It has all the making of a coup de grace, so sudden that all VP Robredo could pathetically utter was that the burial came “like a thief in the night”. Either those opposed to the burial were so inept as to be caught flat footed or they were simply outwitted by the Marcoses who finally succeeded in having President Marcos rushed to the Libingan, not under cover of darkness, but in broad daylight with taps and gun salutes all blazing at high noon.
Of the dead speak nothing but good, a truism observed in polite societies, as concededly, mortals’ lips are sealed to speak otherwise. But Marcos was no ordinary mortal whose life and death had created deep fractious wedge in the very society he swore to unite. To his legion of loyalists who continuously hark for the good old days of the New Society, Marcos is a hero whose massive infrastructure projects, foreign policy initiatives and pioneering work in energy development, among others, were the foundational structures upon which present initiatives were built. But to his harshest critics, Marcos is the unforgiven murderer whose Martial law regime trampled on civil liberties, impoverished the Filipinos as much as it enriched him, his families and cronies.
It will, perhaps, take several generations more before we can reach the level of equanimity to view Marcos and his role in that epoch which he defined by sheer power and will. In the heat of passion, objectivity takes a back seat. And for those who are still in pain, forgiveness could not find a space unless there is remorse and admission of guilt. But who will? Marcos is long dead, as observed wryly by President Digong.
It was Hemingway who once remarked that though the physical body dies, the man need not rot. And Marcos, dead for almost three decades, is alive and well – both in the hearts of his believers and in the minds of those who detest him.