Heroes & heels

MAYBE it is about time the government renames the cemetery at Fort Bonifacio currently called “Libingan ng mga Bayani” that is reserved for dead soldiers.

In fact, it should be called a cemetery for soldiers, whether they are heroes or heels. Let’s face it, not all soldiers are heroes, especially those generals believed to have illegally amassed wealth.

It is enough to bury them at the soldiers’ cemetery but to call all of them as heroes is really revolting.

In a way, it will also put to rest the quest of the Marcos family to have Ferdinand Marcos who to this day is still to be pronounced guilty of any crime buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

“For me, if the Libingan ng mga Bayani is really intended for heroes, I do not think he (Marcos) would be qualified to be buried there,” said Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.

That’s where the problem really starts. The term “heroes” has become a misnomer and has mislead Bishop Iñiguez  to believe that all those buried there are heroes.

I will not mention the name of General Angelo Reyes because he has yet to be posthumous convicted of any crime but has it not occurred in the mind of Iñiguez that killing one’s self is a mortal sin?

But the bishop said that during the term, Marcos he declared martial rule that led to human rights violations and curtailing of press freedom. Opposition leaders and militant activists such as Senators Benigno Aquino Jr., Jovito Salonga and Jose Diokno were detained as political prisoners.

Bishop Iñiguez could have said that the declaration of martial law was illegal but he didn’t for if he did it, constitutionalists would instantly gang up on the bishop and contest his claim.

Besides, not even the Supreme Court found the detention of Aquino Jr. et al as illegal.

Left-wing groups have also been opposing the petition of the Marcos family to allow the burial of the late president’s remains at the Libingan ng mga Bayani but at the same vein, the oppositionists have remained silent about Gen. Reyes’ burial at the same place.

President Aquino said he would assign an official to assess if it would be proper to bury Marcos’ remains at the Libingan but this can easily be resolved by a mere declaration that the cemetery at Fort Bonifacio is really intended for soldiers, retired or not, and not for soldier- heroes.

There were arguments that if Reyes – who faced corruption charges just before he took his life – was buried at the Libingan,the same accord should be given to Marcos who was also a soldier, said a newspaper account.
Said Rep. Timmy Chipeco: “If a former chief of staff of the Armed Forces can be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, then why not a former president who was a former soldier and war hero?”-Raul Valino


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