Tuesday, March 22, 2011

MARCOS: To Be or Not To Be @LNMB (Part II)

My youth, my dreams, my early hopes, my ambitions and my politics intertwined with three Filipino political giants whom I called the 3Ms - Macapagal, Marcos and Manglapus.
As a young boy, I could never forget the first time I heard Raul Manglapus deliver a campaign speech for Ramon Magsaysay when the latter was running for President. Listening to him either as a Senatorial or Presidential candidate was always a joy for me. To date, I consider him the greatest Filipino orator, bar none. He graduated from the Ateneo University, Summa Cum Laude.  My speeches as an AFS Scholar in U.S.A.were patterned after his.
Diosdado Macapagal was for me the most academically prepared candidate to become President - a holder of a Doctorate in Economics and a Doctorate of Laws. He placed No. 1 in the Philippine Bar Exams the year he took it. My Valedictory address in high school was inspired and influenced by his 5-year Socio-Economic Development Program.
Ferdinand Marcos was a well-known Ilocano like me who reviewed for the Bar Exams while in prison having been accused of killing his father’s political opponent.  He topped the Bar and defended his own case and finally won acquittal after having been found guilty in the lower court.  He was reputed to be a “war hero”. During my college graduation he awarded me with a Presidential Award on Student Leadership and Academic Excellence.
In 1965, these three brilliant men ran for President against each other. I was part of the San Beda Debating Team that took the Macapagal side in a Marcos vs. Macapagal public debate.  While we won the debate for Macapagal, Marcos won the elections while I was a young non-voting campaigner for Manglapus.
In 1969, I was chosen to be part of the San Beda Law Debating Team that faced the Ateneo Law Team. It was a Marcos vs. Osmena proposition. We were assigned to defend the Marcos side. We won it before a big crowd at the St. Scholastica’s Auditorium. Marcos won the elections but I was then leading the YCSP, Young Christian Socialists of the Philippines, youth arm of Manglapus’ Christian Social Movement, a social oriented but anti-Marcos movement.
As I have shown, in a debate, one could go against Marcos and win. One could also take his side and still win.  Of course, this is true in a more or less free environment where issues are debated freely and without fear.
When Marcos declared Martial Law and made himself a dictator with almost absolute powers, for freedom-loving Filipinos, it became untenable to take and defend his side. You would have to be a sycophant, a paid-propagandist, a loyalist, or a threatened and coward liar to defend the atrocities committed during his dictatorial regime.
I was sincere when I said in my previous article that for the sake of his father and his own, Senator Bongbong Marcos should let his father rest in peace and should instead fathom his own destiny and focus on his own achievements and family redemption through good deeds.
Imee Marcos earlier publicly declared, “If it were my call, I would want my father to attain peace and quiet at a proper grave just so this controversy will cease.” She feared that her father’s tomb could be vandalized at LNMB, in the same way that the giant bust in his likeness was exploded by dynamite at its Benguet site.
Imelda Romualdez Marcos also had previously indicated she had lost interest in having her late husband brought to LNMB a couple of decades after his death. She said, “There’s always another place to bury FM. Besides, there’s always divine justice when you are on the side of truth, so with Mr. Marcos’ achievements as war hero, congressman, senator and president, there’s sure to be another equally beautiful burial place for him.”
There is wisdom to what the two Marcos women were saying as compared to Bongbong’s stance at this time. Bongbong should realize that insisting on his father’s burial at the LNMB would encourage those against it to revive what had been forgotten; remind everyone of all the gruesome details; state newly and freely discovered facts; and make them all available and accessible through modern communication technology and social media to the old and new generation not only in the Philippines but worldwide.
People only remember, forget, and forgive what they know. So far, Filipinos only know what was published and made known on a limited accessibility, availability and affordability basis. In fact, when some of the information came out, Marcos was in control of the Philippine media, and could detain anybody who published anything negative about his regime and who disagreed with him, his family or his cohorts. 
