June 09, 2011

For shame!

What is there left to do except decry - again and again – the brazen attempts of the country’s political elite to obliterate the people’s victory over authoritarianism, martial rule and the wanton plunder of the nation’s economy and resources, this time by allowing “full military honors” to accompany the burial of Dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos’ refrigerated remains.

After supposedly consulting with “concerned” sectors (foremost of whom were Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, Governor Imee Marcos and Congresswoman Imelda Marcos) Vice President Jejomar Binay has recommended to President Benigno “Noynoy: Aquino III that “full military honors” be accorded to the dictator should his remains be interred in Ilocos province, his political bailiwick.

Mr. Binay nixed burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, presumably because he wished to avoid any impression that the Aquino government considers Marcos a hero, that being far too controversial.

But to say that the late unlamented dictator deserves “full military honors” just because he was a former Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, no matter that the majority of the same armed forces mutinied against him in the wake of the EDSA people’s uprising, is not at all a “balanced” solution as Mr. Binay claims. Far from it.

Should Mr. Aquino allow such “full military honors”, it would unfailingly lead to the full reinstatement of Ferdinand E. Marcos to the country’s Hall of Fame rather than where he was right after his ouster and where he should remain forever, the nation’s Hall of Perfidy and Shame.

What’s more, it would be another step in the direction of fully reinstating the Marcoses politically and will give his heirs a stab at the highest positions in the land including the Presidency. This is why the Marcoses are delighted at the outcome of the Binay “survey” although they try to appear coy about it.

The proposal is a grave insult even to the Philippine military, at least the remaining decent and upright members of the military.

Marcos used the armed forces to usurp the people's sovereign power. He then dragged it down to the depths of corruption, criminality and human rights abuse,

The Philippine military's reputation was at its nadir when Marcos' power was at its peak and the military has never quite rid itself not only of the stigma but also of the criminal mindset it had acquired under the fascist dictatorship.

It was only when the military abandoned Marcos did its reputation suddenly improve in the eyes of the people to the extent that wily generals like General Ramos jumped at the opportunity to launder its past and started calling it the “New” AFP.

But no real reforms ever took place as the thousands of extrajudicial killings and billions of stolen AFP funds post EDSA I attest to.

Marcos, who was largely responsible for bringing dishonor to the military as well as bringing the military into dishonor and disrepute, is the last person to deserve “full military honors.”

Mr. Aquino acts in so unpresidential a manner by passing on the apparently politically risky decision to his ambitious Vice President (for whom he has no special feelings unlike his bosom friends, shooting buddies and close relatives).

His moronic excuse is that he will be perceived to be biased, being the son of Benigno “Ninoy”Aquino, Marcos’ arch enemy, and Corazon “Cory” Aquino, his political nemesis.

But, like it or not, he is the President of the country. Eventually, it will be his decision whether to accept Mr. Binay’s seemingly harebrained but supremely foxy recommendation.

More likely, the people pushing for this “grand reconciliation” represent the same vested interests that supported both Noynoy’s and Bongbong’s candidacies. These shadowy figures can not fathom any fundamental differences between the two - except for a complex historical thread tying their past and their future together - that cannot be bridged by practical politics.

The Marcos loyalists have also started crawling out of the woodwork, primarily the politicians in Congress who signed on to a House Resolution calling for a hero’s burial for Marcos.

Apart from being a demonstration of crass opportunism, this development provides ample proof that Mrs. Marcos and her children have not only survived their ouster from power, they have retained enough of their ill-gotten wealth to engineer their political comeback and are now skillfully accumulating even more political capital under the Aquino dispensation.

So where is the “Yellow Crowd” in all this? Except for the members of the Makati Business Club who made it their business to condemn what they rightfully called “historical revisionism at its deceitful worst”, we hardly hear any outraged voices from the vaunted “Corystas”.

Does this indicate that those among the privileged classes who celebrated the so-called restoration of democracy via “people power” (and thereby their restoration to positions of pelf and power) are finally done with “people power” and all its messy implications and consequences to the ruling elite?

The sins of omission and commission of those in a position to finally bury the onerous, odious and completely reprehensible legacy of the Marcos era have caused the creeping collective amnesia about it, now to be capped by “full military honors” for Marcos.

But the human rights victims of the Marcos dictatorship who bear the scars of brutal repression have stood up to say NO! and FOR SHAME!

The progressive legislators have countered the impudent House Resolution of the Marcos loyalists and their backers.

Human rights lawyers and advocates, progressive church people, the social and political activists from all classes and sectors and even some patriotic members of the military have also not forgotten and refuse to give up the fight.

In the name of all the martyrs and real heroes who died in the shadow of martial rule, we hope and pray that they shall, in the end, prevail. #

Published in Business World
10-11 June 2011


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