News Commentary

Hero’s burial for Marcos: How did we get here?

Mikas Matsuzawa - Philstar.com
Hero�s burial for Marcos: How did we get here?
In this Sept. 11, 2005, file photo, former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos kisses the refrigerated crypt of her husband, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos as she observes his 88th birthday at a mausoleum in Batac, Ilocos Norte, northern Philippines. Ferdinand Marcos was buried at a heroes' cemetery Friday in a secrecy-shrouded ceremony, police officials said, despite growing opposition after the Supreme Court ruled that one of Asia's most infamous tyrants can be entombed in the hallowed grounds.
AP Photo/Aaron Favila, File
MANILA, Philippines — The late strongman President Ferdinand Marcos was buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) on Friday in what some called a “sneaky” ceremony, three decades after the toppling of his dictatorship and his ignominious death in exile in Hawaii on Sept. 28, 1989.
The Marcos family in a statement posted Friday by Imee Marcos on Facebook said they are thankful that the last wish of her father to be buried at the Libingan along with other soldiers was fulfilled.
Imee said they opted to make the ceremony quiet, simple and private to avoid insulting those opposing the burial.
She also thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for allowing the burial and the Supreme Court for voting in favor of it. Duterte left for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Peru on Thursday.
Days ago, in a televised interview, Imee said that it was Duterte who offered to bury her father, the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, at the Heroes' Cemetery.
It was an apt response to erase questions on whether she gave campaign contributions to Duterte, which the president revealed in a spontaneous speech last October.
In the same interview, Imee denied she made a contribution. The late dictator's daughter was also not named as a donor in Duterte's Statement of Campaign Expenditures (SOCE).
Imee's answer also dissolves notions that a Marcos contribution is a factor why the president ardently pushes for an LNMB burial for the late dictator.
Duterte, however, was not the only president since the EDSA People Power Revolution who supported an LNMB burial for Marcos.
The difference this time is that despite backlash from the public — including human rights activists, bishops, Martial Law victims and even allies of the president — Duterte refused to budge.
Philstar.com looked at where past presidents stood on the matter of Marcos’ hero’s burial.

Corazon Aquino 

Against the return of Marcos' body to the Philippines
A New York Times obituary stated that President Aquino did not allow the body of the late dictator to return and be buried in the Philippines for "the safety of those who would take the death of Mr. Marcos in widely and passionately conflicting ways."
The Marcoses at that time was in exile in Hawaii after fleeing the country, following the toppling of the dictatorship on Feb. 25, 1986.

Fidel Ramos

Allowed the return of Marcos' body 
President Ramos allowed Marcos' body to return and be buried in Ilocos Norte under four conditions:
  1. Marcos' body would be flown straight from Hawaii to Ilocos Norte.
  2. Marcos would be given honors befitting a major — his last rank in the Armed Forces.
  3. Marcos' body would not be paraded in Metro Manila as wounds of his regime were still fresh in the minds of many people.
  4. There would be no burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani as the late dictator wanted to be laid to rest beside the grave of his mother in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
Ramos is a second cousin of Marcos.

Joseph Estrada

Supported Marcos' burial at LNMB
President Estrada supported Marcos' burial at the LNMB but later changed his mind after strong public opposition.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo

Supported Marcos' burial at LNMB 
President Arroyo did not push for an LNMB burial for Marcos during her term due to strong opposition from the Church. But she backed a House resolution in 2011 which sought a hero's burial for the late dictator.

Benigno Aquino III

Against Marcos' burial at LNMB
Given their family history, President Aquino said any decision he would make on the burial issue would be seen as biased.
He tasked then Vice President Jejomar Binay to study proposals on Marcos' hero's burial. In 2011, Binay said the Marcoses agreed to an Ilocos Norte burial for the late dictator.

Rodrigo Duterte

Allowed Marcos' burial at LNMB
President Duterte allowed Marcos' burial at the LNMB to fulfill his campaign promise amid massive opposition — some even from his allies.
In a speech last October, Duterte said that his father was a Cabinet member of Marcos. At the same speech, he mentioned that Imee Marcos supported her during his campaign raising concerns on whether the late dictator's daughter contributed funds to his campaign. Duterte's Statement of Contributions and Expenditures, however, did not include Imee's name among his donors.
Petitions were submitted before the Supreme Court to halt the burial. On November 8, the high court voted 9 to 5 in favor of the LNMB burial with 1 abstaining vote.
On November 18, the Marcoses quietly moved to bury the late dictator at the Heroes' Cemetery in what some called a "sneaky" ceremony.

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