MANILA, Philippines – Giving the late former President Ferdinand Marcos a hero’s burial is an insult to human rights victims, Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Etta Rosales said Saturday.
Rosales, a martial law victim herself, said she was shocked when she heard reports that Vice President Jejomar Binay recommended that the late dictator be buried with full military honors in his home province of Ilocos Norte and not at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Rosales told ANC on Saturday that burying Marcos in Ilocos is “a beautiful gesture,” but to be buried with full military honors is a different story.
“It’s an insult to the people who fought hard to end dictatorship and to be able to restore democracy,” she said.
Rosales further said that Marcos “used the military in order to protect himself against thousands of people from all walks of life [who wanted] to restore democracy against dictatorial rule.”
“He actually corrupted the military. The problems that we have with the military now date back to the time of Marcos when he had to corrupt them in order to get their loyalty. Not only that. Isn’t it a fact that he was a plunderer? He stole the wealth of the nation. And now we give him full military honors? Is that honorable?” Rosales said.
Rosales said she plans to write a letter to President Benigno Aquino III to fully express her sentiment.
She also hopes Binay and Aquino will heed her call to block the reported recommendation, noting that the Vice President worked as a lawyer for human rights victims.
Aquino, meanwhile, is the son of Marcos' archrival, former Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr, who was assassinated upon his return from exile in the United States in 1983.
“If you’re going to give him full military honors, you insult the martyrdom of former Senator Benigno Aquino. If you do that, you insult the struggle and leadership of the late Corazon Aquino, who symbolized human rights and democratic rule,” added Rosales.
Rosales said she understands that the final decision rests on the President.
“Very simply [the President] said to the Filipino people, ‘Kayo ang boss ko.’ At ‘ang landas natin ay dapat matuwid kung gusto natin ng pagbabago.’ Ang landas na iyan ay dapat naka-ankla sa karapatang pantao,” she said.