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Black Friday: Protests erupt vs FM Libingan burial

Political activist Mae Paner kisses a papier mache depicting former president Ferdinand Marcos during a rally at the Quirino Grandstand yesterday. EDD GUMBAN

MANILA, Philippines - Some of them ran naked instead of wearing black like most of the protesters.

Braving the rains in Metro Manila, various groups took to the streets and came together again yesterday to express their indignation against the surprise burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on Nov. 18.

They assailed President Duterte’s continued justification of his decision to allow the burial by being legalistic instead of considering all viewpoints and urged him to end his alliance with the Marcoses.

With “Let’s Volt In” playing, the groups representing different sectors converged in Rizal Park in Manila carrying placards, banners and an effigy of the late dictator in a coffin. The other effigies brought by protesters in various areas nationwide were burned.

Activist and artist Mae Paner dressed up as Marcos’ widow and former first lady Imelda to demonstrate the ex-first family’s defiance despite their ouster from the country in 1986 through the People Power revolution.

At the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, more than a dozen members of the Alpha Phi Omega staged the annual Oblation Run to protest the burial before the UP community joined the rally in Manila. Participants in the Oblation Run are naked in honor of the Oblation statue located in every UP campus, which symbolizes “a selfless offering of one’s self to the country.”

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There were also protest actions conducted in different parts of the country dubbed “Black Friday: National Day of Unity and Rage” organized by various groups.

On social media, those joining the cause were urged to use the hashtag #HeroMoMukhaMo to express their opposition to the burial and proclamation of Marcos as a hero.

For the Bagong Alyasang Makabayan (Bayan), Marcos’ burial was not the endgame for the dictator’s heirs but “just another step in their unending efforts to return to Malacañang on or before 2022.”

Bayan, along with the other groups of protesters, took the President to task for his seeming connivance with the Marcoses. 

Students burn an effigy of Marcos near Malacanang yesterday. In another rally, a protester shows an anti-Marcos message using her laptop. AP

“The dictator’s heirs are now closer than ever to achieving their return to the highest seat of power,” Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes said, adding Duterte must reverse the burial and “once and for all abandon his alliance with the Marcoses.”

“It is not enough that Duterte allow the holding of protests against the burial,” he said. “More importantly, he should listen to the people’s rage. He should understand their deep resentment of the dictator and their opposition to his rehabilitation.”

Reyes also said that the Marcos burial was a “moral, historical and political question, more than a mere legal issue,” contrary to what Duterte said, as he challenged protesters to dispute Marcos’ being a former soldier and president.

“He was a soldier who faked his war records and he was a president who illegally held on to power for two decades, committing plunder, gross human rights violations and shameless puppetry to foreign interests,” Reyes stressed.

Former senator Aquilino Pimentel Jr. also said the controversy was far from over because thousands of martial law victims like him could not possibly rest despite the Supreme Court ruling stating Duterte did not commit grave abuse of discretion in allowing the burial.

‘Let’s Volt In’

The protesters played “Let’s Volt In,” the theme song of Voltes V, a popular Japanese anime TV series dubbed into English that was aired in the Philippines from 1978 until 1979 before it was stopped by the martial law regime supposedly due to violent content that had a negative effect on children.

Other accounts said though that Marcos felt the show’s radical nuances might inflame communism or socialism or spark a coup d’etat.

A group of lawyers, who held a protest outside the SC on Padre Faura street in Manila before proceeding to Rizal Park, said being able to freely express their opinion was one of the rewards of the People Power revolution that ousted Marcos in 1986 and they wanted to exercise it.

The group called on the SC to respect and uphold justice and the rule of law.

Lawyer Edre Olalia of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) said while they would file a motion for reconsideration on the SC decision allowing the Marcos burial, it would be good to impress upon future members of the Bar that “not all lawyers are reptiles” or cold-blooded animals.

Olalia pointed out “even the SC should be indebted to the ouster of Marcos because otherwise, we might not have any SC at all.”

In the other protest actions held in different areas nationwide, images of people, including some Ilocanos relating their experiences during martial law, were posted on social media to counter efforts to make people forget about the atrocities committed during that time.

Fr. Ben Alforque of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) stressed Marcos was no hero and the young people must be educated correctly about martial law.

“Marcos was no hero. We must protest every attempt to sanitize, whitewash or revise the historical truth of the massive corruption as well as widespread human rights violations and repression of democratic participation during the dark days of martial law,” Alforque said.

The PCPR and Bonifacio Ilagan, spokesman for the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (CARMMA), said Duterte must stop the political accommodations for the family of the late dictator.

The PCPR noted that “by placing the remains of a deposed dictator in a cemetery named for heroes, this latest machination by the Marcos clan to manipulate our nation’s memory rightly pricks our collective outrage.”

Ilagan said the President must also stop justifying the burial on mere legalistic grounds, arguing: “Would you allow narco-generals and officials to be buried in the same place?”

Ilagan also said the President must end his alliance with the Marcos family and refrain from making “repressive posturing pronouncements,” such as the threat to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus and granting immunity to the uniformed forces in the war against illegal drugs.

CARMMA reminded the President that change would not come by emulating a “despot” and a dictator. – With Janvic Mateo, Evelyn Macairan, Rhodina Villanueva, Jaime Laude, Non Alquitran, Rainier Allan Ronda, Perseus Echeminada

 

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