I borrowed the phrase “an act of civilization” from Victor Hugo’s tribute to Voltaire during the 100th death anniversary of the great French philosopher and dramatist.
Hugo (author of Les Miserables), on that occasion, got to the heart of why every country should pay homage to her great sons and daughters, when he said: “We are here to perform an act of civilization. We are here to make affirmation of progress, to pay respect to philosophers for the benefits of philosophy, to bring to the 18th century the testimony of the 19th, to honor magnanimous combatants and good servants, to felicitate the noble efforts of people.
“We are here at this grand moment, in this solemn hour, to bow religiously before the moral law, and to say to the world, which hears France, this: There is only one power, conscience in the service of justice, and there is only one glory, genius in the service of truth.”
So it might be also for the coming burial of President Ferdinand Marcos but for the dishonest controversy that the Aquino crowd, joined by leftwing activists, is hysterically promoting in a desperate bid to stop the official interment.
Burying Cory’s dog with military honors
I am joining the debate on the planned burial of President Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) in indignation, because of my discovery that during the time of President Corazon Aquino, she ordered the burial, with military honors, of her dog at Malacañang Park, while she doggedly refused to allow Marcos’ interment at the Libingan.
On Facebook, someone has posted an old Reuters story on the controversy generated by the dog’s interment. The dog’s name was Shadow, and it was a Labrador bitch, and she served as security for President Cory for six years.
The canine devotion is maudlin, but what appalls and offends is the imposture of the Aquino crowd that there is a legitimate question about whether President Marcos is qualified to be interred at the Libingan.
The fact is, Marcos is qualified many times over for interment there, and with all the honors that he deserves because he is:
1. a Medal of Valor awardee;
2. a former President of the Republic, and incidentally, the only reelected President in the country’s history;
3. a former secretary of national defense; and
4. a veteran of World War II
Regulations for Libingan burial
The case for a Marcos burial at Libingan has been advocated by many, but no one has presented it more forcefully and convincingly than retired Brig. Gen. Rosalino A. Alquiza, who wrote to Star columnist Federico Pascual on the matter, and who then quoted the letter in a column published on April 24, 2011.
“AFP Regulations G 161-373, subject: ‘Allocation of Cemetery Plots at the LNMB,’ issued on 9 April 1986 by GHQ AFP under then AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel V. Ramos and then President Corazon C. Aquino, prescribes who are entitled to be interred in the LNMB.
“Pursuant to the aforecited AFP Regulations, re-published on 11 Sept 2000 as AFP Regulations G 161-375, there are 10 categories of deceased persons entitled to be buried at the LNMB, namely:
1. Medal of Valor Awardees;
2. Presidents or Commanders-in-Chief, AFP
3. Secretaries of National Defense
4. Chiefs of Staff, AFP
5. General/Flag Officers of the AFP
6. Active and retired military personnel of the AFP
7. Former AFP members who laterally entered/joined the PNP and the PCG
8. Veterans of Philippine Revolution of 1896, WWI, WWII and recognized guerrillas.
9. Government Dignitaries, Statesmen, National Artists and other deceased persons whose interment or reinterment has been approved by the Commander-in-Chief, Congress or the Secretary of National Defense.
10. Former Presidents, Secretaries of National Defense, widows of former Presidents, Secretaries of National Defense and Chiefs of Staff…
“Former President Marcos is entitled to be interred at the LNMB in any of four categories, namely: as Medal of Valor awardee, as former President, as former Secretary of National Defense, and as veteran of World War II.
“As regards disqualification, Marcos was neither dishonorably discharged nor convicted with finality of an offense involving moral turpitude. While he was charged with several offenses, he was never convicted. Thus, he died an innocent man.
“Except for the 9th category (Government Dignitaries, Statesmen and National Artists), the regulations do not require the approval of the President or anybody else for the interment at the LNMB of those so entitled.
“The LNMB is a military cemetery (just like the Arlington Cemetery in the United States) intended primarily for military personnel and veterans. One does not have to be a hero to qualify to be buried there…”
It was President Cory Aquino who signed the regulations, but she then arbitrarily put up the barrier to Marcos’ interment at the Libingan.
Presidential approval is not required for the interment of a person meeting the qualifications, but Cory made an exception for Marcos, and subsequently President Ramos also tried to make it appear obligatory. It is only now with President Duterte that we have a President who is firm in honoring the regulations .
Pathetic protest and propaganda
The puny protest staged last Sunday at Rizal Park, bathed in yellow shirts and led by Mar Roxas, Risa Hontiveros and Leila de lima, seeks to continue Cory’s bile from the grave. Aided by the still slavish yellow media (ABS-CBN, Inquirer, Star), the protestors hallucinate that they can panic President Duterte into retreat from his decision to allow the burial with honors of President Marcos at the Libingan. Or that they can stampede the Supreme Court into issuing a restraining order on the burial.
Panic Duterte? Bamboozle the High Court? Who are they kidding?
Leni Robredo had more sense. She ran away from the charade.
A debt of justice
To close this meditation on the Marcos interment at the Libingan, I turn to the words of the great Athenian statesman Pericles, who in 431 BC delivered an oration as a memorial to the first Athenian soldiers who fell in the Peloponnesian War.
“It is a debt of justice to pay superior honors to men who have devoted their lives in fighting for their country…
“The grandeur of this community was acquired by brave and valiant men, men who knew their duty…
“It is greatness of soul alone that never grows old.”