MARCOS loyalists trooped to the Libingan ng mga Bayani a day after the burial of their idol, the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos, as protests against the surprise burial died down on Saturday.
Over 2,000 loyalists aboard some 50 buses and 40 private vehicles traveled all the way from the Marcoses’ bailiwick of Ilocos Norte to Taguig City, arriving as early as 7:30 a.m. or just hours after anti-Marcos rallyists dispered.
Two Masses were offered: One at 8 a.m. and another at 10 a.m., with members of the Marcos family – former first lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos attending the second one.
Security was tight, with staff members checking the number of passengers inside each vehicle to make sure that only members of pro-Marcos groups entered the military-run cemetery.
For the first time, members of the media were allowed to go inside the “heroes’ cemetery” to take photos and videos, but no interviews were allowed.
Unfazed by protests against the granting of a hero’s burial to Marcos, the former first lady extolled her late husband as a “a God-fearing man who dedicated his life to help the people and make our country great.”
“It was a huge honor, he said, to serve the country as a president. But for him, the greatest honor is to serve as a soldier and not just offer his services, but also his life,” she told supporters.
“I know that Marcos always sided with the truth and if you’re on the side of the truth, God is in your side,” she said.
At high noon of Friday, ex-president Marcos was buried with military honors at the national shrine for heroes, nearly three decades after his ouster and subsequent death in exile in Hawaii.
The burial drew numerous protests, with most voices coming from “millennials” and politicians, including Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo who likened the surprise ceremony to “a thief in the night.”
Apologies for ‘private’ burial
The Marcos siblings apologized to their loyalists for keeping the burial rites private. They assured supporters, though, that their patriarch got his last wish: a solemn and dignified burial.
“Finally, we were able to give him what he wanted,” Ferdinand Jr. said.
Governor Marcos mingled with the crowd shortly before leaving with the family by afternoon.
Guillermo Regnon, a barangay chairman in Currimao, Ilocos Norte, said: “We just want to see the resting place of Marcos.”
The Philippine National Police on Saturday said there were no rallies at the Libingan.
“We have not monitored any anti-Marcos rally. However, in any protest, we will exercise maximum tolerance,” Chief Supt. Oscar Albayalde, the National Capital Region Police Office director, said in a text message.
Albayalde noted that under Batas Pambansa 880, “mayors are required to assign public spaces where people can protest freely. Without designation from mayors, all parks will be deemed freedom parks in their city.”
“Rallies in these places can be tolerated as we respect the freedom of assembly, provided that protests will be conducted peacefully and orderly,” Albayalde said.
“In case protesters become unruly and violent, the full force of the law will be applied,” he added.
Militant leaders have called for more rallies until the planned “#OccupyLNMB” event on November 30, the day the Philippines honors revolutionary hero Andres Bonifacio.