11/10/2016, 14.48
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Filipino bishops say no to Marcos’ burial in Heroes’ Cemetery

The Bishops' Conference criticises the Supreme Court’s decision to move the remains of the late dictator to Manila’s national cemetery. This is “another step to build the culture of impunity in the country. [. . .] Peace can only come if there is justice.” The Order of Friars Minor issues letter listing Marcos’ offences.

Manila (AsiaNews/CBCP) – In a message signed by Mgr Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the country’s bishops have reacted to the authorities’ decision to move the remains of Ferdinand Marcos to the Heroes’ Cemetery.

“We are saddened by the decision of the Supreme Court to allow the burial of former President Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery),” the bishops’ letter says. “We see this as another step to build the culture of impunity in the country. Marcos is no hero!”

Ferdinand Marcos ruled the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. “During Martial Law he made many people suffer by arbitrary torture and death. He deprived many poor people of their basic needs while his family and cronies were enriched. We do not forget this! We will not allow that this be forgotten by the future generations in order that the same strong-hand oppression may not happen again.”

The idea of burying Marcos in Heroes’ Cemetery came from President Rodrigo Duterte.

For many of his critics, the current president draws inspiration from the late leader and his "good father" policy because he too would like to re-establish a dictatorship in the country.

For some time, Duterte has been allied with the Marcos family and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ran for the office of vice-president.

“Burying Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani will not bring peace and unity to the country,” the letter adds. “Peace can only come if there is justice. Justice demands recognition of the harm done to the people and restitution to the victims.” However, until now, the dictator's crimes have not "recognized by his family and by his cronies."

“We are very sad. The burial is an insult to the EDSA spirit,” the letter laments. “It mocks our fight to restore democracy. We are puzzled and hurt and in great grief. It calls on us” to have “greater courage to make the full truth of the dictatorship known.”

The Friars Minor in the Philippines also reacted with words of condemnation to the Supreme Court’s decision.

In a message issued today, they remember the 3,240 people were killed during the Marcos dictatorship, 70,000 people imprisoned, and 35,000 tortured.

Martial law, the friars note, “was a dark moment in our national life.” They feel “sadness, disappointment, frustration, dissatisfaction, irritation with the Supreme Court decision.”

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