WITH all legal obstacles lifted, preparations for the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos are underway.
A military official said construction on the area where the former strongman will be laid to rest at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ cemetery) in Taguig City has resumed. Work at the site was halted when the Supreme Court issued a status quo ante order in August.
On Tuesday, the high court ruled that Marcos can be buried at the cemetery because under the law, former presidents and soldiers have a place at the cemetery.
Col. Benjamin Hao, Army spokesman, said construction at the grave site resumed on Wednesday.
“As a protocol officer of the Army nakipag-coordinate ako sa Marcos family (I coordinated with the Marcos family) and I asked them if they have any concerns that we need to address, so wala naman daw (They said none),” Hao said.
The official added that the family of the late president has yet to decide on the date of the burial.
“There were talks about the supposed date of the burial but officially there is no date yet. They are just rumors,” he said.
Hao said a pathway to the grave site is being constructed. Asked if a mausoleum will be built, the official said what was given clearance was the building of a tomb or a statue.
“Wala pang advise kung tomb or statue ang ilalagay (There is no advise yet if a tomb or a statue will be constructed),” he added.
When President Rodrigo Duterte gave the go signal for Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) directed the Army to provide military honors accorded to a president. This means the Army will keep vigil and provide bugler/drummer, firing party, military host/pallbearers, escort and transportation and arrival and departure honors.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has also started coordinating with other agencies to ensure that the burial of Marcos will be smooth and trouble-free.
Chief Supt. Oscar Albayalde, head of the National Capital Region Police Office, said the police will need the assistance of the Philippine Army, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, and the Office of the Civil Defense of the AFP.
Albayalde said he is already coordinating with the Marcos family through former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. who told him that his family wants a simple burial.
FERNAN MARASIGAN and NELSON BADILLA