Bishop: Show mercy, bury Marcos honorably
LAOAG CITY—Burying the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos would be an act of charity, regardless of whether Filipinos perceive him as hero or heel, Laoag Bishop Renato Mayugba, one of the highest ranking Church leaders in the Ilocos region, said on Saturday.
But he said it is tradition among Ilocanos to bury their dead close to those who are left behind, which means the ideal burial place for Marcos would be in his home province.
“As merciful as the Father, let us show mercy to [Marcos] and have him buried honorably as well,” said Mayugba, addressing over 2,000 people who packed the San Nicolas parish here.
The bishop officiated Mass for the feast of San Nicolas de Tolentino, the parish patron saint, but Mayugba’s homily had references about Marcos.
Ilocos Norte celebrated Marcos’ 99th birth anniversary on Sunday. Marcos ruled the Philippines for more than 20 years, which were characterized by state atrocities after he declared martial law on Sept. 21, 1972.
Upon his assumption into office, President Duterte had allowed Marcos to be buried at Libingan ng mga Bayani, a decision that had polarized the country.
“It is our Christian obligation to bury the dead and for us to pray for them—saints or sinners alike … Jesus refused to pass judgement on them. In fact, the church even today never assigns or condemns anybody to hell,” the bishop said.
“If only the burial [would take place] in a Catholic cemetery, there would be no problem … We bury saints and sinners such as the likes of Saint Teresa or a drug lord. A cemetery is where we pray for all the dead,” Mayugba added.
Interviewed after the Mass, Mayugba said the church would not meddle in the debate over whether Marcos was entitled to burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani. He described the debate as a political matter, not a religious issue.
“The state has its own laws and the church recognizes the competence of the state in that regard. That is why we leave the state to decide on whether they accept [a Libingan ng mga Bayani burial] or not. That is a question that can be best resolved by the state and civil society,” the bishop said.
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