Nineteen patriots, among them the late Inquirer editor-in-chief Letty Jimenez Magsanoc, were memorialized at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani’s Wall of Remembrance late Wednesday afternoon.
The 19 were hailed as the nation’s “real heroes” for resisting repression during martial rule.
The rites were among key events held in commemoration of Bonifacio Day, marked by protest actions in various parts of the country amid a groundswell of indignation against Ferdinand Marcos’ Nov. 18 burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
“The message we want to convey is that we need to spread the truth about history because if not, this will keep on happening. We saw what happened this month, the one who had committed a sin against our nation was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” said former Sen. Wigberto Tañada, who heads the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation.
“We are honoring these people today, the 19 real heroes, because of the important role they played, the help they gave to topple the dictatorship. We hope this shows the youth, the millennials we call today, that we should not disregard their heroism,” he said in an interview before the rites began at 4 p.m.
In his opening remarks, he emphasized: “Marcos is no hero. He does not deserve to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.”
President Duterte had allowed Marcos’ burial at the LNMB, a decision affirmed by the Supreme Court.
Former senator Rene Saguisag, who came to remember the heroism of his late uncle and colleague, former senator Jovito Salonga, cited the urgency of remembering in the wake of Marcos’ secrecy-shrouded burial.
“To me, this gives greater importance to remembering the real heroes who are here. What I fear is if someone suggests to list Marcos (on the Wall of Remembrance), the Supreme Court will again say there is no law against it. Don’t we have common sense anymore?” he said.
Apart from Magsanoc, journalists Antonio L. Zumel and Lourdes Estella-Simbulan were also among those honored. Also among the honorees were former Senate president Salonga; labor leader Simplicio Villados; soldier Danilo Vizmanos; professionals Manuel Dorotan and Ma. Margarita F. Gomez; artist Benjamin H. Cervantes; Julio Labayen, Romulo Peralta and Jose Tangente from the clergy; and youth leaders during the martial law years Marciano Anastacio Jr., Eduardo Q. Aquino, Fortunato Camus, Hernando Cortez, Edgardo Dojillo, Ricardo P. Filio and Joel O. Jose.