Members of the family of former President Ferdinand Marcos should take the high road and bury him in his hometown of Ilocos Norte instead of pursuing a hero’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) in Taguig City (Metro Manila).
Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe made the call on Monday in the aftermath of a Supreme Court decision junking petitions against a hero’s burial for Marcos via a 9 to 5 vote.
The petitioners had argued that Marcos does not deserve to be given a hero’s burial because of atrocities committed by his martial-law regime: 3,257 killed, 35,000 tortured, 70,000 incarcerated and 737 victims of enforced disappearances from 1976 to 1983 based on the records of Amnesty International.
At least 75,000 torture victims have also filed their claims under the Marcos compensation law.
“I would like to appeal to the Marcoses to take the moral high ground and don’t bury him in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. You have proven your point. The Supreme Court has said that there is no law preventing his burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Now, would his burial there bring peace to our country? You can’t be sure about that,” Batocabe told reporters.
Marcos, who died in 1989, is survived by his wife, Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr., Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos and Irene Marcos.
The Presidential Commission on Good Government estimates Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth at $5 billion to $10 billion, on top of the $13.4 billion deposited by Marcos and his family in various Swiss banks.
“Anyway, laws or Supreme Court decisions do not define heroes. Heroes are defined by the collective memory of the people. They could just bury him in Ilocos Norte and put up a Libingan ng mga Bayani there,” Batocabe said.
Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella announced that the hero’s burial for Marcos would be done by the end of the year.
Batocabe, however, said the Marcoses would be putting the remains of the former leader at risk if they pushed through with the hero’s burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
“If his remains will be interred there in the Libingan, I doubt that it will bring peace to the family. Who knows, his remains could be dug up and stolen. And there will be people in the future who would not want to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The [Heroes’ Cemetery] will be devalued,” he added.
“They have proven their point. The Marcos loyalists have proven their point. Why not bury him in a place where he is acceptable to all?” Batocabe said.