MANILA – A representative of former President Benigno Aquino III said the former president did his part on whether the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos should be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, contrary to claims that he did not.
Aquino categorically decided against the burial of Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery, said Atty. Abigail Valte, who served as Deputy Presidential spokesperson during Aquino's term.
This is reflected in his interview with the Associated Press last June 2011, when Aquino said on the late strongman's burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, "Not on my watch."
According to Joey Salgado, spokesperson of former Vice-President Jejomar Binay, Aquino did not act on Binay's recommendation to allow the burial of Marcos in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
"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," Salgado said.
READ: 'Aquino could have prevented hero's burial for Marcos'
However, the Ilocos burial was "swiftly disavowed" by the Marcos family, said Valte, when they reiterated their wish to have their patriarch laid to rest in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
"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," Valte said.
On Tuesday, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said that the previous administration could have passed a law preventing Marcos' burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. However, what matters are the victims of human rights violations during the Martial Law period.
"Long before the 'Yellow Administration,' mayroon nang desaparecidos," Lagman said.
This was supported by Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, who said that it is not a matter of pitching the Marcoses against the Aquinos, but "not forgetting the sins of the past."
Lagman and his colleagues filed on Monday a petition prohibiting Marcos' burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, on behalf of victims of enforced disappearances during Martial Law.
Other victims of human rights violations also filed a separate petition asking the Supreme Court to intervene in the matter.