Ilocanos still want dictator Marcos finally buried in ‘Libingan’
LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte, Philippines—Even the kailian (provincemates) of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos are displeased over his burial in his home province even if he is given military honors.
Vice President Jejomar Binay had recommended to President Aquino that Marcos should be given full military honors but he should be buried in his home province of Ilocos Norte and not in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) in Metro Manila.
Sarrat Mayor Edito Balintona said Marcos, who was born in Sarrat, deserved a place at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, being a former president and soldier.
“It is historical hypocrisy if we deny him that honor because he deserves it,” he said.
Balintona said it was also a hypocrisy that people judge Marcos because of the wrongdoing that he committed against the country.
No one’s perfect
“Who among us is perfect… or who did nothing wrong? Marcos may have violated other people’s rights but he did a lot for the nation,” he said.
But should the burial site be finally settled in Ilocos Norte, Balintona said Sarrat should be made as Marcos’ final resting place.
Batac City Mayor Jeffrey Nalupta has pitching for his city, the Marcoses’ official residence, to be the burial place.
Batac is in the province’s second district, where the Marcoses launched their political careers. Marcos’ father, Mariano, represented the district in the House of Representatives. The same seat was occupied by Marcos and his children, Ferdinand Jr. and Imee. His widow, Imelda, is the incumbent representative.
The strongman’s remains have been sealed in a glass case in a temperature-controlled mausoleum in the family compound in Batac since 1993. The remains were flown from Hawaii, where he lived in exile from 1986 until he died in 1989.
A report had claimed that Imelda Marcos sealed an agreement with then President Fidel Ramos for the latter to allow the return of the remains on the condition that the widow signs a waiver for a hero’s burial and the body to be flown directly to Ilocos Norte.
Mrs. Marcos has yet to confirm whether such agreement took place or that she executed a waiver over a hero’s burial for the strongman.
But Balintona, a lawyer and close Marcos ally, said the waiver would not hold water because a person’s burial could not be made a subject to a waiver by anyone.
“The burial should be decided by facts and history. Besides, the supposed waiver should not be taken against Representative Marcos. Ultimately, it is beside the issue [whether Marcos deserved a hero’s burial],” he said.
He said he was aware that Mrs. Marcos was considering a final interment for her husband in Sarrat after Binay’s recommendation but said she has yet to discuss with him any funeral arrangements.
Mrs. Marcos, who visited Sarrat a day after Binay issued the recommendation, said she was leaving her husband’s burial to “divine plan.”
Balintona said he may lobby with the family to make Sarrat Marcos’ permanent resting place. “The presence of Marcos’ body [in Sarrat] will spell huge tourism and economic boom,” he said.
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