THERE CAN NEVER BE PEACE WITHOUT TRUTH AND JUSTICE:
NO TO MARCOS BURIAL AT THE RESTING PLACE FOR HEROES
(LIBINGAN NG MGA BAYANI)
June 19, 1998
The Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND), is vehemently opposed to the move to bury the remains of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
FIND believes that every person must be given a decent burial. The Marcoses could have done this, ages ago, on the day the remains of the late dictator arrived in Philippine soils. They have all the resources to undertake the burial, anywhere they please except for the Libingan ng mga Bayani, but they did not. Their persistence in burying Marcos at the Libingan is therefore seen as one of their political strategies to regain power in the country. The return of the remains was already a victory for them, what with the return to government positions of their family members. This time, the issue of the burial which would mean another political victory for the Marcoses, who have for years, deceived the Filipino people is in the hot spot.
We, the families of countless desaparecidos in the country cannot simply allow that Marcos who had caused the suffering and even possible deaths of our missing loved ones in the struggle for freedom, justice and democracy, would be hailed a hero. His burial at the Libingan, even without state honors, would be a great disservice to, worse still, shame on the Filipino people especially to those who valiantly struggled and lost their lives during the dark reign of the dictatorship. If the burial at the Libingan pushes through, the only thing that will be remembered of him is that he is a hero. His atrocities and injustices to the people will be forgotten and a chapter in our history will be erased. How can we allow such a big step in forgetting the injustices of the past, when we are yet to attain justice? How can we allow our next generations of Filipinos to be deceived that Marcos is a hero? How can we ever allow ourselves to lose our dignity as a people in the face of the international community?
When the demerits are forgotten, only the merits will remain, and this is a sign of forgetting and of forgiving. How can the families ever forgive the man who caused the disappearance of 759 documented desaparecidos and thousands more of unnamed victims of different forms of human rights violations, the man who institutionalized these state violence against the people and the same man who robbed the country s freedom? How can we ever forgive those who have not even sought repentance. But even if they ask, it is never easy to forgive, for societies cannot be reconstructed on a foundation of false reconciliation, inadequate justice, presidential pardons and forgetting injustices done.
FIND never ceases in its battle against forgetting the desaparecidos and other victims of human rights violations and in giving justice to them and their families.
We are calling on the incoming administration to be sensitive to the sentiments of the human rights victims particularly the martial law victims and more so not to compromise its promise to the Filipino people to combat criminality and injustice regardless of the concern s status, influence and relationship, in this case the Marcoses. Most of the victims of human rights belong to the marginalized sectors of our society. Can the new administration be consistent in its much-avowed campaign slogan, ERAP PARA SA MAHIRAP?
We are also calling on our co-human rights defenders to be one with us in our consistency with the human rights principles, which have guided us through all these years. If we allow the Marcos remains to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, how soon have we forgotten the very principles we have fought for all these years? This is an opportune time for us to show to ourselves, to our children, to our children s children and to the world that we can never allow yet another human rights violation to the Filipinos as a people to aggravate the still unhealed wounds of the past. The burial of the Marcos remains in the resting-place of heroes is in itself a human rights violation - an insult to our dignity as a people.
Lest we forget, it was during the peak of the harsh repression of the Marcos regime, when most of the Philippine human rights groups sprouted, grew and began the task of documenting human rights violations, advocating for human rights locally and internationally and organizing victims and their families. It is therefore the responsibility of the existing human rights organizations to stand against this move, to further the organizations reasons for being to give redress to injustices committed and to stop such practices.
There can never be peace without truth, justice and reconciliation, for the peace that we seek is peace based on justice. The justice that we seek lies not in forgetting the past but in remembering that which should never be forgotten.
FIND EXECUTIVE COUNCIL,MS. MARY AILEEN D. BACALSO MS. DAISY VALERIO Co-Chairperson Secretary-General MR. RUBEN M. RESUS MS. RAQUEL PACA-SANTOS National Treasurer Deputy Sec. Gen. External MS. WILMA QUIETA-TIZON MR. GEORGE MANOG Deputy Sec. Gen. Internal National Organizing Officer
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