A Roman Catholic bishop has opposed President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision allowing the remains of former President Ferdinand Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery).
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, chairman of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on the Laity, said on Thursday that the late strongman does not deserve to be buried at the Heroes Cemetery because he is not a hero.
Pabillo added that Marcos deserves no honor because he looted the country’s coffers and wantonly violated human rights during his more than two-decade rule.
“It is not right that he should be given a hero’s burial because the Libingan ng mga Bayani is only for heroes, and we cannot consider Marcos a hero because of the sins he has committed against the people [during martial law],” he said.
According to Pabillo, the former president’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani would only aggrieve victims of military rule and their families.
Records show that the 103-hectare Heroes’ Cemetery is home to the remains of almost 49,000 soldiers and war veterans who had served the country beyond the call of duty, former presidents, government dignitaries, statesmen and national artists.
But President Duterte is unlikely to back down from his decision on the Marcos burial unless the Supreme Court comes up with a restraining order.
Last Sunday, some 2,000 people staged a peaceful protest at Rizal Park (Luneta) in Manila against the planned Marcos burial at the Heroes’ Cemetery.
The protesters said Marcos does not deserve a hero’s burial because he is not a hero.
A petition has also been filed before the Supreme Court seeking to stop the burial of the former strongman at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
WILLIAM B. DEPASUPIL