[Statement] Honoring Marcos: A Distortion of History – AFAD

File photo by afterlives.blogspot.com

The House Resolution No. 1135, reviving the desperate move to bury the late-dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is betraying the Filipino people with its distortion of history and is insulting our very dignity as a nation.

The resolution which has already been signed by more than 200 members of the House of Representatives manifests a shameful ignorance of our nation’s history.  It tramples on the collective dignity of the Filipino people especially of those who valiantly struggled during the dark days of Martial Law, some of whom suffered persecution and consequently lost their lives. The late Senator Benigno Aquino was among them.

It is quite an irony to give Marcos a “hero’s burial” while granting the victims of human rights violations symbolic compensation from his ill-gotten wealth. The dictator Marcos, accused of committing widespread human rights abuses and looting billions of dollars from state coffers during his 20-year dictatorship, was judged guilty of human rights violations by US Federal Courts.

We protest the treacherous act of these 200 lawmakers in resolving to allow Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Burial) in the guise of magnanimous reconciliation.  It is a betrayal of history and a deprivation of the future generation of their right to know the truth.  Marcos, who died unrepentant of his wrongful deeds while his heirs and scions continue to stay in power with total impunity and ironically maintain grandiose display of luxuries, never deserves forgiveness.

How can we forgive when thousands of victims of human rights violations during his more than two-decade rule continue to endure the pain and sufferings and are still seeking for justice?

How can we forget when the country is still burdened with illegitimate debt due to his plundering?

Giving Marcos the honor and forgiveness will only coagulate the existing climate of impunity that allows perpetrators to escape responsibility for their crimes.

The 200 senators who signed the said resolution have no right to exonerate Marcos for the sins he committed against the Filipino people.  Perpetrators of human rights violations like him should have asked for forgiveness and do the necessary reparation and redress in order to re-dignify the victims.  Without justice, genuine reconciliation is never possible.

We, the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances cannot allow the memory of those who disappeared, tortured and killed during Martial law to be obliterated from history by honoring the very dictator who ordered these human rights violations to be committed in the name of national security.

We will never cease in our struggle against forgetting.  We will never let our nation succumb to oblivion.

We are therefore calling on the lawmakers who signed the said House resolution to withdraw their signatures and warning them never to distort our history.

We also call on Pres. Benigno Aquino III to be true to his words during his inaugural speech when he said that reconciliation can only happen when justice is first rendered. He owes it to his parents, he owes it to the Filipino people.

The road to genuine reconciliation is not an obliteration of our dark past.   It should take into consideration the revelation of the truth that guarantees accountability. To heal the wounds of the nation is to accept the responsibility of what happened and ensure that such atrocities will never happen again!

Signed and authenticated by:

MUGIYANTO                                              MARY AILEEN BACALSO
Chairperson                                                   Secretary-General


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