The Philippine Star - Bongbong on FM burial: It's time to move on

18 October 2011

By Marvin Sy | The Philippine Star

Featured-Image-Philippine-StarMANILA, Philippines - After voicing his frustration over President Aquino’s final rejection of a hero’s burial for his father, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he has now put the issue behind him but insisted his father’s successor and the current administration have as much to answer for regarding human rights.

In his response to questions on the issue in social networking sites Twitter and Facebook, Marcos yesterday said it’s now time to move on since there’s no indication the President would change his mind.

Marcos said that the matter was “already decided on when the President made the announcement to the foreign media even before telling his own people, informing our family, and his VP (vice president) to whom he entrusted the task of conducting consultations and deciding on the issue.

“The report of his VP (Jejomar Binay), as we now know, has been relegated to the trash bin. So, to answer your question, yes we take that as final and will not appeal it,” Marcos said.

Marcos also took a jab at presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda for singling out his father on human rights cases when Aquino’s own mother, former President Corazon Aquino, also had her share of human rights issues.

“Does Mr. Lacierda have any inkling of the gravity of human rights violations during Cory’s term?” Marcos asked. “Is he aware of Cory’s request to the US government to bomb the airbase controlled by RAM soldiers during the attempted coup where Filipinos would have certainly been killed by American fire upon Cory’s request and according to US Vice President (Dick) Cheney, had warned the Americans that she would publicly deny having made the request?”

Marcos pointed out that this was confirmed by three separate sources – Cheney, another former vice president, Dan Quayle and former secretary of state Colin Powell in separate books that they wrote.

“Of course there’s the Hacienda Luisita massacre, and the Mendiola massacre. The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, at the time the country’s leading human-rights group, recorded more than 1.2 million victims of dislocations due to military operations, 135 cases of massacres, 1,064 victims of summary executions, and 20,523 victims of illegal arrest and detention all during Cory’s time,” Marcos said.

He also noted that former president Aquino also released the political prisoners held during the administration of her predecessor and granted amnesty to perpetrators of human rights violations.

“Mr. Lacierda would be doing this country a favor by suggesting who he thinks should be apologizing to and compensating the human rights victims during Cory’s regime. We suggest Mr. Lacierda work on this ASAP so these victims and their families will find their own closure as well as be adequately compensated,” Marcos said.

“For an administration callously refusing to apologize to the families of the dead due to the embarrassingly botched, slipshod, and bungled rescue operations in the Luneta hostage crisis, they are quick to ask others to make an apology even from those that have already died without a single conviction of human rights violation whether as mastermind, implementor, or executioner. We hope Mr. Lacierda takes this to task,” he added, referring to the hostage crisis in Luneta in 2010 that left several Hong Kong and Chinese tourists dead after a botched rescue operation.

Marcos said it’s now time to focus on other matters like working for more financial support for local government units.

Lacierda, in reaction, said Marcos was trying to divert the attention of the people from the atrocities during the Marcos regime.

He also defended Aquino’s mother, the late President Corazon Aquino, from Marcos’ accusations, noting that being the widow of a martyred opposition figure, it was “very clear” that the first Aquino administration had “no state policy on the oppression of human rights.”

For Marcos loyalist lawyer Oliver Lozano, Aquino’s denial of a hero’s burial to the late strongman is an impeachable offense.

“Denying a state funeral for a former head of state is a violation of the equal rights protection under the Bills of Rights, it’s tantamount to betrayal of public trust which is a ground for impeachment,” Lozano said.

Lozano said even the Armed Forces of the Philippines has already officially recognized Marcos as a decorated war veteran and former commander-in-chief. – With Delon Porcalla, Paolo Romero, Helen Flores, Alexis Romero, Perseus Echeminada