Work resumes at Marcos gravesite in Heroes' Cemetery
MANILA, Philippines – Construction workers have returned to the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City to finish the gravesite of former president Ferdinand Marcos, according to the Army officer assigned to the burial.
Army Colonel Benjamin Hao said the workers returned on Wednesday, November 9, or a day after the Supreme Court junked petitions to stop the burial of the late dictator accused of widespread human rights violations and massive corruption during his 21-year rule of the Philippines.
The Marcos family has yet to coordinate with the military for the date of the burial and other preparations, however.
Security at the Libingan has been intensified, too, to prevent vandalism of the gravesite.
During the campaign trail, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he would allow Marcos' burial at the Heroes' Cemetery, a pronouncement that was met with protests especially from victims of Martial Law.
Duterte's defense secretary instructed the Army in August to begin preparations, although Marcos' heirs took over the work and expenses because their plans for the gravesite exceeded the military budget.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines may cover the expenses for a simple burial, based on military guidelines.
A private construction firm was hired to prepare the gravesite, but work was halted when the Supreme Court issued a status quo ante order to temporarily stop the burial pending the Court decision on the petitions against it.
After repeated delays, the High Court issued a ruling on Tuesday, November 8, to allow it.
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.
Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, daughter of the late president, has said the family only wants a "simple soldier's burial," but it is not clear what she meant.
The military preparations for the burial are suited for a former president. The gravesite is being constructed at a location at the Libingan ng mga Bayani that is exclusive to former presidents, who served as commanders-in-chief of the military.
The size of the plot is also suited for a former president, bigger than what soldiers buried there are given.
Based on preparations in August, the military will also give Marcos military honors, including the following:
- Arrival honors by a brigade size unit and a 21-gun salute when the funeral cortege arrives at the Libingan
- 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