Marcos family shoulders cost of ex-president’s burial

Carmela Fonbuena
Next step: the Philippine Army will meet with the Marcoses to discuss the date of burial, plans for the burial site, and details of the burial ceremony, among others

THE PLOT. File photo taken on November 1, 2016 shows dried leaves scattered all over the area allocated for Marcos' remains. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The heirs of former President Ferdinand Marcos are taking over the extra expenses for their father’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) as their plans have exceed the military’s budget.

The military’s allocation covers, among other things, the deployment of brigade for the arrival honors. It is not unusual for the families of late presidents to shoulder costs outside of the Army’s regular burial procedures.

Philippine Army spokesperson Benjamin Hao, also the protocol officer for Marcos’ burial, said the Marcoses made that offer as early as August. At the time, the Army had started preparations based on an order issued by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who followed verbal orders from President Rodrigo Duterte. (READ: Who can be buried at the Heroe’s Cemetery? AFP explains rules)

Hao said the Marcoses “hired a private company to fix the gravesite area,” but work was not finished because the Supreme Court (SC) issued a status quo order on the burial. All work had since been halted.

Following the SC’s decision on Tuesday, November 8, to allow Marcos’ burial at heroes’ cemetery, Hao said the Army would resume preparations as soon as its general headquarters relays an official order.

Voting 9-5-1, the High Court on Tuesday, November 8, cleared all legal obstacles to the burial of the late dictator at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani (LNMB). (READ: Supreme Court allows hero’s burial for Marcos)

The ruling ends a deeply divisive issue that lingered for decades. After ruling the country for 21 years, Marcos was ousted in the bloodless 1986 “People Power” revolution. 

When orders are issued, Hao said, the next step will be to meet the Marcos family to discuss the date of burial, plans for the burial site, and details of the burial ceremony, among others. 

‘As soon as possible’

Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, daughter of the late president, said in an interview shortly after the SC ruling was reported, that they had not decided on the date of the burial, but they want to do it as soon as possible. 

Were it not for the two extensions of the status quo ante order of the SC on the cases, President Duterte would have agreed to hold the burial on what would have been Marcos’ 99th birthday last September 11.

“I don’t mind as long as it’s the appropriate time to bury him,” Duterte, as president-elect, said in late May.  

Imee Marcos said the family has yet to meet with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.  

Where Marcos will be buried

Hao said the Army will replicate preparations during the burial of former President Elpido Quirino, whose remains were transfered to the heroes’ cemetery in February 2016.

Marcos will be buried at Section A, the location exclusively allocated for presidents who also served as commanders in chief of the military. 

Presidents are allocated a total of 1,513 square meter lot, although the grave should only occupy 100 square meters.

The cemetery is located inside Fort Bonifacio, the army headquarters, in Taguig City. 

Marcos will be given military honors, among them the following:

  • Arrival honors by a brigade size unit and a 21-gun-salute when the funeral cortege arrives at the Libingan ng mga Bayani
  • Funeral march, about 500 meters, going to the burial site. The AFP chief will give the Philippine flag to the family
  • Volleys of fire during the program proper at the burial site, where speeches will also be delivered 

Meanwhile, the police gave assurances that they will be ready to secure the burial. 

“The Southern Police District  has long been preparing, meeting, and finalized comprehensive security plan for Marcos internment. It includes rerouting, checkpoints, civil disturbance management, training on human rights, and police operational procedure,” said SPD director Senior Superintendent Tomas Apolinario Jr.