ON THE MARCOS ISSUE: THE SUPREME COURT’S DECISION
AND THE HASTENED BURIAL OF THE LATE DICTATOR
IN THE LIBINGAN NG MGA BAYANI
“I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either . . . So because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out from my mouth”
(Revelation 3: 15-16).
The Philippines is once more confronted with political issues that are literally and figuratively divisive: (1) the decision of the Supreme Court that allowed the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, and (2) his burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani which was hastened just a few days after the release of the SC decision.
As a Jesuit school that teaches its students the core values of Christ-centeredness, conscience and character among others, Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu cannot turn a blind eye to the said issues on the pretext of neutrality as a Basic Education Institution.
It is not our intention to fuel the people’s anger and promote wider social division; nevertheless, we cannot also abandon our duty to teach our students in the light of our core values, the 7Cs.
As Christ-centered individuals, we teach our students that human persons are created in the image and likeness of God, endowed with dignity and freedom. Thus, we cannot teach our students that the deprivation of life and freedom are acceptable in exchange for economic prosperity. Part of our commitment is to teach students that human rights violations in whatever form are unacceptable.
As persons of character, we do not teach our students that dishonesty is tolerable most especially if it serves the interest of the privileged few and at the expense of the vast majority who are poor, hungry and oppressed.
As persons of conscience, we do not teach our students that it is okay not to say anything about things that are apparently immoral and unethical. We would like our students to be reflective thinkers – prudent in their judgments and considerate to the well being of others.
We do teach compassion, and with Pope Francis we say: “justice and mercy are not two contradictory realities” (Misericordiae Vultus, 20). We further believe that a truly compassionate Christian also respects the truth, which according to the Lord himself “will set us free” (John 8:32). Justice without mercy can be heartless, “but mercy without justice can be radically irresponsible” (Stephen Pope).
We teach our students to treasure our Filipino culture. This includes loving our country and its heroes. We believe that the real heroes are those who not only died for this country but also lived their lives for the sake of the people. It is not medals that make heroes but honor, service and self-sacrifice.
For the love of our country, we strongly encourage our students to be competent nation builders. We reiterate one of the points we highlighted in an earlier statement (released on March 10, 2016): “our commitment is to teach our students the responsible interpretation of history” and this includes among others, correcting erroneous historical versions that come from unreliable sources of information.
As a community, we respect the opinion of those individuals whose political positions are not the same as ours. But we also expect of the same from them. We shall not shy away, however, from engaging ideas that would contradict our core values, but always in a manner that is true to an Ateneo Hearter: persons of character.
We believe and affirm what the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines said: [d]istinct from non-sectarian schools, a Catholic school has an integrated view of the human person grounded in the person of Jesus Christ (PCP II, 622).
We commit to continually contribute to the promotion of justice in a manner that is proper to our role as educators. We commit to stand for what is right and not to remain silent especially if we are impelled by our vocation as agents of faith that does justice.
We pray, as always, for the healing of our motherland. But like any process of healing we believe that justice must first be achieved for those people whose lives were damaged under the dictatorship.
We join our fellow educators from all over the country in expressing our lament over the Supreme Court’s decision on Ferdinand E. Marcos’ burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. We express our deeper lament over the hastened burial of the late dictator in the LNMB.
We take side with the oppressed and not the oppressor, because as Ateneo Hearters this is a way for us to be truly a light amidst confusion and darkness.
You may download a copy of the full statement and the abridged statement through the following links:
1.)Full statement: CLICK HERE
2.)Abridged statement: CLICK HERE