No need for militants to quit Cabinet over Marcos burial—solons
Majority lawmakers at the House of Representatives on Monday said there is no need for the militant members of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Cabinet to resign from their posts for opposing a hero’s burial for late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
In a press conference at the House, Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro, a deputy speaker, said the opinion of the militant Cabinet members on the burial issue is separate from the fulfillment of their duties in government.
“Hindi ako naniniwala na ang mga kaalyado ni President Duterte ngunit di sang-ayon sa paglilibing ni Marcos ay kakalas sa administrasyon. Ang paglilibing kay Marcos ay walang koneksyon sa kanilang paninilbihan sa mga Filipino sa administrasyon ni President Duterte,” Castro said.
Among the militant members of the Cabinet, Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo and National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretary Liza Maza said they do not need to resign from the Cabinet despite their position against Marcos’ burial.
Taguiwalo, who was imprisoned and tortured during the brutal two-decade regime, said Duterte knew of her position on Marcos even before he appointed her to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.
“Ako’y naniniwala na ang mga kaalyado ni President Duterte na kritikal sa paglilibing ni President Marcos ay matatalino. Alam nila kung anong issue itong paglibing kay Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani ay iba naman, alam din nila anong issue ang pagpapatuloy na magsilbi sa taumbayan sa administrasyon ni President Duterte,” Castro said.
For her part, Diwa Rep. Emmeline Aglipay Villar, wife of Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, said the militant members accepted the invitation to join the Cabinet despite knowing beforehand Duterte’s position to give Marcos a hero’s burial.
“Tingin ko hindi sila magbibitiw. Bago pa man din maging presidente, sinabi na na malinaw na kung siya ay maging presidente, hahayaan niyang malibing si Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani. Alam na rin ito ng lahat ng mga inappoint niyang secretary bago nila tinanggap ang posisyon,” Aglipay-Villar said.
Talks urging the militant members to resign from the Cabinet started when former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo said the Left would rethink its alliance with Duterte after the administration authorized Marcos to be buried at the hero’s cemetery even though the Supreme Court decision allowing it was not yet final and executory.
“If the influence of the Marcoses is too big on the President that it affects his pro-people commitment, then we will have to consider our tactical alliance,” Ocampo earlier said.
“If the President is clearly trying to revive the concept of ‘bagong lipunan,’ it might spell a separation,” he added.
To align with the Left, Duterte appointed members of militant groups to his Cabinet—Taguiwalo, Maza, Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano and Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor chairperson Terry Ridon.
The administration also resumed peace talks with the communist-led National Democratic Front, even while it also supported the request of the Marcos family to give a hero’s burial to the dictator. RAM/rga
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