Taps at high noon

Winston Arzaga

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.

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