Ed Maranan

to bcc amado.mendozajr@gmail.com

date Fri, Apr 22, 2011 at 12:03 PM

subject: Lest we forget: Kleptocracy 101

mailed-by gmail.com signed-by gmail.com hide details 12:03 PM (1 hour ago)

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Dear folks,

More than 200 congressmen recently signed a petition passed around by Marcos loyalist Rep. Salvador Escudero for the remains of the late dictator to be interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Nothing unusual about that. These so-called representatives of the people are elected mainly on the basis of political patronage and the crumbs that they allow to trickle down to the masses, on the false hopes that they feed to people whose poverty in material life often leads to acceptance of the status quo. Some of these representatives are also known to have won through chicanery and occasional terrorism. But the bottom line is that these privileged creatures who fatten up at the feeding trough of Congress are very likely Marcosian wannabes at heart.

They may already have their Imeldas and mistresses, but not the Marcos billions. So no conscience at all to be bothered in blithely signing the petition. (As the late former Speaker Monching Mitra was supposed to have quipped, pass around a roll of toilet paper and ask the honorables to put their signatures on it, and sign they will…)

However, it is disturbing to note that in a recent SWS survey of 1,200 respondents on the issue of whether to allow burying Marcos at the Libingan, the result was 51% yes and 49% no, which flies in the face of standard wisdom that the excesses of martial law, the assassination of Aquino, and the triumph of EDSA I would have buried forever whatever mystique the Strongman possessed.

Any of several conclusions, serious or otherwise, could be arrived at: a) the survey by the otherwise competent SWS was flawed or skewed (did they perhaps interview mostly young respondents with no memories of martial law? or, did many of the respondents happen to be unrepentants who had benefited from the reign of Marcos?); b) Filipinos do have very short memories, c) Filipinos are flawed Christians who have a complete misunderstanding of what forgiveness really is all about; d) Filipinos, contrary to what Ninoy believed, are not worth dying for; in fact they’re worth abandoning and immigrating from, or e) the twin problem of having a divided country which is also overpopulated could probably be solved by an asteroid wiping out the loyalist half, but truly I jest with this last one.

These are unhappy and even unkind conclusions.

But the issue of burying Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is very real to many of us.

So let’s go back to basics, and no better illustration of what kind of ‘leader’ the loyalists want to be remembered as a hero can be made than this comparative chart of the five worst kleptocrats in recent history:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/the-top-five-kleptocrats-and-what-they-stole/article1926084/

As far as I am concerned, it is rather moot or contestable whether the Libingan ng mga Bayani is really hallowed ground.

Recently, an Arroyo official who literally self-destructed was interred there despite revelations about the role he played in the financial shenanigans of the past administration (costing the Filipino people possibly billions in more stolen wealth, a legacy of what I call our Marcorroyo political culture, an elaboration perhaps of the term kleptocracy).

Some genuine heroes and noble citizens may be buried there. If Marcos’ remains finally get to be accommodated, the place gets downgraded to being simply a Libingan ng mga Patay. Jokes like this abound. We could indeed change the name of the cemetery. Libingan ng mga Bayani at Bantay-Salakay. Libingan ng mga Bayani at Diktador. Libingan ng mga Bayani at Tiwali.

The world does not end if he (Ferdinand Edralin Marcos) eventually gets buried there. Other–perhaps more painful–anomalies and injustices abound in this country, such as the unknown whereabouts, the secret graves, of the genuine heroes of the people like Jonas Burgos, James Balao, UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan, and so many ‘disappeared’ Filipino patriots and idealistic youth.

Wherever their state-appointed murderers have buried them is a libingan ng mga bayani. We may never know the exact location of their remains or their bones, but forevermore shall they lie at rest, if not yet in peace, in that most hallowed ground of all–in the hearts of their loved ones, and in the hearts of the Filipino people whom they loved more than life itself.

Ed Maranan

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