If Bongbong continues to insist and persist, everything that brought dishonor during his father’s dictatorial regime; the many offenses involving moral turpitude; would be known and spread up to the remotest areas that regular media, the internet and smart phones can reach.
Research made by the Movement for a Free the Philippines led by Manglapus and other human rights groups shows that Ferdinand Marcos allegedly committed the following offenses:
1.    Shutting down Congress and the independent media;
2.     Imprisoning innocent nuns, priests, professionals, journalists, professors, students, labor leaders, and political oppositionists;
3.    Detaining tens of thousands of others whose only offense has been to dissent and to speak for freedom;
4.    Torturing prisoners with monstrous devices, including electric shocks to male and female organs, which our fathers and forefathers never experienced even under the Japanese Kempeitai, the American Military Police or the Spanish Guardia Civil;
5.     Killing lesser known political prisoners in secret summary executions, trusting that their lack of prominence will invite no attention to his vile act;
6.    Castrating the judiciary, emasculating the labor unions, prostituting the teaching profession by making cheaters out of them in farcical elections; disgracing the journalism profession;
7.     Assaulting the minds of the young, scheming like Hitler, Stalin, and Mao to kill their innate passion for liberty with vicious techniques of regimentation;
8.     Indulging in an orgy of foreign borrowing, mortgaging future generations beyond redemption;
9.     Causing, by brute coercion, to be transferred to his name, or that of his relatives and cronies, commanding shares in every significant industrial, agricultural and mining enterprise in the land; 
10. Looting Philippine coffers of billions of dollars; and
11.  Many other offenses which we obviously do not want current and future generations to emulate.
Marcos built his political life on being a “War Hero” claiming to have earned 33 Awards, Medals and Decorations. This is more than what Audie Murphy, the most decorated American hero, earned.
On December 18, 1983, John Sharkey of the WASHINGTON POST opened a long article by saying, “However, 18 months of effort to verify Marcos’ claims to high American decorations raises serious doubts that he actually was awarded those medals.” He then proceeded expounding on the results of his research.
In 1982, WE FORUM in the Philippines and the PHILIPPINE NEWS in the United States published a series of articles by Bonifacio Gillego debunking the bases for the award of the numerous Philippine military medals and decorations of Marcos. Many of the medals were awarded on the same day of December 1963 almost 20 years after the end of World War II and several medals were awarded for the same alleged action and no reliable record could be obtained for the heroic action alleged as the justification for these awards. Marcos summarily shut down the WE FORUM and detained its Editor and staff accusing them of “sedition”.
On January 23, 1986, the NEW YORK TIMES demolished the myth that Marcos led a major guerilla unit of more than 8000 men against the Japanese called “Maharlika”. The WASHINGTON POST also published a day later revealing that the U.S. Army documents suggest that instead of fighting the Japanese, Marcos actually worked on behalf of Philippine politicians who were in collaboration with the Japanese.
Many of the offenses allegedly committed by Marcos mentioned above were not only crimes involving moral turpitude, offenses that brought shame and dishonor but most especially, crimes against humanity. Under the latter, following the doctrines enunciated in Yamashita and several cases and under International Criminal Law, there is no Statute of Limitations, there is International Jurisdiction, and that Command Responsibility is an accepted principle.
Marcos may have died preventing an international trial ala the Nazi criminals, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Chile’s Pinochet, Rwanda’s Kagame and other fallen dictators. But many of his co-conspirators, cohorts, cronies, co-principals, accomplices, and accessories are still alive.
Reviving, discovering, detailing, and uncovering the atrocities under Marcos could lead to unintended consequences that Senator Bongbong Marcos might regret just for insisting that his father be buried at the LNMB.
Instead, in the words of Facebook friend Bettina Bonnevie Obias, “His children should make a remarkable act of atonement, if they want the sordid mark on their name untarnished and not to contrive further ruse that further impugns their name and Pres Marcos’ memory. After all, we Filipinos are compassionate & magnanimous people.”
LIBING is LEAVING it to the LIVING! Or as my barber said, "is it Living > Leaving > Libing?"

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