STRIKE HOME|Marcos family can still make heroic act towards a closure    

CURIOUSLY, one of the books I read when Martial Law was still in force was on Eva Peron, the former first Lady of Argentina. I borrowed it from a friend who borrowed it from a relative who just came from the States then promptly lost it.

The book, if I remembered right, began with an anecdote of two dogs meeting at the border in the Andes of Chile, one dog going to Chile and the other to Argentina.

The dog from Chile was emaciated while the dog from Argentina was healthy and apparently well-fed.

“What is prompting you to cross the border to Argentina? asked the Argentinian.

“To eat,” replied the dog from Chile. “As you can see, I have not eaten for days.”

Surprised that a dog would go where it came from, the dog from Chile asked: “And you, what is the idea of crossing the border?”

“To bark,” the dog from Argentina replied and went on its way.

The book went on to unveil the life and story of Eva Peron and her rise from a simple provincial girl to a well-loved second wife of Argentina president Juan Peron.

It traced the fall of Juan Peron from power and how Eva’s life took a turn from bad to worse until her death in 1952. While she was honored and eventually buried amidst a state funeral befitting a head of state, she was not to rest in peace. The military overthrew her husband and Peron had to go to exile. Eva Peron’s body was also exiled by a dictatorship that banned all mention of Peron or Peronism.

It was not until 1971 when her husband regained power that her body was exhumed in Spain and brought to Argentina.

The sequel to the story concerned the Argentine general Pedro Eugenio Aramburu Silvete who was a chief architect in unseating Peron.

Aramburu sat as de facto president from 1955 to 1958 then retired but was unsuccessful when he ran for president in 1963. His opponents blamed him for the 1956 execution of Gen. Juan Jose Valle, an army officer identified with Peron and for the death of 26 Peronist militants.

Aramburu landed third in the polls which Arturo Umberto Illia won.  In yet another military coup in 1966, Illia was deposed by Gen. Juan Carlos Ongania.

Aramburu circulated in Argentine society and was reported as popular with the press. He was tagged presidential candidate in 1970. Yet rumors also persisted of Peron’s eventual return.

But Aramburu’s political career was cut off when he was abducted by members of Montoneros (a group opposed to military rule). He was believed killed and his body was recovered later inside a farmhouse.

The rebel group (Montoneros) blamed him for the death of the 26 militants and was simply avenging their deaths. The group in 1974 stole his body and indicated it would hold on to it until Eva Peron’s body was brought back to Argentina. Indeed, when her body was flown from Spain, Arumburu’s corpse was found abandoned in a Buenos Aires street.

This is not to say that the same fate would await the supposed remains of Marcos were his family to proceed with its intention of burying the deposed dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

But one cannot simply gloss over what more than 20 years of Marcos rule has done. One cannot gloss over the thousands of victims who suffered or died as a result.

With the Supreme Court decision, the Marcos family has already made its point. There is no arguing that Ferdinand E. Marcos was elected a president although it was another matter if he was a hero.

But for so long as there were thousands of Filipinos who were victimized by Martial Law and for so long as justice continued to elude them, there is no healing process or moving forward to begin with.

The Marcos family, however, can bring closure to this controversy by doing what any sensible Filipino family would do: by burying their old man in the Ilocos along some meadow or hillside where he would truly rest in peace and where he would be protected by his family.

To insist otherwise is to continually split this country and to mock history, let alone ignore the consequences.

Posted in Opinion