Martial Law victims, kin on National Heroes’ Day: #MarcosNoHero #SurfaceDesaparecidos

“The best way to observe National Heroes’ Day this time around is to gather together and denounce the scheme to foist upon the Filipino people the fraudulent heroism of the late, unlamented Ferdinand Marcos. Marcos is no hero; he is, in fact, a heel – and that is an understatement,” Bonifacio Ilagan, convenor of the Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanang, said. Ilagan’s sister Rizalina were among those abducted and disappeared during the Marcos dictatorship.  
Martial Law victims and relatives, families of desaparecidos from the Martial Law regime to the Benigno Aquino III administration, and rights advocates met in a gathering at UP Diliman to reiterate their calls addressed to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, particularly opposing the hero’s burial of dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. 
In the open letter signed by participants to the gathering, they stated “We write you to remember with us all what Marcos did, all who Marcos maimed and killed with martial law, all that Marcos plundered with impunity. He cannot be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani because all that Marcos was would then be lost because you would be sending the signal to all Filipinos of the past, the present and the future that it is correct to plunder and to kill.”
“We reiterate our plea for President Rodrigo Duterte not to make official the rehabilitation of the ousted dictator and to instead work for justice for all the victims of martial law and to surface all desaparecidos from Martial Law to present,” said Desaparecidos Chairperson Concepcion Empeno, whose daughter Karen was abducted, tortured and disappeared by the military led by retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan during the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo presidency. 

The gathering is also a commemoration of the International Day of the Disappeared on August 30. Empeno said “the transfer of Palparan to a regular detention facility and his swift conviction for crimes against my daughter Karen and fellow UP student Sherlyn Cadapan, and all victims of rights violations during his stint as Arroyo’s general, are among the steps that Duterte can take to rectify the errors of the past.” 

Desaparecidos also called for the formation of a people’s truth commission to ascertain the whereabouts and further establish accountability on the disappearance of Empeno, Cadapan, activist Jonas Burgos, among those disappeared from the Marcos to Aquino regimes.  

CARMMA and Desaparecidos will troop to the Supreme Court Wednesday for the oral arguments on the petitions against the hero’s burial of Marcos at the LNMB. Carmma, through Ilagan, and former political prisoners during Martial Law led by the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) are among the petitioners.