THE HERO’S interment for Angelo Reyes, the late military chief, despite being dragged in a corruption scandal, has revived the debate over whether former resident Ferdinand Marcos should be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Rep. Salvador Escudero III has filed House Resolution No. 1135 urging President Benigno Aquino III to consider transferring Marcos’ remains to the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig, where former presidents and military servicemen are laid to rest.

“We simply want him buried to finally give him rest,” Escudero said in a phone interview. “It was signed by 219 congressmen and even so, it merely urges the President. It is still his decision whether to adopt it or not.”

Marcos’ remains are in a refrigerated crypt at the Marcos museum in Batac, Ilocos Norte.

Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile favored the resolution, saying the former president’s contribution in the Japanese Occupation should merit a hero’s burial.

“I have always been in favor of burying the former president in the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” Enrile said in a letter sent to the Varsitarian. “He fought a war for the country, for the Filipino people.”

He said Marcos was a Bataan Death March survivor who fought in the war as a member of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East, stationed in Northern Luzon.

Faculty of Arts and Letters political science coordinator Ma. Zenia Rodriguez also favored the hero’s burial for Marcos “because he was a former president.”

She added that despite the insurgencies during Martial law, there was a still an “efficient degree of discipline” during his regime.

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“He could ask people to do things, and they would be done right away because there was fear,” Rodriguez said.

Still not forgotten

Although the resolution drew support from the majority of the House membership, some say the country has not yet recovered from its “dark past.”

According to Fernando Pedrosa, chair of the University’s Department of Social Sciences, corruption and cases of human rights abuses during the Marcos presidency are still in the people’s minds.

“It is still too soon. Burying him in the Libingan ng mga Bayani would only be an insult to the millions of people who marched in Edsa,” he said, referring to the 1986 people power revolution that forced Marcos to exile. “He was ousted because he was a dictator who destroyed the institutions of the Philippines. Does he deserve to be rewarded a burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani? Bury him in other cemeteries, not there.”

Pedrosa said it would be ironic to give Marcos a hero’s burial considering the corruption and killings linked to his regime.

“It will be funny before the whole world that we ousted a president said to be a dictator, and here we are, burying him at the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” he said.

Not a ‘hero’ profile

But if the Libingan ng mga Bayani is intended for the late statesmen, scientists, and national artists, why is Marcos’ transfer is still a heated debate?

For Augusto de Viana, chair of the Department of History, the question depends on whether or not Marcos was really a hero.

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He said the authenticity of Marcos’ military awards was questioned in Primitivo Mijares’ Conjugal Dictatorship, which claimed that the Medal of Valor he received in 1960 was given only upon his request to then president Diosdado Macapagal.

“According to the story, Marcos allegedly requested Macapagal the issuance of medals to be used as his props for his senatorial campaign,” De Viana said.

But during Marcos’ term, reknowned structures like the Manila Film Center, Folk Arts Theater, and the Philippine Heart Center were established. It was also in 1974 that the country experienced a trade surplus following an improvement in international ties and infrastructure.

Soon after, his tenure went downhill, cascading into massive authoritarian corruption, despotism, political repression, and human rights violations before he was ousted in 1986.

In addition, favors given to friends in politics and business cronies regardless of their qualifications were also rampant during his term.

“He granted loans. and the suspicion was that he was getting a big share from these loans,” Pedrosa said.

Some of his relatives were also given immense power in the government. The dictator’s wife, Imelda Marcos was appointed Metro Manila governor.

Injustices during his rule also led to the establishment of the New People’s Army the and Moro National Liberation Front, De Viana said.

“When he became the president and declared Martial Law, he had no less than 30,000 people put to jail just because they were seen as threats,” he added.

Because of Martial Law, the press was censored, and those who were deemed threats to his power were abducted. Many remain missing to this day.

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Final decision

In the end, Pedrosa said Vice President Jejomar Binay’s move to let the people decide should trump all arguments.

“It is for the welfare of the people, hence it should be the voice of the people who should be heard,” he said.

De Viana echoed Pedrosa, adding that it should be the responsibility and decision of the people who lived during the Marcos dictatorship.

“The footages (the news clips, pictures and videos showing Marcos’ achievements) that we have now from his term which the youth sees can make you say that things were good back then, but are those really what happened?” De Viana asked.

A Social Weather Stations survey released last March 2011 showed divided public opinion. Forty-nine percent did not agree to bury Marcos in the Libingan, while 50 percent agreed. Among those who agreed, 30 percent said he must be given full military honors and 20 percent said a private burial was enough. The remaining one percent refused to answer.

2 COMMENTS

  1. He should be buried with full military honors since he’s still our former President. hindi lang so Marcos ang may ginawang kalokohan. So meaning to say, if Gloria Arroyo died, she will not be given full military honors?

    Thats so childish

  2. look at the time of Macoy, disiplinado lhat ng tao. limited lng ang mga jeep sa mga kalye. wlang buses sa minor roads. speaking ok infrastructures, it was his time that CCP, the expressways, widening of roads, skyways, hospitals and other public utilities were built. he has many more plans to make our country be known worldwide. meron siyang plano sa Pilipinas na malaki for it to be able to compete with other countries. healthy ang economy ntin nung time ni Macoy. lhat ng mga ngdrodroga, pnapahuli at pnapapatay agad. kaya, lahat ng Pilipino nun, takot. that’s a respected kind of a President, ung knatatakutan at hindi pdeng lokohin. corruption nga ang meron nung tym nya, but, look and analyze the status of corruption and bankruptcy when Macoy left. d ba, ms rumami na ang utang ntin simula nung umupo na si Democrazy? wel, ask all the political analysts and let them judge over this issue. for me, he very much dserves to have a hero’s burial.

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