Filipinos protest hero’s burial, denounce arrogance of Marcos family

Seven-month-old Malaya Fabunan came with her parents. The FilAm Photos

Seven-month-old Malaya Fabunan came with her parents. The FilAm Photos

By Cristina DC Pastor

Chanting “Marcos, Marcos pekeng bayani” amid the clickety-clack of the 7 Train above them, about three dozen people denounced the hero’s burial of Ferdinand Marcos, saying he is not a hero and his family is a “bully.”

The body of the late dictator was buried with military honors on November 18 at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (National Heroes Cemetery). The move caught top government officials and journalists by surprise. Many are of the impression there was a pending appeal before the Supreme Court to stop the burial.

“I didn’t like what happened,” said Bronx teacher Abby Tanega when interviewed by The FilAm. “The Philippines is supposed to be a democracy, supposed to respect the rule of law by awaiting the final decision of the Supreme Court.”

A Supreme Court spokesman said no appeal was ever filed.

Tanega’s family was coming out of a Filipino restaurant when they saw the rally at the corner of 69th Street and Roosevelt Avenue in Queens, in front of Krystal’s Cafe. They stayed a while to join the protesters and expressed their disappointment.

From her understanding of events, she said the Supreme Court was still reviewing a ‘motion for reconsideration’ and had not yet given the final approval for the burial.

“I just found out on Facebook Live that the burial already happened,” she said.

Potri Ranka Manis

Potri Ranka Manis

Former political detainee Potri Ranka Manis, founder of Kinding Sindaw dance company, accused the Marcos family of arrogance and committing an “act of betrayal.” She said the burial was carried out “secretly” so that the family could finally inter the body without any further legal obstruction.

“Who are they?” said Potri of the Marcos family led by widow Imelda and children Imee, Ferdinand Jr., and Irene. The internment showed the family in formal Filipiniana attire walking the red carpet.

Potri, an outspoken activist for self-determination for Muslim people, was detained in 1973 and given temporary release in 1975. She said she was tortured while in detention. She said the burial is a “betrayal,” and ignores the history of atrocities and human rights violations during 20 years of Martial Law.

Bayan USA condemned the secret burial, calling it a “cowardly” act. The left-leaning organization urged the Philippine government to “exhume the body now.”

“The manner in which the burial took place shows the cowardice, opportunism and anti-people character of the Marcos political dynasty,” said BAYAN USA in a statement. “

Organizers said the “indignation vigil” is only the first in a series of political actions against the Marcos burial and called on Filipinos to “deepen” their understanding of Philippine history.

“Marcos is not a hero,” said Chrissi Fabro, secretary general of Anakbayan New York. “He stole land and money from the poor.” She said many Filipinos left the country during Martial Law and came to the U.S. to escape his repressive regime.

Zarah Vinola of the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, which organized the rally, said she was disappointed, but could understand the low turnout.

“This was so last-minute and people have already made plans for the day,” she said.

Chrissi could not contain her frustration and said of Marcos, “You’re supposed to be dead and you’re still oppressing the people.”

Abby Tanega with son Sean

Abby Tanega with son Sean

More protest actions are being planned, according to organizers.

More protest actions are being planned, according to organizers.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: