September 28, 1989 marks the death anniversary of former President Marcos. There is still a clamor by loyalists to have him buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery). House Resolution No. 1135 was adopted by legislators from the House of Representatives in 2011, appealing to President Noynoy Aquino to have former President Marcos buried at said cemetery. This has also been echoed by his son and namesake Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
Legally, Marcos could be buried in this State Cemetery. Republic Act No. 289 entitled, “ An Act Providing for the Construction of a National Pantheon for Presidents of the Philippines, National Heroes and Patriots of the Country.” Section 1 of this law defines a National Pantheon as the burial place of the mortal remains of these groups of people. In the case of the Philippines, the Libingan ng mga Bayani serves as the National Pantheon or the State Cemetery of former Presidents and Heroes in the Philippines. This burial site is located in Makati City Metro Manila, near posh subdivisions of Forbes Park, and McKinley Hill and the Bonifacio Global City.
But many sectors have opposed Marcos burial there. Among them is Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Chairperson of the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) or the Organization of Ex-detainees Against Illegal Detention and Arrest. This organization is composed of Martial Law victims of human rights violations, summary executions, enforced disappearances, torture, illegal arrests and detention, hamletting and forced evacuation. Interring Marcos’ remains at the State Cemetery is tantamount to glorifying the memory of a dictator.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) is also another sector opposed to Marcos’ burial at the the State Cemetery. According to Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, Chairman of the CBCP Permanent Committee on Public Affairs, Marcos was not qualified to be interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani because he never lived a heroic life. Marcos’ 20-year rule, where more than half of it was under Martial Law, was riddled with corruption and human rights violations.
Even the Makati Business Club opposes the burial of Marcos’ at the State Cemetery. There were questions about origins of his medals and awards received while he was a soldier. He brought suffering upon his compatriots and brought his country to ruin, which is the opposite of what heroes accomplish in their lifetime.
For now, the former President’s remains will have to stay at the Marcos Mausoleum in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
1. Republic Act No. 289
Official Gazette volume 44, number 12, page 4738
(Issue Date: December 1948)
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