The remains of former President Elpidio Quirino were transferred to the Libingan ng mga Bayani from the Manila South Cemetery on Monday, his 60th death anniversary.
President Benigno Aquino III led the rites, which the Quirino family said was the culmination of a yearlong process.
The transfer and reinterment of Quirino’s remains came just a few days after the renewed chorus against the Marcos regime during the 30th anniversary celebration of Edsa 1 on Feb. 25. The Palace recently warned whomever would be elected president in May that a decision allowing the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos would not sit well with the people.
Four years ago, 193 members of the House of Representatives submitted a resolution calling on the President to allow the Libingan, but Mr. Aquino refused.
Palace spokesman Herminio Coloma said this was because the late President “never apologized for the violence and oppression that characterized martial law and the dictatorship.” This has been Mr. Aquino’s guiding principle, he said.
During his speech at the Edsa anniversary commemoration, Mr. Aquino singled out Senator and vice presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. —now already among those leading the surveys—and raised the specter of a return to authoritarian rule.
We can understand how the final resting place of a deceased figure would be so controversial especially when history is colored by contemporary politics. The Aquino administration has led the nation not in healing the wounds of the past of reconciling diverse interests, if it were at all possible, but in highlighting the supposed difference between the dark days and the enlightened times during which we now live.
This President’s tendency to exalt himself only through vilifying others has been its guiding principle from Day One. It has failed to inspire younger Filipinos to get to know what really happened before they were born, and look forward to ways in which people of various persuasions and orientations can work together despite their differences.
You can only love your country if you’re sporting the right political color. Six—or 16, or 60—years from now, this will never be a sound guiding principle.