Thursday, November 24, 2016

Caught sleeping

Philippine Daily Inquirer/OPINION/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

Whether or not it was a toenail of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, or a clump of his hair, or an arm bone, or his wax likeness that was hastily buried with military honors in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LMNB)—translated as cemetery for heroes—on Nov. 18, that whole exercise was one of deception, cunning and stealth on the part not only of the Marcoses but also of some feckless government authorities who allowed it.

Now those accessories to the wanton disregard for the judicial process—President Duterte included—are all feigning cluelessness. Because not yet final and executory was the Supreme Court’s Nov. 8 majority decision (9-5-1) that dug deep at the martial law victims’ wounds and denied their petition to prevent the dictator’s burial on hallowed grounds. A motion for reconsideration was forthcoming.

Clueless? Also feckless. From President Duterte and the presidential staff to the military officers who flew the Marcos family and the dictator’s 27-year-old corpse (if indeed there was a corpse) from Ilocos Norte to LNMB and who provided the honors—none of them had earlier knowledge that the burial was going to take place that soon?

This is quite plain to see—President Duterte’s campaign promise to the Marcoses has been accomplished. Consummatum est?

But as is often said to us and by us, “Wait lang.”

It is way past the November day of remembering the dead, but here we are, still preoccupied by issues pertaining to corpses, cadavers and other forms of human remains. The corpses, whether touched or not by methamphetamine hydrochloride, continue to pile up. Even those already in police custody or safely behind bars end up dead with the “nanlaban” reason always invoked.

Separately, a number of government bureaucrats have joined the body count lately—one from the Bureau of Internal Revenue, another from the Bureau of Customs, money-collecting bureaus both. Both took in assassins’ bullets. A director from the Energy Regulatory Commission ended his own life and opened a can of worms.

Now comes another corpse or non-corpse, supposedly that of the dictator Marcos, that is causing upheaval in the streets because, “like a thief in the night,” the Marcos family went through with the burial without so much as a by-your-leave. Government authorities who were supposed to be in the know simply said they knew neither the day nor the hour and were caught by surprise. In street-corner journalese, “nakatulog sa pansitan” (fell asleep at the noodle house) or caught sleeping on the job.

If that were so, barbarians would be at the gates and the country’s protectors would not know it. Scary. So much for the simplest information gathering.

And so, indeed, now there is banging at the gates and there will be more from martial law victims and their supporters upon the arrival of President Duterte from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meet in Peru. Worth noting was the President’s absence at the gala dinner for heads of state and, later, at the Apec “class photo.” He was jetlagged and sleepy, was his presidential reason for not showing up. Did he have one Peruvian Pisco too many? He had eyes only for Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jing Ping.

So while he was sleeping in the land of Machu Picchu, his subalterns back home were also sleeping on the job—deliberately, one can’t help concluding—and let the thieves come in the dead of night.

Speaking of true heroes, 19 heroes and martyrs—three journalists among them—will be honored on Nov. 30, at the Bantayog ng mg Bayani which marks its 30th anniversary this year. The ceremonies will start at 4 p.m.

The names, to be announced soon, will be added to the more than 200 names etched on the black granite Wall of Remembrance. The Bantayog Memorial Center is located on Quezon Avenue corner Edsa, near Centris. The entrance is beside the National Power Corporation. The public is invited.

Come early and find familiar names—of comrades, friends and persons you knew and admired—on The Wall. Light candles, offer flowers and prayers. Celebrate their lives.