House leaders: Marcos deserves hero’s burial as former President
Deputy speakers in the House of Representatives said the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos deserves to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani because of a law allowing former presidents to be buried at the national pantheon.
During a press briefing of the House leaders on Monday, Negros Occidental Rep. Mercedes Alvarez cited Republic Act 289, or the law allowing former Presidents to be interred at the national pantheon.
According to the law passed in 1948, a national pantheon should be constructed “to perpetuate the memory of all the Presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and patriots for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generations still unborn.”
“The only qualification for this law so that one can be buried in a national pantheon is actually for one to be a President. There’s no other disqualification stated,” Alvarez said.
The law also does not state that a President may be disqualified from being granted a hero’s burial due to his record of human rights violations and ill-gotten wealth, Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro said.
Castro said the controversies of human rights violations and extra-judicial killings, as well as ill-gotten wealth accumulated during the Marcos regime, should not be considered in the debate of giving Marcos a hero’s burial.
Castro said the RA 289 and even Republic Act 10368 or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 do not disqualify Marcos from a hero’s burial due to his record of human rights violations during his regime.
Castro said the historical myths that Marcos built around himself, such as his fake war medals, also do not disqualify Marcos from being given a hero’s burial.
“It has no bearing in determining whether or not President Marcos should be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, because the qualification of the law is only being President of the country,” Castro said.
“These are different issues; these do not have to be mixed [in] the issue of burial. Even if Marcos had already been buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the ill-gotten wealth or the other issues relevant may still be discussed. But the only issue here is whether or not he will be physically buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani… Any other issue other than the physical burial of Marcos cannot be associated with his being buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” Castro said.
Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo also said Marcos’ burial at the Libingan does not necessarily wash away the sins of the former President’s dictatorial regime, saying that not all those buried at the Libingan may be deemed heroes.
But Quimbo said Marcos’ burial should not silence the call for justice for the human rights victims tortured or killed during the Marcos regime.
“The burial is really symbolic. They put a lot of importance on the event itself, that as if we are washing away the sins of the past dictatorship. If you look at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, with all due respect, there are a few ones who do not deserve to be there. Military personnel who were torturers, who salvaged,” Quimbo said.
“It’s not a perfect cemetery. It should not be looked at as a way to wash away the sins of the past… Hindi rin ito ang katapusan… Hindi ito nangangahulugan na tapos na ang laban sa paghahanap ng katarungan para sa biktima ng martial law (This is also not the end… This does not mean that the fight for justice for the victims of martial law is over),” Quimbo said.
Ilocos Sur Rep. Eric Singson said as a fellow Ilocano, Marcos should be interred finally at the Libingan. Marcos’ remains are buried below a glass case containing the wax replica of the former President at a mausoleum in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
President Rodrigo on Duterte on Sunday said he had given the go-signal for Marcos’ hero’s burial in September, fulfilling his campaign promise of putting an end to the issue that had divided the country.
Duterte said Marcos is qualified to be buried there as a former President and soldier. He also said he once voted for Marcos, and that his father worked for Marcos’ Cabinet. JE/rga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.