Small yellow group raps Du30 tack on Marcos burial

Anti-Marcos groups, although much diminished, including the yellow supporters of former President Benigno Aquino III braved heavy rains to assemble at the Lapu-Lapu monument in Rizal Park to oppose President Duterte's decision to allow the burial of the late former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).

The gathering organized by the Coalition Against Marcos' Burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (CAMB-LNMB), which claims to be "unpartisan" was also strongly backed by the also much shrunk Liberal Party (LP).

Prominent figures from the LP, including its defeated presidential candidate former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros led the rally that appeared more of an anti-Duterte movement.

Duterte had criticized the "yellows", which is his term that included the LP, for making noise against his decision.

"They are now opposing the burial? Then they, the yellows, should've created a law that should have banned President Marcos from being buried at the Libingan. The yellows had their chance while in power to do it, but they didn't," the President told reporters last Thursday night.

LP stalwart Vice President Leni Robredo, who was expected to attend the rally, was, however, a no-show in the Luneta assembly.

Apart from being a vocal anti-Marcos advocate, Robredo almost lost to the late dictator's son former Senator Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. in the vice presidential race during the May 9 elections.

But MalacaAang chose to shrug off the outcome of the rally which attracted only at most hundreds of rallyists.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said despite the anti-Marcos protest actions, Duterte remains unmoved in his decision to allow the remains of the late strong man to rest in the heroes' cemetery.

"The President has repeatedly said that he would allow any form of protest, like organizing mass actions against (Marcos') burial at the LNMB. The President's stance, however, remains firm that there is clarity in the regulations governing the late President Marcos' burial," Andanar told reporters in a text message.

"This is consistent with his philosophy that criticism, good or bad, true or not, is part of the territory of governance in public," he added.

Furthermore, the demonstrators carried a large banner stating "Marcos not a hero." They also waved "dislike" signs, placards and the Philippine flag.

Notably, Duterte has insisted that Marcos should receive a burial fit for a former soldier.

"You need only to be a president and a soldier. We are not debating about heroes here. That's the law. We cannot go out of the law," he said.

The President is also undeterred by the findings of the National Historical Commission that the late dictator faked his military records during World War 2.

The Commission has said Marcos' claims of medals and the guerrilla unit he founded were not corroborated by the National Archives of the US.

Yellows claim 2,000 rallyists

The rallying group claimed 2,000 people joined the protest action.

"We would be the laughing stock of the entire planet," Senator Risa Hontiveros said.

She called Marcos an "unrepentant enemy of our heroes".

Marcos's family have kept his preserved body on display after he died in exile in 1989 following a popular revolt three years earlier, demanding that it be buried with full honors in the Heroes' Cemetery.

Marcos was elected president in 1965 and declared martial law in 1972, allowing him to rule as a dictator.

But Duterte, who has styled himself as an anti-corruption crusader, defended Marcos, noting that his father had served in the Marcos cabinet and he himself had even voted for Marcos before.

Duterte has previously said that he won the May 9 elections partly with the support of the Marcos family who remain influential in their bailiwick in the Ilocos region.

A small protest was also staged by human rights victims outside Duterte's southern hometown of Davao city, where candles and flowers were placed outside the city hall, television reports said.

The protests were joined by Marcos-era victims of torture and imprisonment as well as relatives of victims of extrajudicial killings, which historians say claimed thousands of lives.

Protesters shed tears during the three-hour protest and organizers launched a signature campaign to try to reverse Duterte's decision.

"I was jailed when I was young. It's so hard to imagine that he will be buried in the Heroes' Cemetery," former Marcos prisoner Danny Tang said.

University of the Philippines Professor Ricardo Jose alleged that to win war medals for bravery, Marcos faked his service record in the anti-Japanese resistance when Japan occupied the country in World War II.

"There are World War II heroes buried there who sacrificed their lives.... But here's one guy who distorted things in his favor," Jose said.

"It is the Marcos family and not the whole nation that needs to move on by giving their dead a final resting place in Ilocos," Partido Manggagawa (PM), one of the groups that joined the rally said.

"The former dictator ruthlessly ruled and divided this nation for over two decades, thus, his burial at Libingan can never be considered a unifying action. It is the Marcos family that needs to move on in this issue by doing a simple and final act of laying their dead in Ilocos," said the group in a statement sent to media.

The group likewise believed the presidential endorsement made by President Duterte cannot bring this issue to a final closure, saying his personal commitment to the Marcos family does not necessarily represent the unified sentiment of the Filipino people.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) earlier joined the opposition against Duterte's decision on the Marcos burial.

The CPP, in a statement, said that Duterte is playing "bull-headed" by standing by his decision to bury Marcos at the LNMB.

"Duterte's decision on the Marcos burial displays extreme insensitivity to the sensibilities of thousands of victims, families and survivors of martial law barbarities," the CPP said.

"He insults the memory of thousands of patriotic Filipinos from all walks of life who gave up their lives at the prime of their youth to fight for the dictatorship's overthrow," it added.

At the same time, the CPP lambasted Duterte for ordering military honors fit for a president to Marcos, who ruled the country for 20 years.

"By claiming Marcos deserves to be buried with other former soldiers, Duterte is helping perpetuate the historical lies surrounding Marcos' bogus medals and phoney Maharlika guerrilla unit," the CPP said.

"By further ordering that Marcos be accorded military honours befitting a former head of state, Duterte is virtually deleting Marcos' bloody record as a military despot and the fascist violence, human rights violation, corruption and economic hardships he made the Filipino people suffer through 14 years of dictatorship," it added.

With his "bull-headedness", the CPP said that the President will be squandering the historical lessons treasured by many Filipinos.

"They are being politically disarmed from preventing the rise to power of future dictators. Many fear this will be self-serving as Duterte bandies threats to declare martial law if he doesn't get his way in the frenzied war against drugs," the CPP warned.

Duterte is standing firm on its campaign promise and decision to bury Marcos to LNMB. He has openly admitted his closeness to the Marcoses, particularly the son and namesake of the late strongman Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

Incidentally, the CPP said it will no longer support Duterte's all-ou campaign against illegal drugs.

The CPP expressed full support to various sectors which are opposing the burial of Marcos to LNMB.

"Riding on surveys claims of high approval ratings, Duterte taunts the people to protest as much as they want in the streets. He reveals his indifference to people's demands," the CPP said.

Source: Daily Tribune