THE Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) on Saturday asked President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his decision allowing the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
CEAP is composed of 1,425 schools, colleges and universities across the country.
“CEAP reiterates its call that given the gravity of Mr. Marcos’ crimes against the people and country, his burial at the Libingan will not heal or foster unity. It will invalidate all that many heroes have spent their lives fighting for,” Anthony Coloma, the group’s advocacy and information management officer, said in a statement.
CEAP also echoed the appeal of a broad coalition of groups called “Duyan ng Magiting” that Marcos not be buried at the heroes’ cemetery.
“We ask nothing that you have not already promised. Justice. Unity. Healing. A better Philippines as envisioned by the thousands who gave the ultimate sacrifice to restore the freedoms that we now enjoy, President Rody, we ask that you heal this festering wound.
Let this be your legacy. Please do not allow the burial of Mr. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” CEAP quoted Duyan as saying in their letter to the president.
But presidential Chief Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo on Saturday said Duterte does not need to apologize to martial law victims for approving the burial of the late strongman at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
In a news conference in Quezon City, Panelo said Duterte did not commit any mistake in approving the burial because he is merely implementing the law as the chief executive.
“Why should he apologize? He did not commit any mistake,” he told reporters.
Panelo said that despite the human rights abuses committed during martial law, Marcos had big accomplishments during his stint as president.
The Philippine Army said Marcos will be accorded military burial honors.
‘’Based on the directive, the Army is required to provide vigil, bugler/drummer, firing party, military host/pallbearers, escort and transportation, and arrival and departure honors,’’ the Army said in a statement.
‘’The Philippine Army has designated a protocol officer to make lateral coordination with the family of the late former President Marcos on the details of the internment plan,” it added.
Martial law victims led by the Samahan ng Mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) announced on Saturday their plan to file a petition at the Supreme Court to stop the planned hero’s burial for Marcos.
Trinidad Herrera, SELDA spokesperson, said burying the former strongman at the Libingan ng mga Bayani will be a grave injustice to the victims of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances during martial law.
“Marcos is no hero. He was a mass murderer, torturer and a plunderer. To confer national honors to Marcos is a defilement of the people’s historic struggle against the tyranny of martial law,” Herrera said.
“Even in the sunset years of our lives, we will continue to fight for justice for all victims of Martial Law and state fascism,” he stressed.