LIBERAL Party senators vowed to exhume the remains of former strongman President Ferdinand Marcos from the Libingan ng mga Bayani, where he was buried noon Friday after the Supreme Court cleared all the legal obstacles for his burial.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III announced as “lost” Senator Risa Hontiveros’ resolution objecting to the interment of Marcos at the heroes’ cemetery when only eight of 20 senators present on the Senate floor voted to support it.
Newly designated LP acting president Senator Francis Pangilinan, however, warned that Marcos might not remain buried at the heroes’ cemetary long.
“As long as there are people who stand firm on the abuses of the [Marcos] dictatorship, we will push that the Marcos remains be transferred,” Pangilinan vowed.
“If he is buried today, we will work tirelessly to undo this monumental injustice inflicted upon the tens of thousands of victims and upon the nation.”
He added: “They may have won this battle but the war is far from over.”
Pangilinan said the Duterte administration and the Marcos family reopened wounds caused by abuses, torture and killings under Marcos’ dictatorial rule.
He added that instead of bringing unity and healing, the burial would bring more conflict and divisiveness.
The Philippines, he said, would be the laughingstock of the world, because it buried an ousted dictator and a thief in the heroes’ cemetery.
Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon said the stealthy manner in which Marcos was buried was reminiscent of the dark days of Martial Law.
He said the atrocities perpetrated during Martial Law succeeded because citizens were kept in the dark.
“Marcos betrayed the country for decades; we should not allow him to continue to do so up to this day,” he added. “His burial is anything but noble. Even in death, he is a thief.”
Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV described as sinister the burial, which was done in secrecy.
“They remain deaf to the calls of the many Filipinos demanding justice for the abuses during the Marcos regime and remain numb to the pain of too many innocent victims of Martial Law,” Aquino said.
“This is now part of our history—from Marcos and his cronies’ grave abuses to the People Power Revolution, from his covert burial to today’s protests and cries against a hero’s burial for a Filipino dictator.”
Senator Risa Hontiveros said the “sneaky” burial branded the late strongman a thief until the very end.
Senator Francis Escudero, in a text message, said it was wrong for the Marcos family to clandestinely bury Marcos and said they should have been transparent about it.
He added that they should have waited for the decision of the Supreme Court to become final.
“This absence of respect for the Supreme Court and wanton disregard for the sentiments of some sectors, which transparency could have mitigated, will sadly just further fuel the protests and division of our country on this issue,” said Escudero. “What they did was wrong.”
However, a spokesman for the Supreme Court, Theodore Te, said there was no legal impediment to the burial.
While there is a 15-day period within which the petitioners can file their motion for reconsideration of the Court’s ruling that upheld President Duterte’s decision allowing the Marcos burial, this does not prohibit the Marcos family from proceeding with the burial.
“Even if there is a 15-day period, there was no order restraining the act,” Te said.
At a news conference in Quezon City, Pangilinan said the entire Liberal Party was completely against a hero’s burial for Marcos.
“Even the people are against it. I would like to echo Vice President Leni Robredo’s statement, the Marcoses were not only saddled with the issues of hidden wealth, but also with the issue of hidden burial,” he said.
“A hero is recognized with honors, and his burial is open to all to inspire people. But in this case, the burial was made secret to the public. It is embarrassing. As I said, we are a laughing stock in the whole world.”
He said the party will join street protests to “undo this injustice inflicted upon the victims of Martial Law and reverse the order” allowing the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Other anti-Marcos groups decried the “sneaky” burial.
Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said the secretive manner in which the burial was held speaks volumes of how far authorities are willing to go just to change the course of history.
“The sneaky burial of the late dictator—a plunderer, a human rights violator of the highest order—is a grave travesty against the Filipino people. This will not result in the healing of the nation, this secret burial will go down in history as one of the most traitorous moves meant to subvert the judgment of history,” Elago said.
“The deposed president is not worthy of emulation, much less the honor of being considered a hero. In the wake of his administration, he left the Philippines as a bankrupt, rotten killing field,” Elago said.
The youth group Anakbayan condemned Duterte for allowing the secret burial.
“Ill-gotten wealth, stolen power, stolen honor, stolen life. Even the burial of the dictator Marcos is stolen,” said Anakbayan Secretary General Einstein Recedes.
Protest were held Friday afternoon at the University of the Philippines Diliman and Manila, Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and University of Santo Tomas. The youth group vowed to hold more protests in the days to come and continue raising awareness on the crimes of the late dictator.
The Gabriela Women’s Party said the burial would not bring closure, but could be a new beginning of “a scary martial rule.”
The women’s party-list group joined Black Friday protests.
The militant farmers group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas condemned the burial, calling it a betrayal of the people.
“The entire nation is enraged at how the Marcoses, in connivance with the Duterte government, pursued the secretive, rushed burial amid broad multisectoral protests and opposition,” the group said. With Rey E. Requejo