Marcos burial protest a fight across generations

MANILA, Philippines – In a sea of protesters Friday night, Edmundo Garcia stood idly by. His left hand tucked to his back clutching a bottle of water. His right, occasionally rising to the cadence of the crowd’s chants.

t”Marcos hindi bayani,” the people picketing along Ayala Avenue repeatedly screamed. Garcia, now 73 and with a spent voice, joined the voices in infrequent intervals but with much distraught.

“Marcos hindi Bayani” chants here along Ayala Avenue (PSE). Protesters inviting motorists to blow their horns. #MarcosBurial @philstarnews

t- Denison Rey Dalupang (@sonrd) November 18, 2016

“Forty-six years ago was a long time,” he told with unflinching eyes. “But I’m still at it.”

tGarcia, a political scientist by profession, points to a period where he joined public demonstrations. But in that quick look back, he said the most notable was when he marched as part of the First Quarter Storm.

t”I was a member of the ‘First Quarter Storm’ in the 1970s … and the ‘Parliament of the Streets,’ and the culmination of ‘People Power’ in 1986,’” he said.

t”I lived through the ‘four days,’” he said, referring to the final days leading to the ouster of Ferdinand Marcos, a former president branded as dictator, who earlier today was laid to rest-with military honors-at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig.

t”It’s setting a bad example to the young people,” Garcia said. Having been a grizzled veteran of what would be later known as the Edsa Revolution, he went on to become a part of the draft committee that put together the 1987 Constitution.

t”That Constitution signified everything that we wanted to create: A country where human rights are respected, a place where rule of law is upheld. However, this burial, which was done in a very treacherous manner, sends a bad message,” Garcia said.

Edmundo Garcia, marched in the 1st Quarter Storm, part of Parliament of the Streets a member of the ’87 Consti draft team: #MarcosBurial

t- Denison Rey Dalupang (@sonrd) November 18, 2016

Asked about his personal feelings toward the burial, he said that he couldn’t quite wrap his mind around the idea of burying someone who has “tolerated human rights violations and massive corruption.”

t”It’s a real disgrace. If he was a real hero, then they should’ve done it proudly,” he offered. “But it was done, like how the vice president (Leni Robredo) would put it, a ‘thief in the night.’”

tWhile his form long past prime, he said he is unfazed. He may be disgusted but he is not devoid of hope. Garcia, now a consultant to Far Eastern University, is hoping that the young ones would pick up the cudgels from the ones who are long gone and old.

t”The struggle continues. To build a country requires a ‘marathon mentality.’ This is not a game of three quarters or four,” he said. “You have to finish strong.”

t”The new generation, it’s now their task to finish this, as you can see, it’s an unfinished quest.”

tFor the young ones’ part, it was students across various colleges and universities who first rose to action. The first reported mobilization was by the Ateneo de Manila University. The University of the Philippines quickly followed suit, even ringing the Carillion bell in aversion to the sudden burial of Marcos.

t”If you want to build a better future, the young have to be involved,” Garcia said. “Marcos was no hero.”

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