Imelda Marcos turns 82, still mum on Marcos burialBy Cristina Arzadon
Inquirer Northern Luzon
LAOAG CITY, Philippines—Ilocos Norte Representative Imelda Marcos marked her 82nd birthday in a celebratory mood despite a recent government decision declaring that her husband’s final burial place should be in Ilocos Norte.
The Marcos widow, garbed in a red Filipiniana gown, would not say whether she has accepted the Aquino administration’s decision on the burial of strongman Ferdinand Marcos, whose remains are kept in an air-conditioned mausoleum in Batac City.
Mrs. Marcos on Saturday walked into a renovated provincial government-run Plaza del Norte Hotel, formerly known as the Ilocos Norte Hotel and Convention Center, where a crowd of well-wishers awaited the main celebrations.
“This is an outstanding day, a very happy day for me. The Lord has privileged me with serving the country for two decades,” she said.
Burying the former president appeared to be farthest from Mrs. Marcos’ mind as she danced and swayed to Ilocano songs while mingling with her guests. She also regaled the crowd with Visayan and Ilocano songs. At one point, her children, Imee and Irene, joined their mother in rendering a Visayan song.
But in her birthday speech, Mrs. Marcos described how politics has continued to deprive her husband and family of justice, an apparent broadside against the decision to reject a hero’s burial for Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig.
“Politics has been cruel to the dead Ferdinand,” she said.
“My children (Governor Imee Marcos, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Irene Marcos-Araneta) have been so hurt and persecuted by government injustice but they are ready to serve the country because they know that what the Filipinos need are care, service and justice,” she said.
She said she returned to public office to regain political integrity and to bring justice back to the Marcos family.
“The Marcoses were not only deprived of justice and worldly possessions, but even of truth and honor,” she added.
Imee had said that while President Benigno Aquino is the only Philippine President who had seriously thought of burying her father, the family still has to sit down to plan for the burial.
The Marcoses have yet to declare where and when to bury the strongman but the family’s ancestral homes and mausoleum housing the frozen remains in Batac City were spruced up.
Tarpaulins bearing the photographs and programs of the Marcos couple were posted on the mausoleum’s walls.
The provincial government prepared a string of programs beginning with the inauguration of the new Marcos Museum in Batac, where the former first lady’s gowns depicting her iconic style were displayed.
The event coincided with the signing of the sisterhood pact between Ilocos Norte and Cebu in the presence of Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and Cebu mayors and board members.
The Ilocos Norte Electric Cooperative gifted Mrs. Marcos with a redesigned Marcos bust installed at its main office in Dingras town in recognition of Marcos’ rural electrification program.
She also opened a health care facility for mothers and children in Paoay town.