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Philippines: No state burial for Marcos is step toward justice

by Akbayan - Citizens Action Party Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011 at 5:19 AM

Akbayan Party lauded President Aquino’s declaration that the administration will not accord a state burial for the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, saying that this is a positive step toward the issuance of justice and rectification of Marcos’ atrocities during the Martial Law.

Philippines: No stat...
1-imelda-marcos__gloria-macapagal-arroyo.jpg, image/jpeg, 379x311

“There is no honor in perpetuating an abusive regime by silencing political dissent through torture and other human rights abuses. We are glad that the President is one with the Filipino people in recognizing that Marcos, the enemy of Philippine democracy, does not deserve any honor,” Akbayan Representative Walden Bello said.

According to Bello, the President’s strong declaration will also propel pending legislation on the compensation of Marcos-era human rights victims to its positive conclusion.

“Matagal nang patay si Marcos, pero hindi pa rin lumilipas ang bangungot ng Batas Militar. Habang komportableng nakaupo sa matataas na posisyon sa pamahalaan ang pamilya ng dating diktador, hanggang ngayon, naghihintay pa rin ng hustisya ang karamihan sa mga biktima ni Marcos at ang kanilang mga pamilya,” Bello added. “The debate is resolved, Marcos is no hero. It is high time for government to pave the way for justice to be issued.”

Akbayan championed the legislation for the compensation of victims of abuse during Martial Law, which is now awaiting the schedule for debate in plenary. The main thrust of the bill is to finally dispense justice and issue compensation to Marcos’ victims of human rights abuses or the family that survives them.

“In order to end the culture of impunity that allows human rights abuses to persist, we need to make perpetrators accountable and ensure that due compensation and justice is accorded victims. We will take the President’s lead, Akbayan will see to it that Congress follows through on the commitment to the Filipino people that finally, especially for Marcos’ victims, justice will be served,” Bello concluded.

In commemoration of the proclamation of Martial Law, Akbayan also filed House Resolution 1756 declaring Ferdinand Marcos an enemy of democracy.

Akbayan to Bongbong: Filipino people united against your father

Akbayan Party today commended President Aquino’s decision to disallow the burial of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Akbayan Spokesperson Risa Hontiveros said that this decision is a positive gesture to the thousands of martial law victims and their families.

She also chided Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. for his remarks that a hero’s burial for his father could have unified the country. According to Hontiveros, the people were already united before in toppling a brutal regime.

“We thank the President for his decision to put closure to the issue. A hero’s burial for the former dictator is an insult to the thousands of martial law victims. Contrary to Senator Bongbong’s claim that a hero’s burial would unify the country, the country was already unified more than two decades ago to overthrow a brutal dictatorship. Walang na-miss na golden opportunity ang mga Pilipino. In fact, the people used this opportunity to finally put closure to this issue,” Hontiveros said.

According to Hontiveros, the Filipino people united against the widespread human rights violations, corruption, and mismanagement that became the hallmark of Martial Law. She also added that if there was any good legacy that came out of Martial Law it was to value the freedom and rights taken away by Marcos.

Hero’s burial for Marcos a “tragedy and comedy”

The former Akbayan Representative also reacted to Sen. Marcos’ claim that the entire process to decide whether a hero’s burial would push through was a “zarzuela”. According to her, even contemplating a hero’s burial for the late dictator was in itself a tragedy and comedy rolled into one.

“For the victims of martial law, dangling the possibility that the mastermind behind the violation of their human rights be given a hero’s burial is a tragedy and a comedy rolled into one,” Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros also pointed out that given the evidence proving the huge of number of human rights violations, a hero’s burial should be the last thing on the minds of his loyalists. According to her, the legacy of corruption and human rights violations of Marcos is still being felt by the people today.

Hontiveros said, “The truth is that there were 3,257 victims of extra-judicial killings, 35,000 tortured, and 70,000 incarcerated under Marcos’ brutal dictatorship. Those facts contradict any gesture to declare Marcos a hero.”

A hero’s burial for the late strongman was suggested before but President Aquino declined to decide on the matter and delegated the task of making a decision to Vice President Jejomar Binay pending consultations to various stakeholders.

Many social movements and anti-dictatorship activists lambasted the idea of a hero’s burial arguing that such an idea would be revising history and extolling the atrocities during Martial Law.

2011 should be the year justice is served to Arroyo—Akbayan

Akbayan Party today said 2011 must be the year when former President and current Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is formally charged and punished for her direct involvement in the alleged 2004 election cheating.

“This year must be the year of justice. This should be the year when Ms. Arroyo and her cabal of election saboteurs are formally charged and put behind bars by the Aquino government,” Akbayan Spokesperson Risa Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros said that 2011 must also be remembered as "the year of breaking from a corrupt past."

“We must end the culture of cynicism and corruption which were the legacy of the previous administration. This year must bear witness to significant victories against corruption.”

Hontiveros made the statement after Arroyo allies-turned whistleblowers said large amounts of money were distributed during the 2004 elections in order to secure the victory of Arroyo. The witnesses made the accusation before an investigation by the Senate blue ribbon committee.

“The statements made by these whistleblowers specifically the information detailing the extent, process, and execution of the election cheating only strengthened the allegations we asserted seven years ago. It only proved that Ms. Arroyo was an illegitimate president who rose to power in 2004 through illegal means,” Hontiveros added.

Hontiveros who was also a former partylist lawmaker said they look forward to President Benigno Aquino III leading the filing of raps against Arroyo.

“The President has already put just closure on the attempt by certain groups to paint the Marcos regime in a good light which together with the Arroyo government were the two darkest parts of our political history. I’m confident that he will do the same with Arroyo,” Hontiveros said.

“The people have patiently waited for this moment. We are not obsessed with the Arroyos. Rather, we are passionate with the pursuit of justice. Hence, we anticipate that President Aquino will end this year with the triumph of justice,” Hontiveros ended.

It was reported that President Aquino himself ordered the filing of raps against Arroyo. Aquino said charges would be filed against Arroyo this November. ###

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