Aquino sat on Binay proposal to bury Marcos in Ilocos
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The camp of former Vice President Jejomar Binay said former president Benigno Aquino III “missed an opportunity” in 2011 to end the issue of where to bury the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos during his watch.
“The Aquino administration missed an opportunity to lay the Marcos burial issue to rest when it did not act on former VP Binay's recommendation made as early as 2011 to allow the burial of Marcos in Batac, Ilocos Norte,” said Binay spokesperson Joey Salgado on Tuesday, August 16.
In April 2011, Aquino tasked Binay to study whether or not Marcos’ remains should be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Salgado explained that the Office of the Vice President at the time solicited comments from various political parties, sectors, organizations, and the public regarding the issue. They received about 3,000 responses through text messages, e-mails, and letters.
Two months later, Binay recommended that Aquino allow Marcos’ burial with full military honors in Batac, Ilocos Norte, the former president's hometown. This was approved by the Marcos family, who considers Ilocos as their bailiwick.
“However, Aquino did not act on the recommendation. That's why the nation is once again torn by debates over a contentious issue that could have been buried a long time ago,” said Salgado.
The statement from the Binay camp comes after the government announced its plans to transfer Marcos’ remains from Ilocos to the Libingan ng mga Bayani in September.
Some lawmakers, organizations, and victims of Martial Law and their relatives have since protested against this, saying Marcos does not deserve a hero’s burial because of the killings, torture, disappearances, and media oppression that occurred during his term.
Martial Law victims as well as lawmakers together with the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance have filed two separate petitions urging the Supreme Court to stop Marcos’ burial.
Binay in favor of hero's burial for Marcos
Binay, however, is in favor of burying Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Only he and President Rodrigo Duterte said during the “yes or no” portion of the second presidential debate in Cebu that they are in favor of giving Marcos a hero’s burial.
During a sortie in Tacloban City days after the debate, Binay reiterated his recommendation that Aquino rejected explaining his stand.
“Kinausap ko si Imee [Marcos] nung nasa Cebu ako. [Tanong ko], ‘Paano ba natin mare-resolve ito?’ Nagkasundo kami na ilibing sa Batac pero in full military honors,” said Binay.
(I talked to Imee Marcos when I was in Cebu. I asked her, ‘How can we resolve this?’ We agreed for a burial in Batac with full military honors.)
He added that Marcos, who ruled the country with an iron first for 21 years, should at least be given a proper burial because he was former president and commander-in-chief.
The late strongman’s son, former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, was Binay’s first choice as his running mate for the 2016 polls. The younger Marcos declined Binay’s offer and instead became the vice presidential bet of ex-senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
All 3 candidates were beaten in the elections.
In a statement on Wednesday, Aquino's former deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte countered Salgado's claim.
"Consistent with PNoy's (Aquino) stand during the campaign, he reiterated his objection to the proposal, as quoted in an interview with the Associated Press last June 2011: 'Not on my watch.' That is as categorical as one can get," said Valte.
Valte also quoted from Binay's letter on Marcos' burial to Aquino dated May 27, 2011.
"The so-called agreement between the Marcoses and VP Binay to the burial 'in
a site of their choice in the province of Ilocos Norte" was swiftly
disavowed by former Senator Bongbong Marcos, who reiterated their wish to
have the dictator Marcos buried in LNMB (Libingan ng mga Bayani). The issue reached an impasse at this juncture. Salgado can clarify this matter with the younger Marcos, should he wish," said Valte.
"Furthermore, assuming for the sake of argument that an agreement had truly
been reached between VP Binay and the Marcoses to bury the remains in a
site of the family's choosing in Ilocos Norte, would such burial still
require presidential action? It does not," she added. – Rappler.com