Minority lawmakers seek TRO stopping Marcos burial in heroes’ cemetery
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman on Tuesday said the “legitimate” minority bloc joined the calls to seek an injunction from the Supreme Court to stop the burial of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos in heroes’ cemetery.
In a press briefing, Lagman said the minority lawmakers led by Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat Jr. joined the family of “desaparecidos” (victims of enforced disappearances) in seeking a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court to halt Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
“Kaya kami pumunta sa Korte Supreme at humingi ng TRO upang hindi maging academic ang isyu na ito,” Lagman said.
(We went to the Supreme Court and ask for TRO so that this issue won’t be [moot and] academic.)
He said Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, Jr., Akbayan Rep. Tomasito Villarin, Capiz Rep. Emmanuel Billones and Caloocan Rep. Edgar Erice of the minority bloc have joined the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) in filing the petition for TRO, sharing the grief and call for justice of the families of victims of enforced disappearances during Marcos’ martial law regime.
Lagman’s brother Hermon, a human rights lawyer, was a victim of enforced disappearance during the martial law regime.
“Ang principal na nag-file nun ay mga desaparecidos, sapagkat ang mga desaparecidos are the worst victims of martial law atrocities,” Lagman said.
“Not even makeshift crosses would mark their unknown graves. Walang closure ‘yan hanggang ngayon,” he added.
Lagman said the Marcos’ family waived the late strongman’s right to be given a hero’s burial due to an agreement with then president Fidel Ramos in 1992 to bury Marcos in his hometown Batac, Ilocos Norte, beside his mother’s grave, and not at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
The conditions were: Marcos’ body would be flown straight from Hawaii to Ilocos Norte; Marcos would be given honors befitting a major, his last rank in the Armed Forces of the Philippines; Marcos’ body would not be paraded in Metro Manila; there would be no burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani.
READ: Deal: Marcos burial in Ilocos
“The Marcos family waived the burial of Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani… Itong totality of these arguments, I think will justify the Supreme Court’s judging the projected burial now and forever,” Lagman said.
For his part, Rep. Baguilat, who led the minority bloc, admitted that he was among the 213 representatives who signed a resolution filed by the late Sorsogon Rep. Salvador Escudero III in 2011 during the 15th Congress urging then president Benigno Aquino III to allow a hero’s burial for the dictator.
Baguilat said he has changed his mind since and said giving Marcos a hero’s burial would bury with it the martial law atrocities during his 21-year rule.
He said he could not accept the fact that Marcos would be buried nearby his brother, Winston, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy who was killed in an ambush in Basilan and buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
“At the time, yes, I was new in Congress, and I thought signing the resolution… Yung mindset mo, nagbabago naman yan through time. After listening to the stories of the victims in our discernment, even thinking about my brother and cousin who are buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, nagbago ang pananaw ko,” Baguilat said.
“Moving on is not forgetting the sins of the past,” he said.
Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said what he feared is the historical revisionism that could be a result of giving Marcos a hero’s burial.
“The greatest danger is the historical revision. What happened 30, 40 years ago ay pwede nang kalimutan ng kabataan. Ang kasaysayan ay hindi mo pwedeng baguhin. Ang kasaysayan ang magtuturo sa atin ng kinabukasan,” Villarin said.
Deputy speakers in the House of Representatives have said Marcos deserves to be given a hero’s burial because of a law allowing former presidents to be buried at the national pantheon.
President Rodrigo Duterte has given the go-signal for Marcos’ heroes burial on 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.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana issued a memorandum addressed to Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, General Ricardo Visaya to make the necessary preparations and “coordinate closely with theMarcos family regarding the date of interment and the transport of the late former President’s remains from Ilocos Norte to the (Libingan ng mga Bayani).” TVJ
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