FORMER President Ferdinand Marcos’ remains will finally be laid to rest at the Libingan ng mga Bayan on September, his birth month.
This was the assurance given by President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to outgoing Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. after the latter made a personal visit to congratulate the newly elected president.
“The discussion was very informal but we’re eyeing (to make it happen) on September. We agreed that it will happen this year,” the younger Marcos said in an ambush interview with reporters early Saturday morning after his more than four-hour meeting with Duterte in Davao City.
Marcos lost to Vice President-elect Leni Robredo.
He thanked Duterte on his support for a hero’s burial for his father despite criticisms.
Duterte earlier said the late dictator deserves to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani or Heroes’ Cemetery in Taguig.
He said the issue has long divided the country and it must be put to rest.
“I will allow the burial of President Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani, not because he is a hero… but because he was a Filipino soldier. Period. That can be arranged immediately,” he said in an evening news conference. “Yang issue na yan has long created a division amongst our people. Almost all of Ilocanos, naghihinanakit talaga. [are hurting]”
Duterte’s decision has drawn flak, particularly from those who suffered under the Marcos dictatorship.
“Ferdinand E. Marcos is not a hero. Only heroes are buried in the Heroes’ Cemetery as the name so literally states,” an online petition on Change.org said.
The petition said burying Marcos’ alongside the nation’s heroes would be an “affront to the thousands of lives tortured and murdered during the dictator’s reign.”
Marcos ruled the country for more than two decades before he was ousted in the People Power revolution in 1986. He died in 1989 while in exile in the United States.
Since his death, the Marcos family has pushed for a hero’s burial for him, citing his accomplishments as a former soldier and president. Marcos’ body is still in a glass coffin in a mausoleum in his hometown in Ilocos Norte.
The Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City is a national cemetery where remains of the country’s heroes, including soldiers, are laid to rest. Former presidents including Elpidio Quirino, Carlos Garcia, and Diosdado Macapagal are also buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
FRANCIS EARL A. CUETO