“The rule of law prevailed over partisan emotions,” House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said in favor of the Supreme Court (SC) ruling allowing a Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig.
However, the SC decision gave rise to mixed emotions in Congress, even causing dismay in some lawmakers known to be pro-Duterte administration.
“Marcos remains no hero: history cannot be distorted by this SC ruling,” Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said. Zarate is a member of the Maka-bayan bloc which is known to be allied with the Duterte administration. “He remains to be one of the world’s worst dictators, tyrant, plunderer and human rights violator,” Zarate further said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Hindi kayang burahin ng ilang pahinang desisyon ang madilim na alaala ng marahas na diktaturya noong kapanahunan ni [Marcos],” Deputy Speaker Miro Quimbo, for his part, said. He is a member of the majority bloc.
Quimbo labeled the SC decision “disappointing” and said Marcos would never go down in history as a hero regardless of how many times he is buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, Congress minority group leader, wondered how the SC could approve a hero’s burial for a man “judicially and historically confirmed (a) despot, plunderer and transgressor of human rights,” he said.
“A high sense of patriotism and the common standards of reason and logic bar the interment of Marcos in the Cemetery of Heroes,” he added.
Lagman’s brother, Hermon, disappeared during the martial law years due to his political activism. Lagman and Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin said motions for reconsideration (MR) are being prepared to reverse the decision.
Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, on the other hand, said he is taking a leave from Congress “as a day of mourning,” after which he would resume fighting for the victims of human rights abuses and corruption that happened during the Marcos regime.
“Despite the SC’s decision, we must continue to explain to Filipinos especially the young why we shouldn’t allow the loss of freedoms to happen again,” the Ifugao representative said.
President Ferdinand E. Marcos (or Ferdinand Emmanuel Edralin Marcos, Sr.) became Philippine president in 1965 and later declared martial law over the entire country in 1972 to “save the republic and form a new society,” he said.
During the martial law years, many opposition politicians and popular figures were imprisoned (including Nino Aquino). Some activists were allegedly summarily killed, while others disappeared without a trace.
The Marcos regime was ousted in 1986 by a so-called people-power revolution which installed the Cory Aquino administration. Marcos and his family were deported to Hawaii. In the morning of September 28, 1989, he died of kidney, heart, and lung ailments. His body was brought back to the country during the presidency of Fidel V. Ramos but on the condition that it be kept in Laoag, Ilocos Norte. It remained there for some 27 years.
Recently, the SC voted 9-5 in favor of a Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, a move backed by the nod of President Rodrigo Duterte. During his campaign in the presidential race this year, he talked about allowing the said burial.