TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag - The Freeman

This is not intended to disrespect the memory of those who lost their lives during martial law or to belittle the experience of those who suffered under it. But if it is only in deference to the victims that the burial of Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is to be prevented, then I do not see how it can be fair and equitable to all Filipinos.

I hate to disappoint those who believe otherwise, but not all Filipinos were victims of martial law. If some fell victim to Marcos, probably just as many loved him for reasons of their own. And then there is the undeniable fact that the vast majority of apolitical Filipinos went on with their lives as if martial law was never there.

If those who are very vocal against martial law are up to it, they can easily verify this by going around the country and try asking folks already around when martial law was declared to see if they share the same sentiment. But I doubt if they will. It is far easier to sustain the narrative if they do all the talking. The problem is, one narrative does not the whole story make.

I am not saying the martial law narrative is dead. But if it helps to provide some perspective, the results of the past two presidential elections cannot be more instructive and enlightening. In 2010, an election that had an Aquino running for president, Bongbong Marcos placed 7th in the senate race. In 2016, Bongbong lost in the vice presidential race by the skin of his teeth. In both elections, the name Marcos, martial law and the dictatorship were the issues Bongbong faced.

The results of the two nationwide elections involving tens of millions of Filipino voters have spoken with a voice far louder than all the anti-Marcos forces can out-shout away or drown out. And both national elections have handed down a verdict that is far clearer and more convincing that all the arguments the brightest Marcos critics can muster.

For how can supposedly democratic forces, continuing their fight against the dictatorial Marcoses, reject two poll verdicts, reached through clean, honest and orderly democratic elections, and not come away looking silly? Perhaps this is why they are now desperately trying to make the Marcos burial their new battleground in their unending obsession with the past.

Repudiated in the polls not just once but twice, and unable to cough up a fresh argument against the same old jaded subject, they now try to play it cute, as when Neri Colmenares asked what signal the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani will give the younger generations. Hey, Neri, there is only one signal that the younger generations understand - and they are using it to chase after Pokemons.

Anything that could have been done about martial law and the Marcoses should have been done already. There have been no less than five opportunities under five different presidents to do so. If the Marcos critics and anti-martial law forces are sincerely concerned about the younger generations and not just patronizing them to promote their own agendas, they should not try to nail them to a past that was, if it was any mistake at all, was the mistake of their fathers.

The world that the younger generations face is a world fraught with many dangers. It is already a taxing and challenging world as it is without the older generations trying to weigh them down with more concerns. With the whole world before them to subdue and conquer, and even to enjoy and bask in if the fates allow, it seems rather insensitive for anyone to dampen their enthusiasm with issues about deaths and burials and people they do not even know.

Besides - and this is very important - how can anyone truly judge Marcos before his God. God has his say about Marcos and if he wants your opinion, he will ask for it. But that will probably come on your own judgment day, when you come face to face with God to ask for his forgiveness. And I cannot help but wonder how a rabidly anti-Marcos person will answer God if he asks: Have you, in your own life, ever forgiven someone?


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