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Dead Croc Buried

Junelie Anthony Velonta

What do you call someone whose deeds were falsified under the guise of progress, valor was stolen from the unknown and unremembered dead, and wealth leeched from the poorest bowels of a state? In the local balbal term, some would refer to it as buwaya. The term is associated to many: from the basketbolero who frequently hogs (or hugs) the ball, to the most powerful persona governing the country who many wished didn’t exist in the whole history of Philippine politics. Yes, folks, I AM talking about the grate (sic intended) Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr.

No, I will not be talking about how corrupt he was (although it is proven) and his unprecedented work in improving Philippine infrastructure (although it is much outweighed) but, I WILL be talking about his issue on disgracing the many noble and victorious dead. Yes, he is perhaps the most decorated Filipino war hero in the Second World War, but nothing is more decorative than compensatory medals and ribbons that serve no true purpose. Is he noble? No. Is he victorious? Perhaps. Is his service to the country in the duration of the War as beneficial to us as he claims it, boastfully? Certainly not. Is he finally dead? YES, and many are happy about it.

First of all, what makes a Filipino eligible for the great opportunity of being buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB)? For that, we refer to Republic Act No. 289 and AFPR G 161 374. Stated in Section 1 of RA No. 289 is the reason of the existence and purpose of the LNMB: “to perpetuate the memory of all the Presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and patriots for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generation still unborn.” Note: INSPIRATION and EMULATION.

Now, let us put these questions to the works of our brains. What kind of inspiration could we extract from the haunting memory of Mr. Marcos Sr.? True, infrastructure boomed in his regime but, don’t you think it was just to compensate for what happened later in his regime. Killings, kidnappings, tortures. These are but few words to describe what it cost the government of that time for the “peace and discipline.” Now, don’t get me started on the emulation. What do we want to imitate? A mastermind when it comes to hoarding wealth? Geez.

AFPR G 161 374, on the other hand, provides the qualifications to be allotted a plot for burial in the LNMB. Paragraph 2 of the former, titled Allocation of Cemetery at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, states that the remains of veterans of the First and Second World War, former Presidents, Medal of Valor awardees are among the few privileged to receive at least this treatment for their immeasurable service to the country.

Surely, Mr. M was a retired military man, a veteran of WW2, and a former president but another paragraph of the said rules clearly defines the personas not to be buried at the LNMB. “Personnel who were dishonorably separated/reverted/discharged from the service” and “Authorized personnel who were convicted by final judgment of the offense involving moral turpitude” are not allowed to be buried in the aforementioned cemetery as not to desecrate it. Wait. I hear something inside my head. “Isn’t that Marcos?” Well, the second doesn’t really apply because HE DIED before being convicted by the Filipino people (and we have currently no means of judging a man’s soul) but the first EDSA Revolution provides more than just proof for the first statement.

In any case, Mr. M’s burial is a matter of decision by the President. Final or not, there is no way this former and wrongfully remembered abomination could deserve his would be patch of land in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. No, I am not rambling on and on because I cannot “move on.” I ramble righteously because this smears dollops of shame to the Filipino people and as a Filipino, I AM ASHAMED.

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