MANILA – The burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani should "never have happened" as it allowed the Marcoses to clean up their name, human rights lawyer and senatorial candidate Atty. Chel Diokno said Thursday.
Diokno said the burial of the older Marcos destroyed the truth about what happened during martial law and allowed Marcos' son, ex-senator Bongbong Marcos, to gather momentum for his own presidential bid.
“It’s really very significant not just for me personally but I think for the entire country. Because it enabled the Marcoses to kind of, in a way, clean up their name. And it really destroyed the truth about what happened during martial law," he said in an ANC Rundown interview.
“It’s truly ironic that a person whom our very own Supreme Court characterized as authoritarian in at least nine decisions, whom our own Supreme Court described as a dictator in 19 decisions and who has been really recognized judicially as the only president who was removed by direct act of the people is buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.”
“It really is dissonant and it should never have happened in my opinion,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte, an ally of the Marcoses, allowed the burial of the late dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, just months after Duterte won the 2016 presidential election.
The Marcoses allegedly plundered $10 billion from state coffers during their reign and only $4 billion in cash and assets have been recovered by an anti-graft body formed by his successor, the late president Corazon Aquino.
Marcos' son and namesake, Bongbong, is now seeking the presidency and topped the latest survey on preferred presidential candidates.
"I think it enabled him (Bongbong) to gather some momentum for this campaign run. And it’s really something that perhaps was, as the president himself said, it was a campaign promise he made," Diokno said.
“So that’s an angle I think that should be looked into, in terms of what were the motivations behind this understanding or promise made by the president,” he said.
He added that Bongbong's candidacy reflects the failings of the Philippine justice system.
“I think it’s a reflection of the failings of our justice system.. And the fact that up to now, some of the cases against the Marcoses are still pending, despite the so many decades that have elapsed, there should have been closure by, at least our courts, many many years ago.”
“And I’m wondering why it’s taking so long for justice to happen when all the facts are in and all that’s needed is a decision by the higher courts,” he added.
Diokno’s late father, human rights advocate and former senator Jose W. Diokno, was among those arrested when then President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972. He was released in 1974.
--ANC, 18 November 2021