With eight affirmative votes, six against and six abstentions, the Senate failed to adopt yesterday a resolution opposing the burial of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.
Jun Acullador/CC BY-ND, File
Senators thumb down resolution vs FM Libingan burial
THE PEPPER MILL - Rhodina Villanueva, Delon Porcalla, Alexis Romero, Non Alquitran, Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - November 15, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - With eight affirmative votes, six against and six abstentions, the Senate failed to adopt yesterday a resolution opposing the burial of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, author of Senate Resolution 86, described the defeat of her measure as a “missed opportunity to defend the truth and our history from the Marcoses’ historical revisionism and negationism.”

“It missed the chance to be on the side of real heroes,” Hontiveros said after the voting.

She commended her colleagues – Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Senators Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Leila de Lima, Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Grace Poe and Joel Villanueva – for voting for the resolution.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III and Senators Gregorio Honasan, Richard Gordon, Panfilo Lacson, Manny Pacquiao and Cynthia Villar voted against adopting the resolution.

Minority Leader Ralph Recto and Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Nancy Binay, Francis Escudero, Sherwin Gatchalian and Juan Miguel Zubiri abstained.

Hontiveros filed the resolution after the Supreme Court upheld President Duterte’s authority to decide to have Marcos buried in the cemetery for Filipino heroes.

“The SC had ruled that it is legal to bury former president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng Bayani and said that there is no grave abuse of discretion. I respect the decision of the SC. But having said that, I believe that former president Marcos is not a hero. Perhaps he can be buried there because he was a former president and a former soldier,” Recto said.

Escudero said the issue has been debated for over 30 years and it’s time for the nation to put the matter to rest “so we can concentrate on the Filipinos.”

Angara maintained his position that such a matter should be decided in a referendum.

Lacson said he could not vote for the measure as the SC has made a ruling, while Zubiri pointed out the ruling did not decide on whether Marcos was a hero or not.

Drilon and De Lima said they voted yes because the Senate has the right to express its sentiment as a political institution.

“On the dismissed petition, the SC said this was a political decision. The Senate as a political body has every right to express its sentiment, especially on a political decision. It is not disrespect for the SC. We place ourselves on the record. Let history judge us after this day,” Drilon said.

Meanwhile, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar apologized for calling those opposing Marcos’ burial at Libingan temperamental brats.

Andanar used the term in his newspaper column to express his frustration “against those who seek to divide the country for reason that have nothing to do with genuine patriotism and civic duty.

“It was never my intention to trivialize, diminish or in any way denigrate the struggles of the survivors of martial law and those who oppose former president Marcos,” he said in a statement.

Widespread protests

Militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) yesterday warned of continuous and widespread demonstrations to protest Marcos’ burial at the Libingan.

The group said mass gatherings and protest actions are necessary to dissuade Duterte from carrying out the burial and effectively send a message that the people would never forget the crimes of the dictatorship.

“The protests will hold to account Duterte and his alliance with the Marcoses. It should be an indictment of our bankrupt political system which has continuously rewarded plunderers and rights violators,” Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes said.

He said the protests are part of the continuing education of the current generation on the crimes and abuses committed during martial law.

“History lessons will be taught on the streets, in discussion groups and teach-ins. The fight to uphold the judgment of history must continue wherever the dictator may be interred.”

Reyes said should the burial proceed anytime this year, all roads would lead to the Libingan “in what would be a national day of rage and remembering.”

Demonstrations will be carried out in all major cities in the country coinciding with a huge protest near the burial site, he said.

“We call on the people from all walks of life to stand for truth and justice. Never again, there would be no honors for the dictator. Justice for all victims of martial law and state terror,” the group said.

‘Bury him somewhere else’

A party-list lawmaker urged Marcos’ family to bury the former president somewhere else to avoid polarization and let him rest in peace.

“I am appealing to the Marcoses to take the moral high ground by burying him somewhere else,” Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe told journalists in a news conference, adding that Marcos should be allowed to rest in peace.

Batocabe made the appeal in the wake of threats by militant groups and victims of human rights during the dictatorship that they would never forgive Marcos should he be buried at the Libingan.


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