Thursday, April 28, 2016
132. Problems and Prospects of D30 2016: 8. Marcos is buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani
I once met a guy who claimed he was Marcos's illegitimate child and that the real Marcos didn't leave for Hawaii and stayed in obscurity in the Philippines for years until he died and got buried in a cemetery in Posadas Village. He showed me a picture of the tomb where the words Ferdinand E. Marcos were written. I felt amused in a weird kind of way as I showed the man the door. Indeed, in death as in life, Marcos Sr. is the stuff of myths and legends and controversy as well. I recalled that PNoy once toyed with the idea of Marcos being buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, until Commissioner Etta Rosales, then Chair of the Commission of Human Rights, lobbied hard against it by claiming she herself was raped while in detention during Martial Law. Erap and Arroyo also thought about it, but due to popular opposition against the burial, Marcos remained frozen in a crypt in Ilocos. Duterte seems to be the man who would put the end to this debate as he vowed to bury Marcos in the Libingan once elected. This long standing national debate reminds me of the story of Antigone who sought to give his brother Polynices a decent burial in spite of King Creon's orders that Polynices should not be buried or mourned for on the pain of stoning. Antigone defied the order, got caught, and was locked in a tomb where she hanged herself to death. But Haemon, King Creon's dear son, turned out to be Antigone's lover, and upon seeing Antigone's grim end, Haemon killed himself as well. As Jorge Luis Borges said, "Destiny takes pleasure in repetitions, variations, symmetries." On first impression, it seems what we are seeing in the Marcos burial debate is a simple variation of the Antigone story, which did not end well for King Creon and the powers that be of Ancient Greece. Duterte is poised to bury Marcos once and for all at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, but I suspect this is still not going to end easily even if he succeeds. Marcos's enemies and the people Marcos once caused to suffer would come in the dead of the night with their spades, picks, and shovels for one solitary barbaric/heroic purpose: to unearth his rotting corpse from the resting place of heroes. It's the Antigone story in reverse.