Let’s Just Change the Cemetery’s Name and Move ALL the REAL Heroes to Another Place
April 11, 2011
‘Marcos an anti-hero, doesn’t deserve Libingan burial’
MANILA, Philippines – The leader of a group of World War II veterans on Thursday said the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos is an anti-hero who does not deserve a place at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani.
Atty. Rafael Evangelista, the national commander of the Defenders of Bataan and Corregidor, made the remarks during a wreath-laying ceremony at the Filipino Heroes Memorial in Corregidor as part of the tribute for war veterans in time for the April 9 Araw ng Kagitingan.
Evangelista is the son of the late Rafael Evangelista, who served in the medical corps of the United States Armed Forces Far East in Bataan and Corregidor and was captured and tortured by Japanese forces during the World War II.
The younger Evangelista said he had been asked by many people about his position on the proposed hero’s burial for Marcos.
“When confronted with the issue of Marcos burial at the Libingan, I’ve been forced to ask myself — what legacy would we be leaving to the youth and to the generations after if we allow Marcos’s burial at the Libingan? It is a legacy that it is alright to regard as a hero a man who unleashed the powers of violence against his own people. It is a legacy of what I would call glorification of anti-heroes,” he said.
Evangelista said the late dictator “mangled” the Constitution, closed down Congress and controlled the media during martial law. He said Marcos also imprisoned real heroes such as Lorenzo Tañada, Jose Diokno, and Chino Roces.
Evangelista also cast doubt on the authenticity of Marcos’s war medals, doubts which were first noted in a book written by American author Charles McDougald.
“I believe that saying yes to the proposed burial of Marcos in the Libingan tells our children that Marcos was a hero, that his lifetime cause was freedom, and that the legacy he leaves behind is that of a hero for the cause of freedom. I believe that this is not true,” he said.
He said his position on the issue is not yet the stand of the entire organization, saying he still has to consult with the group’s board.
“I cannot speak for them yet. I have talked to some of them and they answered yes. In fact, Nini Quezon Avanceña, the daughter of President Quezon, suggested that we take a position such as the one we took today,” said Evangelista.
Marcos was elected president in 1965 and was re-elected for a second term in 1969. Before the end of his second term, he imposed martial law in 1972 and stayed as president until 1986 when he was deposed by a bloodless People Power revolt.
He died in exile in 1989 but has yet to be buried. His remains are preserved in the family’s mausoleum in Batac City.
President Aquino has refused to comment on the issue of giving Marcos a hero’s burial. Aquino has maintained that Marcos ordered the murder of his father, the late Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., in 1983.
The President has assigned Vice-President Jejomar Binay to form a committee that will study the issue of a hero’s burial for Marcos.
A Social Weather Stations survey, meanwhile, showed that the public is split on the issue of a hero’s burial for Marcos.
Based on a survey done from March 4 to March 7, the polling institute said it found a “virtual exact split” in the opinions of the respondents, with 50% agreeable and 49% answering that Marcos is not fit to be buried there.
The respondents were asked: “In your opinion, is the body of ex-Pres. Marcos worthy to be buried in the Heroes Cemetery or not? [Sa inyong palagay, karapat-dapat bang ilibing ang bangkay ni dating Pres. Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani o hindi?].”
Of the 50% who answered in the affirmative, 30% said he should be “buried with official honors” and 20% said he should be given “private burial only.”