Bongbong to Noynoy: Move forward, let Marcos rest at Libingan ng mga Bayani
JOHANNA CAMILLE SISANTE
As the nation celebrates the 24th anniversary of the 1986 EDSA People Power uprising, the son and namesake of the late strongman ousted by that revolt asked Senator Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III on Wednesday to reconsider his stand that he will not allow the late dictator’s remains to be laid to final rest at the Libingan ng mga Bayani if he gets elected president.
In a statement, Ilocos Norte Rep. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. asked Noynoy, a consistent leader in presidential preference surveys, not to make the elder Ferdinand Marcos’ burial a “personal” issue so “the nation can move forward.”
“My father is long dead. My only wish is that he will be given a decent burial,” said Bongbong, a senatorial candidate running with the Nacionalista Party (NP) ticket of Senator Manuel Villar Jr., who is Noynoy’s closest rival.
Noynoy’s father, the martyred senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., was Marcos’ political archrival. Noynoy’s mother Corazon took over the presidency in 1986 when the dictator was ousted in February 1986 by a popular uprising centered on the now-famous thoroughfare, EDSA.
On Tuesday, amid public reminiscences of the 1986 EDSA uprising, Noynoy maintained his opposition to Marcos’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City. [See: Noynoy’s camp says Marcos has no place among heroes]
Bongbong said: “I just hope that Noynoy will remove anger from his heart. We need genuine reconciliation so the nation can move forward. Huwag na niya kaming personalin (He shouldn’t take this personally against us).”
The Ilocos congressman said his father, a soldier in World War II, deserves to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Cemetery of Heroes), which was established as the final resting place of distinguished Filipino soldiers and veterans, as well as heroes and martyrs. Two Philippine presidents are buried there.
Noynoy’s camp, however, said “genuine reconciliation” could only be achieved if the Marcos family owns up to the abuses committed during the late dictator’s two-decade rule.
“Have they at any instance admitted their wrongdoing or asked forgiveness from the Filipino people? If they want genuine reconciliation, where is the ‘I am sorry’ spiel?” said Edwin Lacierda, Noynoy’s spokesperson, in a text message to GMANews.TV.
“If they continue to be in denial, how could the Marcoses ask for reconciliation? We cannot let the Filipino people forget the excesses of the Marcos dictatorship!” Lacierda said.
Marcos declared martial law in September 1972, invoking the need to quell rebellion and “save the Republic” as well as to “reform society.”
Ruling by decree as commander in chief of the Armed Forces, he curtailed press freedom and other civil liberties, closed down Congress and independent media firms, and ordered the arrest of opposition leaders and militant activists, including Ninoy, his staunchest critic.
Three years after he was ousted, Marcos died in exile in Hawaii at age 72, due to complications from kidney ailments often associated with lupus erythematosus. His body was refused entry to the Philippines, so his wife Imelda kept him in a refrigerated mausoleum in Oahu.
Years after his death, the Philippine government allowed Marcos’ remains to return to his homeland, but blocked his burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. His body is now in a refrigerated crypt in the Marcos family mausoleum in the village cemetery in Batac, Ilocos Norte province.—JV, GMANews.TV