ONE nagging issue will be resolved once former President Ferdinand Marcos is buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on Sept. 18: Is the figure encased in a glass in Batac, Ilocos Norte the remains of the late strongman?
There have been many reports doubting it. The Marcos family, on the other hand, has consistently maintained it was his body. Only an X-Ray or physical examination of the figure would have determined the truth conclusively.
But now, neither is needed. If the figure inside the glass is the one that will be placed inside the bronze casket to be buried at the Libingan, then there’ll be no doubt that that is, indeed, the body of FM.
The face of the body inside the coffin should be open for public viewing before the interment to avoid suspicions of a substitution.
Several years ago, a Marcos supporter voiced her doubts that FM’s body was, indeed, the corpse inside the glass at the Marcos mausoleum in Batac. She gave me her first-hand account of what she called “pilgrimage” to the hometown of the late president to view his remains.
Mrs. Lucy Ferrer, wife of former Mayor Gaudencio Ferrer of Hermosa, Bataan, told me she went to Batac a few months after the arrival of FM’s remains from Hawaii. She said that when she was at the mausoleum, there was no air-conditioning at all.
“I was told that there had been no air-conditioning for weeks. Power was cut off reportedly because of mounting unpaid bills,” she continued.
Cold temperature is needed to preserve a body as is used at the tombs of Chairman Mao of China and Lenin of Russia. Even an embalmed body will decompose under intense heat, so why didn’t this happen to the figure inside the glass after several weeks without air-conditioning?
This wasn’t the only reason why Mrs. Lucy Ferrer doubted that it was her idol that she was, indeed, viewing. She expressed dismay that the figure bore no resemblance to FM.
“It looked like a wax figure!” she commented.
Her doubts were strengthened when she saw bottles of wine inside the mausoleum and the guards appeared drunk.
“If the body was really that of Marcos, the guards would have behaved more properly,” she added.
If that body isn’t Marcos’, where is it? Did the Marcos family actually comply with the condition set by President Fidel V. Ramos in 1993 that FM’s body should be brought immediately to Batac upon its return from Hawaii and buried privately? If so, where’s that body?
Whether FM’s body had already been buried in Batac or not, Mrs. Imelda Marcos and the rest of the Marcos family have been doggedly pursuing his burial at the Libingan. Popular opposition had prevented its realization so soon after EDSA 1.
That opposition seemed to have lost steam with the victory of Bongbong Marcos in the nationwide election for senator in 2010. His performance as governor and congressman might have overshadowed his family name. The fact remains that the popularity and acceptance of a Marcos after EDSA 1 had undeniably extended beyond Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley and Leyte.
Now, the very popular President Duterte is unbending in fulfilling his election promise to allow the burial of FM at the Libingan. He brushed aside debates on whether FM should be buried there or not.
But, will the glass-encased figure in Batac be the one that will be buried at the Libingan next month? This we got to see.