By MB Online, Genalyn Kabiling, Hannah Torregoza and Betheena Kae Unite
The family of former president Ferdinand Marcos will have to decide on the funeral for the late leader at the Libingan ng mga Bayani after the Supreme Court dismissed the petitions against the burial, a decision that triggering mixed reactions.
Ilocos Norte governor Imee Marcos, who was at the Supreme Court to join the Marcos supporters, said all they wanted is for her father to have a simple burial and not a state funeral.
“Nagpapasalamat ako sa inyong lahat, the long wait is finally over,” said Marcos, daughter of the late president.
Her brother, former senator Bongbong Marcos, is likewise grateful with the decision, and thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for his “unwavering commitment” to the issue.
“Our family will forever be thankful for his kind gesture. It is our sincerest hope that this will lead the nation towards healing as we endeavor to move the country forward to give every Filipino a better life,” he said.
Marcos, who is in Tacloban City for the third anniversary of Super Typhoon Yolanda, told reporters the family has yet to decide on the funeral.
He also respected the opponents’ decision to file a motion for reconsideration, but hoped for them to “go beyond their political concerns and see this as an important part of the healing process” in the country.
Vice President Leni Robredo, who is also in Tacloban and Marcos’ opponent in the 2016 vice presidential race, lamented the high court’s ruling.
Robredo said burying Marcos at the heroes’ sacred ground would “keep the wounds of the past unhealed.”
“It might pass the bar of legal technicality, but can never be consistent with morality and the spirit of the Filipino people power revolution. Our nation’s healing begins with the acknowledgement of the truth and resolution of the past,” the vice president said in a statement.
Senator Leila de Lima, a former human rights commissioner and one of the petitioners against the burial, denounced the ruling.
“I regret that the Filipino people will not only have suffered as a result of the rampant corruption that infected the bureaucracy during the Marcos regime the effects of which are still felt today, but will also suffer the indignity of being forced to support the burial of the former President on public land, with public funds and with the ironic label of hero.”
Teaching Martial Law truth
For Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, the ruling will make the Philippines “a laughing stock of the world.”
“We kicked out a reviled dictator and now we are honoring him by burying him in our national heroes cemetery. No less than our Supreme Court wants our citizens, our children to honor a plunderer and tyrant,” he disclosed.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros also said the decision “intends to effectively wipe the Marcos slate clean and negate the sacrifices of the thousands of brave souls who fought and suffered under the brutal Marcos dictatorship.”
While Sen. Bam Aquino slammed the decision to bury a “corrupt and ruthless dictator” at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, he said he respects the decision.
Aquino, nephew of democracy icon and Marcos’ political nemesis Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., vowed to work with the Department of Education “to ensure that the truth about martial law is effectively taught in our schools.”
The fight continues
Many representatives likewise condemned the high court’s decision, with Edcel Lagman and Neri Colmenares—both human rights victims during Martial Law and petitioners against the move—vowing to file motions for reconsideration.
“Dehado kami. The Marcos had always had the upper hand,” Colmenares said.
Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo, and Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez also expressed disappointment.
“The body may have been buried, but not the truth,” Villarin said. “It is for us to tell and for the future generations to judge. Hindi dito natatapos ang laban.”
Reparations not affected
The government, on the other hand, urged the public to respect the decision to kick-start a new beginning for the nation.
Solicitor general Jose Calida, the government’s lead counsel in defense of the burial, said the judicial imprimatur given by the court is “a major step towards national reconciliation.”
“It is a welcome development for the Filipino people who thirst for peace and change,” said Calida.
He likewise clarified that the monetary reparations of the human rights victims will not be affected by the decision, radio DZMM reported.
Chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said: “Hopefully, the decision will put to rest the opposition to the burial of Marcos. It’s about time the nation moves on and confront the more pressing concerns of the country rather than linger on an emotional issue that is unproductive as it is divisive.”
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella echoed the same senetiment, saying “we hope the matter will finally be laid to rest, and that the nation find the wherewithal to move forward and to continue forging a nation that is peaceable, just and fair to all.”
Senator Manny Pacquiao, fresh from his victorious fight in Las Vegas, Nevada, also urged the public to move on.
“And if we are claiming that we believe God, we should forgive others,” the champion senator said in an interview.