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Palace: Nothing set on Marcos burial

THE BURIAL of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani had not been formally discussed, President Duterte’s spokesperson said yesterday amid reports Sept. 18 had been set as the burial date.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said he could not comment on a report on Marcos’ burial at the cemetery reserved for heroes and soldiers.

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“We have not discussed that formally,” Abella said over state-run Radyo ng Bayan.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said he was not privy to the matter.

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Mr. Duterte had said during the election campaign that he was agreeable to a Libingan ng mga Bayani burial for Marcos, whose strongman rule resulted in killings and abuse of thousands of Filipinos, because he had been a soldier.

The President also said he wanted to end the issue that had been dividing the country.

But the burial plan continued to draw flak, with Sen. Leila de Lima yesterday calling on martial law victims to take legal action to stop Marcos’ burial at the Libingan.

In a radio interview, De Lima said that, at the moment, she could think of no constitutional or legal impediment to the burial of Marcos.

But offhand, she said, the victims and their families could file an “injunctive class suit” against the burial.

“I’m sure there has to be relief under our legal system, under our judicial system,” she said.

She noted that martial law victims and their families were being paid compensation under a law that recognizes the abuses committed during martial law.

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De Lima said the burial of the late dictator was sure to be divisive if it pushed through.

‘A mockery’

“That would be a mockery of the thousands of victims of abuse, violence and excess during the martial law era, the dark ages of martial law,” she said.

“We can’t just forget what happened during that time. Why honor somebody that did something that bad?” she added.

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has also opposed Marcos’ burial at the Libigan ng mga Bayani and put out a primer explaining why this could not be even if he had been a soldier.

Not recognized

The NHCP said that based on its study and evidence it had collected, Marcos had lied about receiving the US Medal of Honor, the Silver Star and the Order of the Purple Heart.
The guerrilla unit he claimed to have led was never officially recognized, and neither was his promotion to lieutenant colonel.

The US military had also questioned some of Marcos’ actions as a soldier, which had been described separately as usurpation, done without authority, illegal, and a malicious criminal act.

“Mr. Marcos’ military record is fraught with myths, factual inconsistencies and lies,” the NHCP said in its executive summary of the study, dated July 12, 2016.
Even the Makabayan bloc, despite being allies of President Duterte, strongly opposed the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Buried in Batac

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, who was Mr. Duterte’s first choice for environment secretary, saw no reason Marcos should be given such an honor as being buried beside real heroes.

“Marcos has long been buried in Batac, Ilocos Norte. His  remains should stay there,” Zarate said.

“To give the late dictator state honors despite his legacy of gross human rights violations and wholesale plunder of public coffers, for which there has been no justice, is to memorialize impunity,” ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said in a text message.
‘Stoking division’

Former Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello called the move an “insult to the more than 50,000 who were killed, tortured, raped and uprooted by the Marcos dictatorship.”
He said that by insisting on a hero’s burial, the Marcoses were “stoking and sowing national division.”

“Unfortunately, this troublesome family has the ear of the President,” he said.

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TAGS: Ernesto Abella, Ferdinand Marcos, Libingan ng mga Bayani, Marcos burial, Palace
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