SHOULD the Supreme Court (SC) junk the petitions seeking to prevent the planned burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, he will be the fourth president of the republic to be interred there.
If it pushes through, Marcos will be buried in the portion of the cemetery reserved for former presidents.
At least 46 grave sites are allocated to presidents in the cemetery.
At present, only three former presidents—Elpidio Quirino, Carlos Garcia and Diosdado Macapagal —are interred at the Libingan.
Quirino’s remains were transferred from the South Cemetery in Makati City to the heroes’ cemetery in Taguig City on February 29 this year, which marked his 60th death anniversary.
Besides presidents, Libingan has reserved sites or plots for 94 secretaries of national defense, government dignitaries and statesmen; 133 for chiefs of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP); 118 for Medal of Valor awardees; 183 for other generals and flag officers; 5,334 for World War II veterans; and 1,375 for national artists/scientists.
The rest of the grave sites are allocated for active and retired AFP personnel and veterans.
Currently, the remains of more or less 49,000 people are buried in the 103-hectare site.
Marcos died in Hawaii on September 28, 1989, three years after the first people power revolt ousted him from power.
Since his embalmed remains were brought back to the country in 1993, it has been kept in a glass-topped casket in the Marcos Museum and Mausoleum in Batac City, Ilocos Norte.
President Rodrigo Duterte has allowed Marcos’ remains to be interred at the cemetery. The military has ordered its concerned offices to prepare for Marcos’ interment, which includes the provision of military honors during the burial.
However, several persons and groups asked the SC to stop Marcos’ burial at the Taguig cemetery, saying he does not deserve the honor because of the human rights abuses committed during his regime and his acquisition of ill-gotten wealth.
The High Court issued a status quo ante order (SQAO) that temporarily prevented the burial of the former president. The order will be in force until November 8, when the SC is expected to vote on the case.