By Gerry Baldo and Mario J. Mallari | The Daily Tribune
Former First Lady and incumbent Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos yesterday said former President Ferdinand Marcos is a hero who deserves to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Mrs. Marcos, reacting to news reports that her family had agreed to bury the former President in Ilocos Norte, said she and Vice President Jejomar Binay have not agreed on the burial site of the former President.
She said she and Binay, who went to Ilocos Norte a few days back, had talked about housing programs and not about the burial of the former President.
Vice President Binay yesterday maintained there is nothing definite about the controversial burial of the late President, stressing that his job on the issue is purely recommendatory and that Malacañang has the final say on the matter.
At a press conference in Camp Aguinaldo, Binay also insisted that the Marcos family already agreed to bury the former President in his home province of Ilocos Norte.
“My job there was recommendatory so…the final action will have to come from the Office of the President,” Binay said.
Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., earlier had said the family had yet to concur with the recommendation to bury his father in his home province.
“On the issue of the burial site, there was an agreement…Senator Marcos is also right that there was no decision…there is nothing yet to offer, I am just a recommendatory (official),” stressed Binay.
The Vice President also said that there are still some issues to be resolved before the final decision will be issued.
President Aquino has asked Binay to conduct a study on the controversial issue after clamor for the burial of the elder Marcos to the Libingan ng mga Bayani was revived earlier this year.
Among Binay’s recommendations was the burial of Marcos in his hometown of Batac with full military honors.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin agreed with the recommendation of Binay that the former President is entitled to full military honors and even burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, since the rules call for it.
“As per regulation, he (Marcos) is authorized full military honors,” said Gazmin.
Aside from serving as President, the elder Marcos also served in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) during the World War II. He claimed to be a recipient of various military medals, including the highest combat award of Medal for Valor.
Marcos died while in exile in Hawaii in 1989. His remains are now interred inside a family refrigirated mausoleum in Ilocos Norte.
Imelda said that she was surprised at the news that she had allegedly agreed for a burial in Ilocos Norte with military honors.
“Dogs have been buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Why not Marcos? He too, is a hero,” Imelda said.
During President Cory Aquino’s time, there were reports that she had ordered a burial and military honors at the Libingan ng mga Bayani for the security bomb-sniffing dogs of her then Presidential Security Group, said to have been a display of political vindictiveness against the Marcoses.
Imelda, in a statement, said they are being persecuted by the Aquinos.
“The persecution of all the Marcoses, living and dead, continues, from the time of the first Aquino as the revolutionary president, up to the present,” she said in a statement.
She pointed out that the former president had wanted to defend himself against all the 901 cases that have been filed against him but was not allowed by the Philippine government. She said that they have to run to the Supreme Court for them to be allowed to come home.
“The decision about Ferdinand’s burial is not a political decision. It cannot and should not depend on the surveys, or on any so-called Solomonic approach,” she said. She said that the Aquino government is not inclined to allow the burial of her husband at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
“President Noynoy Aquino told the Associated Press that the honorable burial of President Ferdinance Marcos will never happen under his watch, not while he is president,” Mrs. Marcos said.
“That made it clear that President Marcos would not get the honorable burial he rightfully deserves no matter what Vice president Binay’s survey shows.”
In a veiled warning, she said, that the Marcos family and the supporters of the former president will make sure that he is buried in “a truly honorable and scared resting place, at peace with his creator unto infinity.”