Just my opinion
By Raïssa Robles
I meant, when she’s dead.
I’m serious. It’s now in the rules and regulations of Libingan ng mga Bayani, that widows of former Philippine presidents can also be interred beside their spouses.
And you know what message that will send throughout Philippine history – that the Conjugal Dictatorship was good for the country. That it was the Golden Age. When it was not. When it was one of the darkest, vilest periods of our history. Worse than during the Japanese or American Occupation.
Do you know that Marcos is the only President who put up an entire system to arrest, detain and torture his own people so that they would not overthrow him as he continued being president beyond his legal, constitutional term?
Marcos was also the only Philippine President who “deprofessionalized” the military. And the military knows that only too well. He kept many loyal generals beyond the age of retirement. He promoted his favorites of mostly Ilocanos. He skewed the military chain of command by giving General Fabian Ver, his spy chief, even more powers than the defense secretary or the Armed Forces Chief of Staff.
I included in the book how the military chain of command actually looked like under Marcos, the Commander-in-Chief.
Even worse than deprofessionalizing the military, Marcos thoroughly corrupted it. (That’s in Chapter 6 of the book.) I am hoping that the decent military officers, active or retired, will tell Commander-in-Chief Duterte that setting up Marcos as a model President AND Commander-in-Chief will send the wrong signal to the army.
What I found really appalling during my research is that the military to this day has not even counted how many of its soldiers actually died during the dictatorship, sent off by Marcos to battle communist and Muslim rebels in his name.
The military to this day also does not have an official account of its history during the Marcos dictatorship. In short, the military has not squarely faced its sordid past and is now even trying to bury it by honoring the Marcos corpse with a hero’s internment.
Everything about burying Marcos in Libingan ng mga Bayani screams “THAT’S WRONG”.
While the government of President Rodrigo Duterte can give all the legal arguments to bury him there – and there are plenty of them, a sign at the entrance of the cemetery shows the travesty of its planned action.
At the entrance of the cemetery for heroes are the words –
“I do not know the dignity of his birth, but I do know the glory of his death.”
Do you know how Marcos died?
In exile, thrown out of his country by his own people, along with his entire family including grandchildren.
Now let me recount to you his dying days.
I included this in Chapter 7 of my book. It is based on personal accounts of his loyal military aide Colonel Arturo Aruiza, which he wrote into a book entitled Ferdinand E. Marcos: Malacañang To Makiki.
In connection with the anti-racketeering case that Marcos and Imelda were indicted for in New York, Aruiza recounted that on November 18, 1988, Marcos was forced to go to the office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Honolulu, Hawaii to be “photographed and fingerprinted like a common thief in a session that lasted three hours, called off only because of his deteriorating physical condition.”
Aruiza said the experience was so stressful that “his eyes squinted; his facial muscles contorted. He began to have facial spasms.”
Marcos asked to go to the bathroom where “he turned cold and clammy, and suffered from vertigo”. The family only learned later that he had a heart attack.
Aruiza asked the FBI “to give the job of fingerprinting Marcos to someone with a gentle touch because the President’s hands were hurting and his cuticles were open wounds”.
Marcos never recovered physically from that humiliation and was always in pain, and in and out of the hospital.
Ten months later, close to midnight of September 27, 1989, Marcos’ son Bongbong arrived at his bedside in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Marcos opened his eyes for the last time and tried to speak to him.
His heartbeat spiked to 200 then fell. The nurses scrambled and he was given CPR. “By then,” Aruiza said, “blood was flowing copiously from the President’s mouth. Three successive shocks were applied.
The pacemaker was activated, but there was no more heartbeat.”
He was 72.
There was nothing glorious about Marcos’ death.
He left behind no words to inspire future generations.
To the end of his days, he was still dangling all that ill-gotten wealth he had amassed in exchange for his return to the presidency or at the very least to Paoay, where he could mount a comeback.
And all these do not matter?
These matter a lot to taxpayers who will also foot the bill of his internment and the 24/7 guarding of his tomb to prevent people from defiling it.