By Alexis Romero | The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay insisted yesterday that the Marcos family had agreed to have the late strongman buried in his hometown in Ilocos Norte, although a final decision would have to come from Malacañang.
Binay, tasked by President Aquino to study the proposal to give the late President Ferdinand Marcos a hero’s burial, clarified that Marcos’ son and namesake Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was “also correct” when he claimed that nothing had been agreed yet.
“What I stated is, there has been an agreement on the place of burial. Sen. Marcos’ statement was also correct, but there was no decision yet (from Malacañang). There’s noting to offer yet,” Binay said. “There is no final decision yet.”
Binay declined to name the members of the Marcos family he had spoken with, saying the issue might stir further controversy.
“The offer will come when the President issues (a decision),” he said. “Hopefully very soon, a decision would be released.”
Binay told reporters in Laoag last Tuesday that the Marcos family had already agreed to bury the late dictator’s remains in Ilocos Norte.
The younger Marcos rebuffed Binay’s statement but stated his family is open to an interment with full state and military honors.
Earlier, Binay recommended that Marcos be interred in his native Ilocos Norte with full military honors, effectively rejecting an appeal to bury the late dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Proposals to bury Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani were revived after former military chief Angelo Reyes, who killed himself after being grilled by senators for alleged corruption, was allowed a hero’s burial at the Libingan.
It was Rep. Salvador Escudero III, who was Marcos’ agriculture secretary, who renewed proposals to have Marcos buried at the Libingan.
Marcos supporters insisted the late president deserves a hero’s burial because he had served the country valiantly during World War II and had never been tried for any crimes.
Marcos’ remains are encased - and open to public viewing - in a glass coffin in the family mausoleum in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
Human rights advocates and martial law victims, however, rejected a hero’s burial for Marcos, saying this would send a wrong signal to younger generations.
Marcos claimed to have received around 300 war medals, including the US Congressional Medal of Honor. But the claim was questioned in a series of articles published by the We Forum newspaper in 1982.
Marcos was ousted during the 1986 Edsa revolution and was succeeded by Aquino’s mother Corazon.
The late dictator died of kidney, heart and lung ailments in 1989 while in exile in Honolulu, Hawaii. His remains were returned to the Philippines in 1993.
Marcos’ widow Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Romualdez-Marcos, for her part, said yesterday that she would not accept burial with military honors for her late husband, to show that “the decision about Ferdinand’s burial is not a political decision.”
“It cannot and should not depend on surveys, or on any so-called Solomonic approach,” she said in a statement.
She said President Aquino himself has stated his being biased on the issue, which prompted him to toss the issue to Binay.
She said before Binay could submit his report, the President told a foreign news agency that a hero’s burial for the late president would not happen under his watch.
“That made it clear that President Marcos would not get the honor he rightfully deserves no matter what Vice President Binay’s survey shows,” she added.
She claimed that the persecution of the Marcoses, “living and dead, continues, from the time of the first Aquino as the revolutionary president, up to the present.”
She added that the Marcos family and supporters would eventually find a “truly honorable and sacred resting place” for him.