I am truly grateful for having been invited by my good friend Cory Quirino to witness the solemn re-interment of the late President Elpidio Quirino from South Cemetery to Libingan Ng Mga Bayani, the Heroes’ Cemetery.
While the occasion was indeed of great national significance, it was also an memorable milestone for the Quirino family.
Cory and fellow granddaughter Ruby together with their aunt, lawyer Lila Quirino of the President Elpidio Quirino Foundation, had painstakingly planned the ceremony on February 29 with the help of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), the Malacañang, and key government offices.
The late president’s grandchildren namely Elpidio Quirino 2nd, Marivic and Marissa flew in from San Francisco, Madrid and Switzerland. The other direct descendants were all in attendance like Poncy, Louie, Cecilia and Connie.
It was a touching family scene to see great and great-great grandchildren witness the once-in-a-lifetime event.
Joining the family was President Benigno Aquino 3rd who led the solemn ceremony in commemoration of the 60th Death Anniversary of Elpidio Quirino.
The President personally welcomed the funeral car as it arrived with traditional honors. It was followed by an official funeral procession escorted by military officers with an entourage composed of the Quirino family, diplomatic corps, business and religious leaders and members of media.
The tradition of the re-interment for a president followed the protocol set by NHCP.
It involved the participation of three cities—Manila for the send-off at South Cemetery with Mayor Joseph Estrada, Makati City for funeral motorcade with Mayor Kid Peña (together with big bike riders of Harley Davidson), and Taguig City where Mayor Lani Cayetano joined the rest of the welcome committee. Guests dressed in Filipiniana set the nationalistic theme.
President Quirino known as the Post-war President, 1948-1953, rebuilder of a war-torn Philippines is now permanently at rest among the heroes.
Indeed, it’s about time.