Senator Alan Peter Cayetano was President Rodrigo Duterte’s running mate in the May 9 elections, but it does not mean that they always agree with each other. One of their points of disagreement, according to the senator, is Duterte’s approval of the hero’s burial for the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
In an interview with Karen Davila on ANC’s Headstart, Cayetano appealed to the Marcoses to reconsider their request of having Marcos buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
“If sana hindi na lang sila tumatakbo, hindi na sila public officials, and then gusto nilang linisin yung pangalan nila, they want the honor na nasa Libingan ng mga Bayani, we would understand that,” the senator said.
He added that it should have been up to the Marcos family not to push for their patriarch’s burial at the hero’s cemetery.
“Ano ba naman yung pamilya nila yung magsabi na, ‘you know what, it’s so divisive. Thank you, President Duterte; sorry for putting this on your shoulders, sorry for putting this on the shoulder of past presidents. Dito na lang. Gagawa kami ng napaka-gandang libingan, isang area to honor the Marcos good deeds ditto sa Ilocos’,” Cayetano said.
He said that this would have ensured only those who really like Marcos would visit him in his resting place.
“Sa Libingan ng mga Bayani, you’ll have two groups going there – one group who likes him, the other group who wants to spit on their grave because may kamag-anak silang na-torture, missing, or biktima ng martial law,” he added.
After Duterte gave the confirmation to have Marcos buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, preparations are underway for what could possibly be the late strongman’s September burial. News reports said he would be given military honors.
As for the accusations of condoning historical revisionism, Cayetano came to Duterte’s defense, saying that the President may not have any intention to change history with his decision.
“At least dun sa mga biktima, ang dating sa kanila, hindi natin nilinis yung pangalan [ni Marcos]. I don’t think the president has any intention to make a historic judgment sa mga Marcoses. Ang sa kaniya lang, ano ba ang batas? Qualified ba siya? Bakit natin pinipigilan?” he said.
Cayetano agreed with how Duterte defended his decision by saying that he was only following the law, although lawyers like Mel Sta. Maria would beg to disagree.
“The president is absolutely correct that if you look at the law – at least, until now, wala pa naming nagfa-file na violation ‘to ng law – yung mga sundalo na nilibing doon, for as long as hindi ka discharged honorably or yung mga may problema,” he added.
“The spirit lang naman nung law is that pag nag-serve ka sa bansa mo, pwede kang ilibing doon. Kaya lang itinawag ‘bayani’ kasi nag-serve ka. Nung ginawa yung law, hindi naman natin na-predict na mayroong magiging pangulo na magiging despotic,” Cayetano explained.
Duterte reasoned that Marcos was a former president and a soldier so his remains deserved to be interred at the cemetery, although oppositions cited reports from the US army about Marcos’ war claims being fraudulent.
Duterte’s decision to allow a hero’s burial for Marcos was met with several oppositions, among which are from Vice President Leni Robredo and other government officials. Senators Kiko Pangilinan and Risa Hontiveros also have strong words against the burial. The martial law victims also fought to have their voices heard.
Sources: (news.abs-cbn.com, gmanetwork.com)