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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, November 22, 2016
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Come to think of it
with Carlos Antonio L. Leonardia
OPINIONS

Achievement or blame?

come

Ferdinand Marcos is not a hero. There isn't much to debate as far as that is concerned. History and the sheer number of cases that have been filed against him and his heirs provide documentary proof of his failure as a President of the Philippines. He was a dictator, a tyrant, and a world-class plunderer. His oppressive regime killed thousands, tortured tens of thousands, and stole billions.

Marcos doesn't deserve to be buried in a place called the Libingan ng mga Bayani, but he has a very powerful and a very grateful fan in President Rodrigo Duterte. So when Mr. Duterte came into power, one of the acts he prioritized was to show his gratitude to the Marcos family by allowing them to bury the dictator in LNMB.

If you come to think of it, the much ballyhooed executive department FOI that was supposed to be one of the great achievements of Duterte's first 100 days hasn't even been fully implemented and made effective yet, but the dictator's remains have already been transferred to the LNMB. The FOI measure that didn't encounter roadblocks such as petitions to stop it with the Supreme Court remains in limbo yet Marcos has already been buried at the heroes' cemetery. That is a feat of political will and an awesome show of the government's power to mobilize its resources in order to get what its leader considers important, done.

There is no way something like this could've been achieved if it wasn't for Mr. Duterte. After all, it was he who made the campaign promise to put Marcos in the LNMB. His supporters who weren't fans of Marcos probably thought he was joking the way he joked about gang rape. I bet they laughed and thought it was cute when they first heard it. They probably thought he wouldn't follow up on that particular campaign promise after he broke his flagship campaign promise and asked for an extension when it became clear that his claim that he could end drugs and criminality in the country within 3-6 months was mere hyperbole. Well, last week showed us that as far as his friends are concerned, President Duterte is a man of his word and he kept his promise to the Marcoses.

It is easy to understand how they got away with burying Marcos in the LNMB. It happened because our current president expressly allowed it. He verbalized it and then followed up his words by signing the order. Those who disagreed with him ran to the Supreme Court for relief and when the SC finally decided to dismiss their emotional pleas, the president's orders stood and the debt was paid.

There are apologists who insist this isn't Mr. Duterte's fault. I totally agree with them. It was not his fault that a dictator is in the LNMB. This is his achievement. He should be proud of it and own it because he fulfilled a campaign promise.

Then there are those who are shifting the blame to everyone else besides Mr. Duterte. They say that previous administrations could've stopped Marcos from ever desecrating the hallowed grounds of the Libingan ng mga Bayani, had they passed laws or regulations that could've stopped it. But because they didn't when they had their chance, it's now their fault that the nation is in upheaval. That makes sense at first but if you come to think of it, it's like blaming hotel management for not having signs and instructions regarding the use of the bathroom after some moron defecates on the sink instead of in the toilet.

There are no specific and explicit instructions in hotel bathrooms because everybody knows that you shit in the shitter. That same common sense and trust in common decency is probably the reason why there were no laws or regulations stopping Marcos from being buried in the LNMB. They falsely assumed that all presidents think like them as far as the Marcos dictatorship is concerned. That's what we get for relying on common sense and common decency: hotel bathrooms and the LNMB get crap where it shouldn't. Both aren't illegal but they are equally disgusting.

Marcos now is in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. President Duterte is responsible for that. He signed the order. The burial that was carried out as soon as the SC junked the petitions couldn't have been possible without his knowledge or consent. Our military's choppers were available to carry the remains from Ilocos to Metro Manila post haste as soon as all the elements of the secret burial coup were in place. He is the commander in chief of the honor guards who were on the ready so they can silently bear the bones of a plundering dictator. He should take credit for the 21 gun salute and General Bato's riot cops that quickly formed a cordon around the Heroes' Cemetery to protect the Marcoses.

This was his promise. This was his call. If you want to thank somebody, thank him. If you want to blame somebody, blame him. If you think what he did was right and defensible, defend him. Just don't blame it on anyone else.

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