INSIGHT AVENUE
Two cents’ worth
by Lea Sicat Reyes

One such fallacy being propagated is that people who oppose the (Marcos) burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani should not use structures and facilities built during the dictatorship. Following that logic, people who hate Aquino should not travel via TIPLEX and should not use the connecting skyway from SLEX to NLEX once it is completed. It’s like saying we owe our leaders for whatever programs they implement during their term. It’s like saying that leaders should expect rewards for every single good they do.

There’s this other fallacy about how allowing the burial will provide “closure” to a divisive issue. The concept of “closure” may have become so overused that its basic condition seems to have been forgotten- closure requires gifting both parties a sense of satisfaction, it’s about seeking what will give both parties mutual peace of mind. Burying Marcos at the LNMB will not appease the victims and their families nor will it quiet the moral outrage in people’s hearts.

And then there’s this fallacy about how objecting to the burial at the LNMB is tantamount to an act of defiance against President Duterte, or is akin to questioning the wisdom of the President. Objections to the issue of burying the dictator at the LNMB did not emerge only during the Duterte administration - these have been there since Marcos passed away. When Joseph Estrada was President and he proposed the idea, people also objected vehemently. It is unreasonable to expect a whole country to agree 100% with the decisions of any leader at any given time; that would be tantamount to blind adulation. To reiterate: just because one objects to the burial does not necessarily mean withdrawal of support for Duterte, nor does it constitute an attack on the Duterte administration. People who cannot make that distinction are obviously furthering a political or vested interest - they want Duterte supporters to join their fight.

In an effort to buttress an obviously weak position, some quarters have now started to float this other fallacy about how Martial Law was eventually good for the country, about how the struggle made our systems and ourselves resilient. This is like saying the Jews who survived the Holocaust and got to rebuild their lives in the USA or elsewhere should be thankful to Hitler for making them stronger. This is like saying someone who was raped and physically assaulted but was able to transcend the pain and tragedy should be grateful for her suffering. Let’s be clear about this - Martial Law was a dark chapter in our life as a nation; thousands were murdered and we became the Sick Man of Asia. There cannot be a belated justification for it; any effort to romanticize our Martial Law experience will collapse under the weight of this fact: It killed democracy, the very same thing that allows you to express your opinions, your hatred and your prejudice without fear of being “salvaged.” Many of my friends were not as lucky as you, including Ma. Teresa Prudencio, a girlfriend in College who joined a factfinding team in a NPA country, was murdered by the military, and whose rotting body was displayed for days in an open area as “bait” for her supposed NPA friends.

And then there’s that fallacy about how it is now high time to forgive and move on - an assertion that collapses when we consider that the Marcoses HAVE NEVER ASKED FOR FORGIVENESS NOR OFFERED TO ATONE for the many wrongs they have done. Forgiveness is an act of kindness given to someone with humility to accept one’s frailties. The Marcoses have continued to act as if they have entitlement in Philippine society or to the accoutrements of power.

And the ultimate fallacy of all, of course, is this: That the burial is a simple act of laying to rest a family patriarch. Anyone who buys this pretense is hopelessly naive. This is about legitimizing a dictator’s reign. This is about rewriting history. And if you think it is just about redeeming family honor - think about all those billions of dollars stashed away and all those other hidden wealth that still need to be claimed once they have regained legitimacy.


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