DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/12 August) – Denying the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is a violation of the law, President Rodrigo R. Duterte said.
During a press conference Thursday night at the “Malacañang of the South” here, Duterte rejected demands by the “other political side” to not allow Marcos to be buried at the heroes’ cemetery.
“You put me in a quandary. What would be my basis in denying the burial of Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani? I would be violating the law if I prohibit his burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” he said
Duterte said he approved the burial without “dwelling on his (Marcos) exploits” during his time as president for two decades, as he emphasized that not all who were buried there were heroes.
“I am a president and I have sworn my duty to follow the law, and not to follow the sentiments of the political side of the other side of the fence,” he said. “The law does not even mention heroes. It simply says that if you are a soldier and in another section of the law, there is the president.”
He said the “yellow”, alluding to the allies and the family of former president Benigno S. Aquino III, should have passed long ago a law that prohibits the burial of the late strongman.
“Sana ginawa nilang batas. Because of his historic despotic regime, he should not be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” he said.
Unless the law is repealed, Duterte said the late president can still be buried there.
On Marcos’s critics questioning his being a soldier, Duterte said he could not just believe the records of the US that hold no record of the dictator as a soldier.
“But since when tayo mag depend on the records of other countries to choose who will be buried there. Just because that your name does not appear in the United States. Wala daw syang record dun, correct! I will assume it to be true. Bakit ako maging dependent on the record of US, I am not the state of the US – Guam and Hawaii are – not me,” he said.
Duterte gave the Marcos family the go signal when they would want to bury the strongman at the Libingan.
“If Sen. Bongbong (Ferdinand Marcos Jr.) feels that it would be fitting day to celebrate his (Marcos Sr.) birthday at the the Libingan ng mga Bayani, so be it,” Duterte said.
Marcos’s remains are still encased in a glass for public viewing at the Marcos Museum and Mausoleum in Batac in Ilocos Norte.
‘Marcos not a hero’
But progressive lawmakers are opposing Marcos’ burial at the Libingan.
Bayan Muna Rep.Carlos Isagani Zarate said Marcos’s remains have long been buried in Batac, Ilocos Norte and should stay there.
“We should not allow the unrepentant Marcoses to use the burial issue in advancing their revisionist lies on the blood-drenched legacy of the dictator. No amount of embellishment can whitewash the plunder, terror and grave human rights violations perpetrated during the reign of Marcos, a dictator and certainly not a bayani!,” he said.
Anakpawis representative Ariel Casilao also opposed the dictator’s burial at the Libingan, saying “Marcos was no hero, he is a traitor to the Filipino who brought about the atrocity victimizing at least more than a hundred thousand Filipinos, workers, farmers, and other marginalized sectors.”
“The claim of Marcos’ accomplishment during the Second World War is questionable, even being raised by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), the very governing body reputable on the matter,” he said.
He added that burying Marcos at the Libingan mocks the sacrifices of Martial Law martyrs and victims who stood up against the dictatorship and fought for democracy.
He said the “hero’s burial” for Marcos based on his service as a soldier during WWII, as former president, and as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is outright misguided. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)