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With the rest of the garbage

By: Raymund Fernandez November 15,2016 - 08:59 PM

Yesterday, we “buried” Marcos at the Lubnganan sa mga Basura, better known as the Inayawan Sanitary Landfill, so to speak, together with the rest of the garbage.

The sponsors of this mass action invited us to make the effigies for this affair: Marcos’ body, in the way we best remember him, dead and lying on a flat, hard bed, and the nine Justices who allowed the Marcos burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani.

We made an installation of it at the UP grounds. And I took the occasion to talk to my students about what the installation meant to me and why I made it. I recalled, of course, the time when I was like them, a student. This was 1975. We were still under martial law. And so I told my students that my generation of Filipinos are inclined to try our best so that we will never return to those times.

My students were, of course, born way after 1986. They have no actual experience of what it means to live in a place without the freedoms they now and always had. Back in those days, people obeyed the law for the fear of it. The dictator Marcos could enact laws by decree. Media became state media. For real news, we had to go to underground media — mimeograph copies from respected writers, some of whom were in jail. We received then reproduced them and handed them over to those we could trust, hand-to-hand.

Those were dangerous times. The power of the courts to issue the writ of habeas corpus was suspended by Marcos’ decree. This writ “(literally to ‘produce the body’) is a court order to a person (prison warden) or agency (institution) holding someone in custody to deliver the imprisoned individual to the court issuing the order” (…/appeals-writ-habeas-corpus-faq-29096-5.html).

This writ ensured no one could be imprisoned unless a case was filed against him or her before a court of law. The suspension of this writ made it possible for the Marcos government to cause with impunity the disappearance or imprisonment of virtually anyone. And they did just that to many: friends, ordinary people who crossed them and well-known people whose only crime was to tell the truth about things. I remember Fr. Rudy Romano.

My students do not have recollection of how our people ended martial law, how they took to Edsa and stood against tanks and well-armed soldiers and police. Unless they could tell the future, they probably thought to themselves back then that they were all going to die that day. And still, they held their ground. People gathering in groups to face-down Marcos’ forces happened also in key cities of the country, including Cebu. It was an absolutely unexpected heroic act coming after a resolve to end the murderous kleptocracy of the Marcoses; such a resolve did not come overnight. It took 14 years for people to realize how Marcos had pulled a scam on his own people. Such a scam as we are beginning to see once again. And, of course, older people like me are worried and afraid. And mostly because we remember a time when we were taught by elders, even teachers, who accepted the Marcos delusion or were afraid to speak the truth.

There is a clear possibility that it will happen again. And the only way we can stop it is to speak the truth and join hands with all who might work with us.

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TAGS: basura, Cebu, garbage, Inayawan landfill, Libingan ng Mga Bayani, Marcos

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