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A Libingan ng mga Bayani Burial: Is Slyness a Marcos Family Trait?

A possible burial site for Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Photo: c/o Bawat Bato and Interaksyon

he Philippines' octogenarian ex-president, Fidel V. Ramos seems to have spilled the beans on whether another former president/dictator, Ferdinand Marcos should be allowed to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (heroes cemetery) in Fort Bonifacio.

Ramos recalled that he was president in 1992 when members of the Marcos family negotiated with the Philippine government to allow the remains of the late dictator, who had passed away in September, 1989, to be flown back to the Philippines for burial. Ramos further noted that with the abuses of Martial Law still fresh in the minds of Filipinos at the time, his government agreed to the repatriation of the Marcos remains as long as the Marcos clan agreed to four binding conditions: First—that the dictator's remains be flown straight from Hawaii to his hometown of Paoay, Ilocos Norte; Second—that Marcos be allowed military honors befitting a soldier with a rank of Major, which was the highest rank he had officially attained; Third—that the Marcos remains not be paraded in Metro Manila; And fourth, that Marcos be buried in Ilocos Norte.

According to Ramos, "those were the conditions we signed ... I think the agreement is still in the archives of Malacañang. So if you wish to get a copy of the agreement that was signed between me and Former Congressman Roquito Ablan Jr., please go ahead and secure a copy from Malacañang, " he added.

If that is indeed the case, aren't the Marcos heirs obligated to keep their side of the bargain? It is almost inconceivable that the Marcoses were unaware of this agreement. After all, it was because of it that the Marcos remains were allowed to be repatriated in 1992. The fact that it was not made public has given the Marcoses an opening to pull a fast one over the Filipino people and get their infamous patriarch buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

The agreement between the government and the Marcos family, signed by Ramos and Ablan twenty-four years ago is still legally binding today.

Detractors of the late strongman however, point to his penchant for bending the rules, and stretching the truth whenever it would be to his benefit. Now it appears that the other members of the Marcos clan are just as wily and duplicitous. Despite a signed agreement that forbids it, the clan has been pushing for a Marcos burial in the hallowed grounds of the Libingan cemetery.

Now, it should just be a simple matter for Malacañang staff  members to unearth that 1992 agreement and put an end to the Marcos clan's plan.  But let's not forget, this is the Philippines, where documents—even people—can magically vanish into this air. Marcos spokespeople might say that the agreement exists only in the mind of an 88-year-old ex-president who might be in the early stages of senility. Then, Marcos spinmeisters will come crawling out of the woodwork to completely obfuscate the truth so that "Juan dela Cruz" would be unable to even tell which side is up, and which side is down. Welcome to the country the Marcoses continue to destroy. Published 8/16/2016

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