In a discussion on the issue regarding the burial of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB), the SAMAHAN Central Board (SCB), the student government of the Ateneo de Davao University’s college unit, decided last Aug. 26 to make a stance against the said interment.
The Central Board anchored its stance on the virtues of the student government and of the university itself, emphasizing on the core value of pursuing social justice.
“We have one vision, one mission, and one Central Board [set of] principles, so we should base [our stand] there, not with our personal [beliefs],” General Assembly of Class Presidents (GACP) External Vice President Raphil Saguan said during the discussion.
Campus Clubs Organization (CCO) Chairperson Khryzza Pinzon further elaborated Saguan’s point on why the Central Board has to build its stance on the principles it stands for by citing similar moves from organizations in the university that also released their statements on the burial.
“If you’re going to ask about the backgrounds of these stands, we are not basing it on the majority, but we are basing it on the principles that the organization stands for, [is] built for, [and] fights for,” she said.
Technicalities regarding the burial were also tackled during the meeting, noting that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) regulation that stipulates the interment policy of the Libingan ng mga Bayani expressly disallows “personnel who were dishonorably separated/reverted/discharged from the service and personnel who were convicted by final judgment of an offense involving moral turpitude” from being buried at the LNMB.
To help the leaders make an informed choice in forming the Central Board’s stand, a talk was held with Bro. Karl Gaspar, CSSR, a political prisoner during the Martial Law era and author of the play Kapunongan sa mga Pangulo sa Kadautan sa Kalibutan (KPKK), prior to the discussion.
Gaspar shared his personal experiences during the Marcos era, touching on the spirit of student activism at the time and on his time as a political prisoner, and answered questions from the SCB regarding the controversial burial and its implications.
Despite earlier disagreements on how to tackle the issue, the student leaders reached a deciding 12.5-0 vote, with 12.5 votes against the burial, 2 votes to abstain, and 0 votes in favor of the burial.
SAMAHAN Secretary-General Dexter Villarosa expressed his thoughts on the SCB’s position.
“I’m really happy that [the discussion] became an avenue [for the Central Board members] to share their sentiments and their own stands as they represent their constituents. From that, as the Central Board, we will be releasing a statement that we are against the burial,” he said.
The SAMAHAN Central Board will be releasing their official statement on Wednesday, Aug. 31, and discussions with the student body at large will be conducted following the release