Ateneo de Manila gets free sermon from lawyer after executive director got fired for inviting Irene Marcos to school event?

Ateneo de Manila received a mouthful from Atty. Bruce Rivera after the school’s executive director got fired for inviting Irene Marcos during the launch of the campus’ creative hub.

As per ABS-CBN news report, the axed Ateneo employee was Yael Buencamino, executive director of Arete Amphitheater.

Rivera singled out the hypocrisy of the Jesuits-run Ateneo who preaches forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, community and God’s love extending even to our enemies and yet they fired someone for inviting Irene Marcos to the school’s event.

In the Facebook post, Rivera couldn’t help but describe the Ateneo-Irene Marcos controversy as one of his disgusting time and occasion he is not proud to be Catholic and Filipino.

Rivera then went on to give Ateneo a long sermon about the importance of not forgetting Martial Law but also not holding grudges because one can never learn the lesson unless one lets go of anger and resentment.

Rivera reminded the Church of its role, which is to act as the moral compass to put anger in proper context rather than act as a catalyst to fan its flame. Ouch!

You may read Atty. Bruce Rivera’s full post below.


This is one disgusting time that I am not proud to be Catholic and Filipino. A religion that teaches us forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, community and God’s love extending even to our enemies. Yet, someone in Ateneo got fired because she invited the quiet, almost reclusive daughter of Ferdinand Marcos, Irene.

I seldom hear about Irene because she chose a more private life unlike Imee Marcos and BBM who kept the legacy of FM alive. However, granting without conceding that martial law was bad for my people and the victims and their families deserve respect, being disrespectful to a human being is not how we should pay homage to martial law victims.

First things first, not forgetting about the lessons of martial law does not include holding a grudge. You will never learn the lesson if there is still anger and resentment. And yes some are still angry but it is the duty of the Church, as an educational institution and a moral compass to put the anger in perspective and not be the catalyst to fan its flame.

Catholics are taught about forgiveness even in the absence of an apology. We are made to believe that God is the ultimate justice and when someone dies, he or she faces the creator where justice will be served and all his mistakes would be accounted for. Irene’s father died a long time ago and if the Catholic Church is to believed, God already meted out what Marcos deserved. He may be in hell or in heaven but surely there was retribution. The vehement objection of the Church including Ateneo as an institution on the Marcos burial made me reexamine my moral core and question what I learned as a Catholic student.

Now, this. I mean, nobody deserves such hate especially coming from a Catholic institution. I remember one instance last year where I was invited to speak at a Catholic university about ethics in social media and my transition to mainstream. I was invited because of BolJak and I accepted. Later on, they said the event is cancelled but I know it pushed through. I just knew that the priests would not like my presence. But this hatred toward gays like me is expected. The kind of hatred that is embedded perpetually on the Marcoses sickens me to the core.

No one can justify hating the children of Marcos in the same level as the father and mother and treat people who took active part in Marcos martial law get the level of respect like anyone. Tatad was a Marcos stooge until their egos collided and he fell from grace. If there were injustices committed, he stood by as a member of the Cabinet. VP Leni was the daughter of a judge appointed by Marcos and as judge, he was responsible for deciding in favor of Marcos to the prejudice of victims of military atrocities. PC-INP and AFP officers who committed abuses and killings are given military honors simply because they sold him out. People who has blood in their hands, we manage to forgive even adulate. How can we not do the same for the children?

Just because they were adults when it happened cannot be used as justification when we can manage to erase the sins of those who actually took active roles in the regime. If my mother would later on be known as a mass murderer, do you expect me to openly disobey her and not defend her? Even if I saw first hand, I would still be her son and stand by her. Those who would not do the same, good for you. I understood how Imee and Bongbong defended their father in the same way Kris Aquino defended the memory of her parents. It is family you are talking about. And the Church is all about family.

Irene was there as a human being. She was not invited as the daughter of Ferdinand Marcos. Her existence should not be a reason for discomfort because she is not her father or her mother. She is Irene. We should not punish descendants for the sins of the ascendants otherwise, all of us should get punishment for being the descendant of Adam and Eve, the useless morons who listened to a snake and ate the only thing that was not allowed to be eaten. Or maybe that is moral of the faith after all.

That we are born with sin because several generations ago, our ascendants made the mistake of eating an apple and we are still paying collateral. In that case, way to go, Ateneo.

And I just lost all hope in humanity.

Bruce Villafuerte Rivera

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