By ELENA L. ABEN & FRANCIS T. WAKEFIELD
Malacañang said on Sunday that preparation for the burial of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig is now underway.
According to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO), the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) has been designated as the primary office responsible for the planning and preparations for this activity.
It added that PVAO, which supervises and administers the LNMB, shall closely coordinate with the Marcos family on the matter.
A memorandum concerning the burial of the late strongman was also issued by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana N. Lorenzana to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, Gen. Ricardo Visaya.
“In compliance to the verbal order of the President to implement his election campaign promise to have the remains of the later former President Ferdinand E. Marcos be interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, kindly undertake he necessary planning and preparations to facilitate the coordination of all agencies concerned specially the provisions for ceremonial and security requirements,” read the memorandum.
Lorenzana likewise ordered the AFP to coordinate closely with the Marcos family on the date of interment and the transport of the late former President’s remains from Ilocos Norte to the LNMB.
Col. Benjamin Hao, spokesman of the Philippine Army (PA), said yesterday that representatives of the Marcos family visited the Libingan ng mga Bayani last Friday to check on the possible area where the late remains of the late strongman will be buried.
“Actually, nandun sila sa site area, tinakpan pa nila iyung site area na preferred nila. Pero wala pang directive ha, that is just anticipation,” Hao said.
“Apparently there was an advance party anticipating.. the advance party from the Marcos family looking at preparing the site. Coordination was made,” he added.
Marcos ruled the country from 1965 to 1986. His more than 20-year reign ended through the so-called 1986 People Power Revolution.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte earlier reiterated that Marcos deserves to be buried at the LNMB considering that he was a former head of state and also a former soldier.
“I will allow the burial of Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani,” Duterte said in an press briefing at the headquarters of the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao in Panacan, Davao City early Sunday morning.
This as he explained that as stated under the law, Marcos is qualified to be buried at the LNMB.
The AFP had earlier said that LNMB serves as a tribute and resting place not just to for Filipino soldiers and war veterans, but also for citizens who are considered heroes and martyrs, as well as deceased presidents, dignitaries, national artists, scientists, and boy scouts.
“I said I will allow the burial because definitely he was a president and a soldier, alin diyan sa dalawa… he is qualified to buried be there,” Duterte said.
“Marcos was a President. As a matter of fact I voted for him during (his time) … My father was with him he was a cabinet member,” he stated.
Reminded about the groups opposing Marcos’ burial at LNMB, the President said: “Fine. Wala ako magagawa.”
He said that they can go ahead if they want to demonstrate because they have the right to air their grievances. “But that right is also subject to the rights of others,” Duterte said.
“Now you answer to the people, just maintain the traffic. I will give you one month. Enjoy your rights, you have it,” he stated.