After 60 years, President Quirino gets burial he deserves
PRESIDENT Aquino will lead re-internment ceremonies for President Elpidio Quirino at the Libingan ng mga Bayani tomorrow (Monday), the 60th death anniversary of the country’s second post-war Chief Executive.
“This is a rare occasion,” Communications Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III said about the event, which will be attended by the Quirino family and officials of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
A motorcade from the Manila South Cemetery is expected to arrive at 11 a.m. at the Libingan in Taguig City.
Quezon Saturday said on state-run Radyo ng Bayan that Quirino would be the third president to be buried at the heroes cemetery after Presidents Carlos P. Garcia and Diosdado Macapagal.
The Philippine Army said the ceremony will coincide with an event at the Philippine Center in New York City commemorating Quirino’s death anniversary.
Quirino was buried at the Manila South Cemetery in Makati after he died of a heart attack on Feb. 29, 1956, at his home in Novaliches.
Quirino, then the Senate President pro tempore, became the president of the republic in April 1948 after the sudden death of President Manuel Roxas from a heart attack.
Quirino was elected President in 1949 and ran for reelection in 1953 but lost to Ramon Magsaysay who was then his Defense Secretary.
Quirino was a widower when he assumed the presidency because his wife, Alicia Syquia, a daughter and two sons were killed by the Japanese in 1945 during the Battle of Manila.
Quirino’s surviving daughter, Victoria, who was then in her teens, assumed the role of first lady during his term.
A statement to the media by the organizers said that “maybe because PEQ (President Elpidio Quirino) died after his presidency, he was not accorded a funeral and burial worthy of a head of state. In contrast to what PEQ did for President Manuel Roxas when the latter suddenly died of a heart attack, PEQ’s departure honors were found lacking.”
“Sixty years after this historical oversight, President Quirino will finally get the departure honors he rightfully deserves as a ‘leader and statesman who piloted the Ship of State when the seas were most stormy and perilous, and brought it safe to port with enhanced prestige and matchless gallantry’,” the statement said.
Joining President Aquino at today’s ceremonies are Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Hernando Iriberri, the chiefs of the AFP major commands, Senate President Franklin Drilon, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., and other government officials and the diplomatic corps.
Army spokesperson Col. Benjamin Hao said around 1,300 personnel from the Philippine Army, Air Force and Navy as well as ROTC cadets will render full military honors during the ceremony.
The statement said Quirino’s tomb at the Libingan ng mga Bayani “highlights three monochromatic spokes which represent unification as well as the distinct hallmarks of PEQ’s cardinal values of tolerance, goodwill and love.”
The memorial was designed by architect William Coscolluela.
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