There can be no moving on without an accounting of the past, no forgiveness without remorse and apology. There can be no justice without accountability. There can be no justice with impunity.
We are thus deeply despondent over the Supreme Court’s (SC) failure to stand on what is just by affirming Ferdinand Marcos’ planned burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB). The Court, on the petition against the President's order for the burial of Marcos' remains in the LNMB, has sadly chosen to err on the side of technicality rather than that of history.
Marcos is not a hero. He was an oppressive ruler and a dictator. The empowering experience and triumph of all freedom-loving Filipinos over authoritarianism through People Power 1 in February 1986 is a clear rejection of the Marcos regime. He remains answerable for many counts of atrocities and human rights violations as well as ill-gotten wealth.
The SC decision, an ominous development, reflects the weakness of our democracy to exact accountability from leaders who abused and are abusing their power. Unfortunately, after EDSA People Power 1, the task of deepening and consolidating our democracy by strengthening our institutions, including the courts, has not been assiduously pursued. The same weakness has now been taken advantage of by the Marcos family.
This challenges our schools all the more, to help clarify for and with younger generations and those who engage us, the lessons borne out of a scrupulous study of history, citizenship, accountability, and good governance.
We therefore call on all our Lasallian teachers and partners to strengthen all their educational and community engagement efforts and programs towards a deepening of our people's appreciation for democracy and human rights. Let us join with like-minded groups to create more robust advocacy on these issues.
Let us oppose every effort to distort our nation’s story. We shall endeavor to re-tell our story so that we remain true to the values we have fought for and for which many have given up their lives. The oppressiveness of Marcos’ Martial Law must not be forgotten.
Br. Jose Mari L. Jimenez FSC
President, De La Salle Philippines (DLSP)
10 November 2016