Binay explains backing hero’s burial for Marcos
TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines—Vice President Jejomar Binay explained his position in supporting the hero’s burial of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
Binay was one of the two candidates who raised their hands during the “Taas Kamay” segment in the Cebu presidential debate where they were asked who among them support the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The other one was Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
In a press conference late Wednesday evening here, Binay recounted that when he was still a member of the Cabinet, he was asked by Pres. Benigno Aquino III to study the possibility of giving a hero’s burial for Marcos.
The Aquinos and Marcoses have been political rivals because of their shared history during martial law.
Pres. Aquino’s father, then opposition senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was assassinated during the Marcos regime. His mother, Corazon “Cory” Aquino, was swept to the presidency after a people power uprising toppled the dictatorship.
Binay said he was able to talk with Marcos’ daughter Ilocos Norte governor Imee Marcos and they both decided to settle for Marcos’ burial in his hometown of Batac with full military honors.
“About two to three years ago, nung ito’y naging issue, kinausap ako ni Pres. Aquino, ‘Pare, pagaralan mo ito ha (President Aquino talked asked me to look into the issue),'” Binay said.
“Kinausap ko si Imee nu’ng nasa Cebu ako, paano ba natin mareresolve ito. Nagkasundo kami na ilibing sa Batac pero (I talked to Imee when I was in Cebu on how to resolve the issue. We agreed that he be buried in Batac but) in full military honors,” he added.
Binay said Marcos should at least be given a proper burial because he was once the President and commander in chief despite his alleged role in the several human rights violations and extrajudicial killings when he imposed martial law.
“Pinadala ko ang recommendation, sinabi ko du’n na di natin maikakaila na siya’y naging commander in chief, di natin maikakaila na naging presidente ‘yan (I sent a recommendation stating that we cannot deny that he was once our commander in chief and president),” Binay said.
“So bigyan na natin kasunduan na sa Batac tapos with full military honors (So we agreed to have him buried in Batac but in full military honors),” he added.
When asked how he could woo votes from a Romualdez bailiwick like Tacloban, Binay, who was a martial law activist and a human rights lawyer for victims of the martial rule, said he has moved on from political bickering.
Binay is allies with Tacloban mayor Alfred Romualdez, the nephew of Ilocos Norte Rep. and former First Lady Imelda Marcos.
During the Marcos regime, Binay was a member of the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism (Mabini) with renowned lawyers Rene Saguisag, the late Joker Arroyo, Lorenzo Tañada, and Wigberto Tañada, who represented victims of the dictatorship.
Binay was also a known ally of Corazon Aquino, who was swept to the presidency after a people power uprising that toppled the Marcos dictatorship.
Binay was appointed Makati officer in charge a few days after the 1986 Edsa People Power revolt.
Binay had vowed to remove vindictiveness and be a “healing and unifying president.”
“Kayabangan na ‘yung sabihin ko ha. Malaki ang tiwala ko dahil sa ‘yung tinakbo ng panahon mula 1986 eh wala naman pong pulitika (Modesty aside, I am confident that I did not politicize the Romuldez political clan even after 1986.),” Binay said.
For his part, Romualdez in the same press conference said he has let go of political bitterness since martial law.
He said his wife, former actress Cristina Gonzales, is the daughter of Jose Marie Gonzales, and who joined the people power uprising and campaigned for Cory.
“(The vice president) was very active with the Aquino administration and his family. So was my wife. My father in law, Jose Marie Gonzales, campaigned for Cory Aquino, and he was there at Edsa 1,” Romualdez said.
“And yet we don’t have any ounce of bitterness toward each other. We got married and have a beautiful family. What I’m saying is, remove bitterness in your heart and decide that you fight for a bigger cause, which is for the people, our country will go much, much further and we will have a better generation,” he added. IDL
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