burial of a man who increasingly and unapologetically sought to subvert the will of the people and plundered the nation he swore to defend would mock the sanctity of the resting place,” it said.
After the Supreme Court allowed Marcos' interment at the Heroes’ Cemetery, the student council reaffirmed its stand.
“It is more than Marcos that we are burying--we are burying our nation's collective pain. We are burying the sacrifices thousands who were abused, the grief of those who lost their loved ones to a repressive regime, and the very experience that gives value to freedom and democracy that we experience today," said Carmela Vinzon, student council president.
"We are told that burying the dictator Marcos would heal the nation--but there is no healing without justice. And there is no forgiveness without remembrance,” Vinzon added. "We will not lose hope today. We grieve, but we stand resolute. Tomorrow, we will continue to fight for the truth, for democracy, and for the justice that the Filipino people deserve."