A Martial Law victim who is now a congressman is scheduled to deliver a privilege speech this Monday afternoon clearing late President Ferdinand Marcos of responsibility in the bloody August 21, 1971 Plaza Miranda bombing.
Vowing to identify those who were behind the attack that took place 45 years ago, Buhay Hayaang Yumabong (Buhay) party-list and House senior Deputy Minority Leader Lito Atienza, one of the Plaza Miranda survivors, stressed the need to correct history by trying to connect the bombing to the 1983 assassination of Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. “I have fought Marcos. Pagtapos nung pagsabog, pinupulot ko ‘yung mga piraso ng katawan ng mga kasama ko. Minumura ko si Marcos. Ang alam natin all these years, si Marcos ang may kasalanan. Siya ang sinisisi natin pero iba pala,” Atienza said in news forum.
Earlier Atienza had appealed for Filipinos’ sense of “maturity, fairness and justice” by allowing the burial of Marcos on September 18 at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.
Atienza said his realization prompted him to back President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte’s proposal in hopes that it will allow the old wounds to heal for many people even if others will continue to pursue the Marcos family over certain cases.
“This issue has divided the nation for almost three decades. Bawat palit ng administrasyon, nauungkat at nananariwa ang mga sugat,” said Atienza.
Atienza also urged left-leaning members of Duterte’s Cabinet to get behind the President’s decision in a show of solidarity to help efforts to unify the country.
The former Manila City mayor added that opposition to the Marcos burial by members of his own official family is putting Duterte in an untenable position.
“They enjoy the confidence of the President pero kontra naman sila sa panawagan nya. They should throw their support behind him …hindi magandang tingnan otherwise,” Atienza pointed out.
While clarifying that he is in no position to dictate the actions of Cabinet officials, Atienza said they should respect the executive decision.
“Hindi natin pwedeng pangunahan kung ano ang magiging desisyon nila. Pero alam na nila ang dapat nilang gawin. Kung ayaw nila sumunod sa Chief Executive sa paglilibing kay Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani, ano pang ginagawa nila riyan?” said Atienza.
Also present at the forum were AFP Chief of Staff Dionisio Santiago, Lakas ng Manggagawa Labor Center secretary general Teri Tuazon and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)-Youth convenor Zulfikar-Ali S. Bayam, all of whom voiced support for Duterte’s proposal.
Among those who have voiced reservations to the Marcos burial at LMB were Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano.
Mariano, as congressman of party-list Anakpawis in 2011, was a co-author of House Resolution 1297 that opposed the plan.
Earlier opposition Rep. Teddy Baguilat called on Taguiwalo, Mariano and Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., as former anti-Marcos activists, to speak up against Duterte’s plan.
For national healing, Atienza stressed ex-President Marcos’ decision to declare Martial Law had also some positive effects on the nation after more than four decades.
“The hatred that used to be within my system, my heart, and my soul is now blended with maturity, fairness, justice and above all, the interest of the nation to unite finally and rest this issue once and for all,” Atienza said.
“I have given myself total liberation of whatever negative thoughts I have of Mr. Marcos,” he said.