MANILA – Vice President Leni Robredo on Tuesday expressed dismay over the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Robredo, a former public interest lawyer, said that while Marcos’ burial at the heroes’ cemetery passed the legal technicality, it “can never be consistent with morality and the spirit of of the Filipino people power revolution.”
Robredo has consistently opposed Marcos’ burial at the heroes’ cemetery, saying that the Marcoses up to this day refuse to apologize for the atrocities committed by the late dictator during his two-decade reign.
“Their family’s refusal to take responsibility for atrocities of the regime is an insult to the Filipino people,” the vice-president said.
“Our nation’s healing begins with the acknowledgment of the truth and resolution of the past. To bury Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani would keep the wounds of the past unhealed.”
In its majority decision, the SC said President Rodrigo Duterte, who backs Marcos’ burial at the heroes’ cemetery, did not commit grave abuse of discretion.
It added, there is no law prohibiting the burial of Marcos' remains at the heroes' cemetery, and that Duterte has the power to reserve for public use and specific public purposes any of the lands under the public domain.
It also said that Marcos, under an Armed Forces of the Philippines regulation, is not disqualified from being buried at the cemetery; he possesses the qualifications to be buried at the cemetery, such as his role as president, commander-in-chief, a soldier, Medal of Valor awardee, legislator, and secretary of national defense.
Robredo defeated the late dictator’s only son and namesake in the 2016 vice-presidential race, preventing what could have been the biggest comeback of the Marcos family to the political scene following the strongman’s ouster in the 1986 EDSA revolution.
Duterte, whose father worked for the late president, had made the burial of Marcos at the heroes’ cemetery one of his campaign promises.
Duterte had argued that allowing the burial of the late president at the Libingan ng mga Bayani will finally heal old wounds.
He added that the issue of Marcos' burial had left Ilocanos alienated.
"What I must say now is we have alienated the entire, almost entire Ilocano people. We can not just do that because we are all Filipinos," he previously said.
With the SC finally settling the issue, the younger Marcos hopes that the nation will move “towards healing as we endeavor to move the country forward to give every Filipino a better life."
His sister, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, meanwhile, called for peace and forgiveness following the SC decision.
"'Wag na tayo mag-debate. Kung ano man ang ating galit, hinanakit sa inyong puso, let it go na po," Marcos' daughter said.
(Let's not debate about this anymore. Whatever hate, resentment you have in your heart, let it go.)
"Magpatawad na tayo, magkaisa na tayo, mag move on na ang Pilipinas," she added.
(Let us forgive, let us be united, let the Philippines move on.)