OPINION: Who or what is Duterte honoring with a hero’s burial?

Buddy Gomez

Posted at Aug 19 2016 12:45 AM

The waxen mannequin of the deposed dictator, President Ferdinand E. Marcos, still on display in a glass case at his memorial Museum in Batac, Ilocos Norte, is exactly that. A dummy made of paraffin. 

As we all know now, it is President Duterte’s wish to have the remains buried with honors at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Cemetery for Heroes). Perhaps, it is the President’s compliant gesture over a campaign promise to Imelda, merriest of pixilated widows or a matter of settling an electoral quid pro quo between them. Or even simply, a President’s laudatory offering to his fallen idol! 

This ensuing needless imbroglio churned by no less than the President has so raised the national hackles that it will now take the Supreme Court to bring calm to a nation so disconcerted.

That dolled-up mannequin is a robust, healthy, rouged, well-coiffed and handsome representation. It is a product of a mortician’s high quality craftsmanship. The subject certainly could never have looked any better in real life. But let’s face it, such artificial facial enhancement is a form of cheating too, don’t you agree? So what else is new with “Ferdie?” You are allowed to say…..”even in death!"

READ: The long burying of Marcos. Here we go again

Later in life, Marcos was really already a physically deteriorated human being, languishing in his months-long hospital confinement at the St. Francis Hospital in Honolulu, periodically shuttling back and forth between his hospital room and the intensive care unit during near death episodes and false alarms, staged or otherwise. 

A notable part of the Marcos family spiel was, as anchor of the campaign to be allowed to return to the Philippines, that he was dying. As early as the fall of 1986. And, of course, the punchline was an ardent desire to die in the bosom of his Motherland! 

The hospital records, up to the time of his death on September 28, 1989, indicated that this patient’s name was “Antonio Bundoc.” Why on earth would they devise such a scenario is beyond sense. 

Honolulu media was anyway awash almost daily with reportage on Marcos’ medical condition. The name “Antonio Bundoc” was once mentioned as an oddity and let alone as such. During one occasion, with Imelda Marcos even riding on the same ambulance that took Marcos to St. Francis, but not before alerting the TV stations and a friendly journalist from the Honolulu Star Bulletin, to record the event. And beamed to Manila where anxious ‘loyalists’ were ever eager to receive and react to, news from Hawaii. An orchestration!

Only Imelda and her children, for sure, would know what lies underneath that cosmetically wrapped “corpus,” whether it is really her husband’s shriveled and dessicated remains, or a papier-mache doll, formed with chicken wire inside! Only Imelda and her children know where the mortal remains are truly interred, if indeed it was no longer inside that mannequin..

Why do I say this? Because at the time of his death, Marcos was no longer the virile looking lothario that he always comported and projected himself to be. There was a marked incremental deterioration from the time he landed at Hickham Air Base to the various public appearances that were recorded. 

About the time of his death, Marcos was emaciated and weighed less than a hundred pounds. His medical records even included an entry that read like “testicular atrophy.” (Would that physical deterioration pass for karmic denouement to a life of celebrated philandering?) And Marcos had lost much of his hair. He was almost completely bald. The man lost his pompadour, once proudly propped with “Tancho Tique” pomade!

When his 4-year-old cadaver was exhumed from its earlier burial plot at Honolulu’s Valley of the Temples Memorial Park in preparation for repatriation to his home province in Ilocos Norte, some video footage was taken. The cadaver showed evidence of inadequate embalming. And perhaps, even mishandling. Marcos had on an ill-fitting wig which had to be repositioned when the open coffin was jarred by clumsy coffin bearers while lifting the same from its hole in the ground. It showed a death face already shrunken. 

As I said, the Marcos mummy is a much beautified likeness. But, alas, it was no longer the Ferdinand E. Marcos we were familiar with!

The foregoing is of course trivia. Nonetheless, recalling at this time is apropos and timely. And why does your friendly “wise guy” sound so authoritative? 

You see, from the very beginning of the Marcos exile in Hawaii until his demise in 1989, it was my duty and responsibility to watch over Ferdinand E. Marcos, et al (from a safe distance) and report to the government and people of the Philippines through President Cory Aquino. 24/7 was my vigil. Proudly and courageously, I served as our Republic’s Consul General to Hawaii during the epoch we speak of.

What we are witnessing today, incredibly initiated and contentiously promoted by the country’s incumbent president and now even elevated to the Supreme Court for resolution is best described as an exercise in necropolitics. 

Necropolitics in its maddened magnitude. Thank you, President Duterte. Thank you, Imelda.

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.