MANILA, Philippines — Three hundred policemen were deployed to the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City as authorities expected clashes between anti-Marcos activists and the family’s supporters during the celebration of former President Ferdinand Marcos’ 100 birthday on Monday, Sept. 11.
This was according to Southern Police District Director Chief Supt. Tomas Apolinario Jr., who said that about 500 members of the Philippine Army were also positioned at the heroes’ cemetery within Fort Bonifacio.
As Marcos protesters dressed up as family and friends of some of the of people who were allegedly ordered killed or tortured by the late strongman trooped to the cemetery, Marcos’ eldest child, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos, arrived in the area, waving to Marcos loyalists while she was on board a white van.
‘Hero to kleptocrats, torturers, plunderers’
The governor promised the family’s supporters, who were standing in line amid the rain, that she would let them join his father’s birthday celebration, which would be attended by an estimated 200 guests.
But the activists, led by the group Block Marcos, said that, “As they celebrated and partied inside a cemetery where Marcos does not deserve to be buried, we mourned our loss and decried the lack of justice over thirty years after Marcos was booted out of power.”
“If Marcos were truly a hero, then we should have been allowed to enter and join the ‘celebration,'” Block Marcos said.
“But the fact that the party was kept off-limits and had to be secured by so many cops and soldiers tells us what kind of hero Marcos is: a hero to kleptocrats, torturers, and plunderers,” said the activists, who carried pictures of the “real heroes” murdered during the Marcos regime, including student leader Lorena Barros, Kalinga leader Macli-ing Dulag, and medical doctor Juan Escandor.
Never forget and we must also rise up once more vs tyranny
Meanwhile, Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan urged Filipinos to never forget “how much the country…suffered while he (Marcos) catered to the interests of the few, how his family lived in extravagance as they plundered resources that should have otherwise gone to better the lives of the Filipino, and how his cronies exercised powers so extraordinary that their traces can still be felt in the shadows of our bureaucracy.”
“We as a people demonstrated the might of a citizenry united and invested in one goal. As the song inspired by the four-day People Power Revolt goes, this was our gift to the world: a non-violent protest that ousted even the most ruthless dictator,” he said.
“We must also remember that our People Power Uprising inspired nations in many parts of the world, such as Poland, South Africa, and South Korea, to likewise rise up peacefully to effect change in their respective nations,” said Pangilinan.
“But even more is required of us now in these trying times. We must, once again, rise up and go against tyranny, abuse of power, and the return of dictatorship,” the senator added.