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News Commentary

AFP Hall of Heroes includes Marcos

- Alexis Romero -

MANILA, Philippines - The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) unveiled yesterday the new Hall of Heroes at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, displaying the portraits of 39 Medal of Valor awardees, including the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos.

As a young major during World War II, Marcos claimed to have led Filipino troops against invading Japanese forces in Bataan in 1942.

Marcos claimed to have received around 300 war

medals including the US Congressional Medal of Honor. But the claim was questioned in a series of articles published by the We Forum newspaper in 1982.

Brig. Gen. Restituto Aguilar, historical consultant of the AFP Museum, said Marcos can be included in the Hall of Heroes despite the controversies surrounding his war medals.

“Those who contest the authenticity of his medals should substantiate their allegations. It shall undergo investigations and should follow a process,” Aguilar told The STAR.

Aguilar said Marcos’ Medal of Valor cannot be revoked because of his alleged human rights violations.

“Your military accomplishments are not affected by the things you did outside the service,” he said.

The unveiling of the hall was attended by former President Fidel Ramos, former presidential daughter Irene Marcos, AFP Museum chairman Raul Urgello and AFP museum president Rufino Ibay Jr.

Other Medal of Valor awardees include retired Marine Col. Ariel Querubin, who was tagged in the 2006 Fort Bonifacio standoff, former AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro, and Col. Cirilito Sobejana, who led an operation against 150 Abu Sayyaf members in Isabela, Basilan in 1995.

Sobejana said soldiers are ready to sacrifice their lives for the country despite the corruption controversies hounding the AFP.

“We soldiers are ready to give up our lives for the security of our people. I hope they would not generalize and would not view everyone in the armed forces as corrupt. If someone committed such acts, it’s an isolated case,” said Sobejana, commander of the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion.

AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Oban, exalting all the dedicated soldiers of the land, said that the AFP is a home of heroes “whether they be awarded with medals or not.”

“It is unfortunate, however, that in the midst of all the blitz and because of the spotlight which seeks to direct our thoughts and attention, we tend to forget the heroes who everyday put their lives on the line in the name of the country and the people,” he said.

“The ideals of our profession will forever stay alive: gallantry, patriotism, and service to our motherland,” he added.

Ramos said the hall is not about a display of extravagance.

“It is for our young people to enshrine in their hearts the valor, gallantry, and self-sacrifice embodied by soldiers and policemen,” he said.

The Medal of Valor is the highest military decoration and is awarded by the President. It is given to soldiers involved in actual conflict against armed enemies and who displayed “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.”

ABU SAYYAF AFP AGUILAR ARIEL QUERUBIN ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES BARTOLOME BACARRO CAMP AGUINALDO HALL OF HEROES MEDAL OF VALOR
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