On Friday, Councilor Armin R. Marin, who was brutally gunned down after leading a protest of local anti-mining activists in San Fernando, Sibuyan Island, last October 3, will be brought to his final resting place on the very same ground hollowed by his blood; on the very same soil that the miners want to bleed dry of its gems.
It will be a sad day for all Sibuyanons and Romblomanons who care for their dear land.
Yet, on Friday, Armin shall not truly rest. Not yet.
His physical body may become one with the earth on which he walked tirelessly for 42 years, but his spirit, the engulfing, burning being of his person, will still roam the fastnesses of Sibuyan and demand just retribution.
As long as the loggers and the miners remain in Sibuyan, the ideals he had lived by and the causes he had advocated will remain burning in the hearts of the Sibuyanons. His crusading spirit will continue to envelope the whole beings of those he had touched and influenced and served while he was alive. This will fuel their resolve to continue the fight against the spoilers of Sibuyan, and harden their commitment never to give up an inch of their land to the enemies of the environment.
It will haunt his murderers and those who caused his untimely passing. Councilor Marin will not rest, not until the day when the last—final—screws of the machine threatening to hakar the bowels of Sibuyan have been pulled up and thrown out of the island.
The murder of Armin Marin had drawn the line between greed and self-preservation; between decency and deceit.
The loggers and miners now prowling on the island personify greed. Those who declared themselves on Armin’s side at the time of his numerous battles and up to the hour of his death have cultural and social preservation—apart from natural heritage protection—as their mantra.
Armin was decent to declare, from the very start of his short-lived socio-political crusade where he stood. He stood for his people.
Deceit was the undeclared weapon of those who snuffed out his life. It was the currency of the spoilers of the environment, who made sure they stopped at nothing, including perhaps blasting to kingdom come those who try to resist their malevolent scheme, like Armin.
Thus, when a mining company dishes out a press release blaming Armin’s murder on Armin’s army of unarmed protestors, and saying that his fatal shooting was accidental, and further saying that the mining company is gathering information for possible legal action against the protesters, then it is high time to serve notice that deceit—with disinformation as its tool—is slowly worming its way into the bowels of the Sibuyanon psyche.
It is now plausible that this disinformation will take root, particularly among those whose minds have been poisoned by the undeserved beneficence of the mining companies. The resources of the miners for such disinformation are as enormous as their appetite for profit.
“We’re already been crucified as the bad guys. Our people were not the aggressors. They were not the instigators either. Rather, they were the victims,” Jose Miguel Cabarrus, president of Sibuyan Nickel Properties Development Co., was quoted by the Manila Times to have told reporters.
Hello! Armin Marin was dead. He is clearly the victim here. What does Mr. Cabarrus expect the people of Sibuyan to do? Rush to the provincial capitol prison and fall in line for a chance to visit the alleged murderer and offer their sympathies that he was divorced from the jeep he drove on the day of the murder?
If only for this piece of garbage of a statement, then Armin shall not rest. Not yet.
Not until the day when the likes of Mr. Cabarrus learn how to respect the sensibilities of the Sibuyanons and remain silent for a while—as he should have been advised—until Marin’s body is interred and the outrage over the murder has dissipated a little. It’s a Romblomanon tradition never to desecrate the memory of the dead.
Until that day, Armin’s memory as a crusader will remain richly etched in the Sibuyanon soul. He can—and will—forgive his murderer/s, for the Sibuyanon has an infinite capacity for forgiveness.
But as Sibuyanons, Armin and the living he left behind will not forget. They have an infinite capacity for remembering, for we are certain that even if the miners like SNPDC have left fifteen years after they have exhausted Sibuyan’s treasures, the Sibuyanons will remain on the island, sharply aware that Armin’s decency and courage and heroism, which were abruptly ended by the deceit and disinformation of his enemies, are beyond forgetting.