We in Solidarity Philippines are dismayed over Supreme Court decision which ruled that President Duterte has the authority to order the burial of the remains of the Dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Jesus said “the truth will set you free” (John8:32). It was a moment when the Supreme Court should have upheld the truth of the Marcos dictatorship: that the Marcos government killed more than 3,000 political opponents and tortured tens of thousands; that members of the Marcos family and their associates plundered about $10 billion from the country while millions of Filipinos lived in dire poverty. Yet the majority of the justices preferred to hide behind untruths using very narrow legal reasoning. It would be laughable that justices would say that the cases against Marcos were only civil and not criminal if it were not for the fact that this is only the case because of the climate of impunity which continues to this day. And as Justice Leonen says “they, (the justices) encourage impunity, which is the result of rewarding the person who presided over human rights violations and who personally participated in the plunder of public treasury.”
Bongbong Marcos is quoted as saying “It is our sincerest hope that this will lead the nation towards healing: I think this will be the beginning of bringing the country together.” The truth is the opposite will happen. Rewriting history does not lead to healing. Ignoring the pain still felt by those who were tortured and of the families whose loved ones were killed and disappeared does not lead to healing. Only justice leads to healing: justice for all the victims of the Marcos dictatorship; justice for those looking to have the coco levy returned; justice for the Filipino people who continue to shoulder the burden of unjust loans pocketed by the Marcos family. Without this, the country will never be united.
We commend those justices who issued dissenting opinions, for their ability to look to the truth of the Marcos dictatorship and to oppose the burial of the Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. We join with all those who refuse to let history be rewritten and join them in their demand that the truth of the Marcos dictatorship be acknowledged and justice be given to the Filipino people and particularly to those victims of human rights violations. Only by speaking this truth will the nation be healed and be able to move on as President Duterte claims he desires.
Sr. Pat Fox, nds