Ninoy’s legacy: the downfall of a dictatorship
IT is especially important now to remember the legacy of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. as the country commemorates his 33rd death anniversary.
Human rights lawyer Democrito Barcenas emphasized that Aquino had become the symbol of the downfall of the Marcos dictatorship and was among the heroes who sacrificed their lives to fight tyranny.
All freedom-loving Filipinos should remember the anniversary of Ninoy’s death.
“Ninoy Aquino was one of the victims of the brutal Marcos dictatorship,” he said.
“His death galvanized the Filipino people and lifted them from their apathy and stupor, that spelled the beginning of the end of the Marcos dictatorship that resulted in the People Power in February 1986,” he added.
Barcenas also said he joins the million of other Filipinos who are against the plan of President Rodrigo Duterte to allow the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
“To do so would be an insult to the thousands, to the more than three thousand Filipinos who were murdered, more than three thousand who were tortured, and more than two thousand who disappeared like Father Rudy Romano in Cebu,” he said.
He also said Marcos stole more than US$10 billion from the Filipino people and only US$4 billion has been recovered by the government.
Aside from that, the Marcoses have not apologized to the nation or asked forgiveness for the atrocities committed during Martial Law.
“We cannot forgive those who never asked for forgiveness,” Barcenas explained.
Furthermore, Barcenas said Marcos does not deserve to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani because he was not a war hero.
He said Marcos’ medals were fake. What’s more, the late president was even imprisoned by the United States Army sometime in 1944 for misuse of army funds.
“We’re opposing that, and I hope that the Supreme Court will grant the petition of several petitioners to prevent the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani because that is unlawful, that is improper, that would be an insult to the many Filipinos who fought and died against the Marcos dictatorship,” he said.
Meanwhile, Barcenas explained that as chairman of the Free Legal Assistance Group, he is not against the campaign to eliminate drugs.
He, however, condemns the extra-judicial killings of drug suspects, which have been pervasive ever since the start of the Duterte administration.
He said extra-judicial killing is against Christianity and the rule of law and due process, which are enshrined in the Constitution.
He also urged President Rodrigo Duterte to conduct a more thorough investigation before naming people who are allegedly drug coddlers and that they should be ready to file cases against them.
“Their honor is also at stake and I believe that a man’s honor is as precious as his life,” he said.
Barcenas said the drug menace is not just a police problem.
“It’s also a psycho-social problem, educational problem, and some other problems like family dysfunction, naghiwalay ang mga ginikanan mao na ilang mga bata mag-adis-adis, kanang loneliness because their parents are working abroad, and there are other factors which in my view, these users are only victims,” Barcenas explained.
“Instead of killing them, they should be treated and rehabilitated,” he added
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