One of the signs of a great society is the diligence with which it passes culture from one generation to the next.
This culture is the embodiment of everything the people of that society hold dear.
When one generation no longer esteems its own heritage and fails to pass the torch to its children, it is saying in essence, that the very foundational principles and experiences that make the society what it is are no longer valid.
What is required when this happens and the society has lost its way is for leaders to arise who have not forgotten the discarded legacy and who love it with all their hearts.” – Winston Churchill

A few days ago Imee Marcos, rented the UP Bahay ng Alumni (UPBNA) to celebrate Kabataang Baranggays’ (KB) 43rd anniversary.

According to Inquirer: The event’s guests includes UP president Danilo Concepcion, president of the Kabataang Baranggay Federation in Metro Manila from 1976 to 1978.

Clayton Olalia, former Pampanga vice governor and member of the KB organizing committee, said the organizers chose Bahay ng Alumni for its space.

“We chose [it] after consultations with our members because of its space that can accommodate our expected number of attendees, parking area and price,” Olalia said.

Around 740 people, he said, attended the event.

It goes on:

UP vice president for public affairs Jose Dalisay Jr. said it was the UP Alumni Association that handles the rental of the Bahay ng Alumni.

“’I can only presume that the proper representations were made and the fees paid for the use of the facility for this private event,” Dalisay told the Inquirer.

He noted that as a private rental venue, the process did not go through the UP administration.

“As a public university, UP is open to the expression of all political beliefs and persuasions,” he added.

There are two things that are amiss in the above statements, one, in the vast expanse of Metro Manila where more grandiose and bigger spaces are available I have a lot of reason to doubt the reason that UPBNA was only chosen as their venue because ‘it is spacious enough’.

One would only have to go inside one of its toilets and take a whiff of its unkempt glory and you will realize that the UPBNA is not a really great place to sponsor an event by individuals who has at its cheapest can afford a three star hotel.

So why UPBNA? Why does it need to be in UPBNA? What message does it send to everyone?

One would have to think that perhaps being an alumni herself, Imee Marcos was trying to reminisce her stay in U.P.

That could’ve passed as rational until you take a look at the names on the walls inside of the building itself and you will notice that a number of those listed were also victims of her father’s diabolical legacy. (I honestly wish I’d know how they are feeling right now, but who’s to say that the other ones listed there aren’t supporters of the late dictator?)

Which brings me to the second thing that is amiss, and that is the statement that it is a “private rental venue” and that “As a public university, UP is open to the expression of all political beliefs and persuasions,”

Both statements are rational, and it begs the “right” of the individual renting the place that by monetary means he/she can do anything as such like a business.

In essence the statements remove any accountability and culpability the UPBNA has by virtue of payment as an exchange of goods in this case the usage of the venue.

But it is not as simple as that.

It is not as simple as having the right of anyone, especially of those who used the most vile and evil means possible to stifle democracy to use a venue that is meant to honor the legacy of all U.P. Graduates. (or why else is the building called Bahay ng Alumni if it weren’t so)

But one would say, but the Dictator Marcos and Imee herself are both alumni of U.P. Therefore, she has a “right” to use the venue.

The problem is, there is a dividing line between her and the “other” U.P. Graduates who also have a right to oppose and deny her right to use the UPBNA.

It goes deeper than an exchange of payment as well, and it runs through the heart of every U.P. Graduate.

And this is the right of the victims of Imee and the entire Marcos family.

The victims of Martial Law’s rights supersede that of Imee Marcoses’ right to use the UPBNA as an avenue to express her “political beliefs” and “persuasions”.

It’s not a disliking of the person per se, but the idea and the damage it cultivates in the face of Marcos’ victims and the narrative of the university’s history.

It’s just like having Japanese soldiers celebrate their anniversary in a Korean university known to be a place where they take their comfort women and whose foundations where supported by the names of its victims.

I don’t see the difference of what the Marcoses are doing in the way they are validating their power and marking their territory just like in Charlottesville’s Unite the Right rally of Nazis…

[Naman… Hirap na hirap na nga tayong ituro sa mga bata ang mga human rights violations ni Marcos dahil sa fake news pati ba naman isang University na considered as the bastion of academic excellence i-va-validate pa at i-di-dignify ang mga kalokohan ng mga Marcoses. Naman… Naman…]

U.P. And its students stood up against the Marcoses because Martial Law curtailed our Freedom of Speech along with all the other basic freedoms the country is enjoying today.

And now this same freedom U.P. Recovered from the Marcoses is being used by the Marcoses themselves to further destroy this country’s history and the integrity of U.P. As an institution that once brought Martial Law to its knees.

UPians did not sacrifice their lives for this country fighting for the freedom to express “political beliefs” and “persuasions” we enjoy today, only to be ridiculed and insulted by the Marcoses and have their crimes vindicated by making their actions acceptable in Bahay ng Alumni, when they themselves were the prime curtailer of these freedoms UPians died for.

As of late U.P. President Danilo Concepcion expressed his regrets about the event, however see below how U.P. professor Danilo Arao indicates how half heartedly it was created

P.S. (To add more insult to injury)

THE DAY was Aug. 31, 1977. The day of the forced disappearance and vengeful killing of Archimedes Trajano.