An ally of President Rodrigo Duterte told the Marcos family that burying former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani will not guarantee that either the late strongman or the country will be at peace.
AKO-Bicol Party-list Representative Rodel Batocabe pointed out that the matter has been divisive and that burying Marcos at the national memorial will expose the body to defilement by his critics.
"Sinabi na ni Presidente Duterte na pwede ilibing si Marcos sa Libingan because sa batas pwede yun. ‘Di lang pangulo nagsabi, pati Supreme Court nagsabi. Sila mismo nagsabi pwede ilibing si Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani, pero ilibing ba natin si Presidente marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani, matatahimik ang bayan? Hindi."
(President Duterte has said Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is permissible because the law states so. It was not only the president who said it, but the Supreme Court too. They both said that it's legal, but if we bury Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, will the country be at peace? No.)
"[Kung] nandoon ba si Presidente Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani, masisigurado ba natin ang seguridad ng ating dating pangulo? Hindi. Sino ba magbabantay? Baka mamaya may gawin diyan," he said.
(If Marcos is in Libingan ng mga Bayani, will we be assured of our former president's safety? No. Who will be guarding the place? People may do something on it.)
He then appealed to the family to "take the high moral ground" and not bury the late strongman at the heroes' cemetery.
“That’s why ito, appeal ko sa mga Marcos: take the high moral ground. Wag na ninyo ilibing. Heroes are not determined by where they are buried or by legislation or by decision of the Supreme Court. Heroes are determined by the collective will of the people," he said.
“Napaka-divisive ng issue. Mamaya may pwede ilibing sa Libingan ng mga Bayani, ayaw na rin niya ilibing dahil andoon si Marcos. ‘Di ba bumababa yung value ng Libingan ng mga Bayani?" he added.
(The issue is too divisive. Later on, there may be someone who may be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani but will refuse to do so because Marcos is there. The value of Libingan ng mga Bayani decreases, doesn't it?)
Batocabe suggested that the family create a memorial for heroes of Ilocos Norte, where their patriarch may instead be interred.
"Ilagay mo for example sa Laoag, Ilocos Norte, gawa tayo ng Libingan ng mga Bayani doon. Lahat ng bayaning Ilocano, lagay natin doon. Di mo na dapat lagay dito," he said.
(Put up, for example, in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, a heroes' cemetery. All Ilocano heroes, you bury there. You don't have to put them here.)
"Kawawa po si Pangulong Marcos. Matagal na namatay, di pa nalilibing. Pwede na malibing sa Libingan ng mga Bayani, di pa rin siya matatahimik. Mamaya pa, mawala pa ang kaniyang bangkay. Kawawa naman si Pangulong Marcos."
(President Marcos is pitiful. He's long dead, but is not buried. He was allowed to be buried at Libingan ng mga Bayani, but he won't find the quiet. Later on, his cadaver may be gone. Pity Marcos.)
Meanwhile, other Duterte allies warned the administration against belittling public outrage.
"Tingin ko dapat mag-ingat rin ang Duterte administration, lalo na sa pag pang-mamaliit sa lalim ng galit ng maraming Pilipino sa desisyon ng Malacañang na pahintulutan ang libing ni Marcos," said ACT Teachers party-list Representative Antonio Tinio.
(I think the Duterte administration should be careful especially in belittling the depth of the anger the people have on the decision of Malacañang to allow the Marcos burial.)
"Kung magtutuloy-tuloy ito, maaaring masaksihan natin ang unang malaking protesta kontra sa patakaran ng Duterte administration," he added.
(If this continues, we may see the first large-scale protest against a policy of the Duterte administration.)
Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate, for his part, rejected the non-apology made by Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, the former president's eldest daughter.
"Di yun ang hinhinging apologies ng victims of Martial Law. Hindi magkaakaroon ng tunay na reconciliation, di malilimutan kung di magkakaroon ng pag-amin ng kasalananan at remorse. Sa halip na -i-rehabilitate ang alaala, kailangan tuloy-tuloy na kundenahin ito dahil sa kanilang di pag-amin," he said.
(That was not the apology the victims of Martial Law were asking for. There wouldn't be real reconciliation, it will not be forgotten unless there is an admission of sin and remorse. Instead of rehabilitating the memories, their non-admission has to be continuously condemned.)
This argument is echoed by Anakpawis Representative Arnel Casilao who said: "Sabihin lang ni Imee, 'Sorry po, humihingi kami ng tawad sa mga namatay, nawala nung panahon ng Martial Law'—kahit di banggitin 'dahil sa kagagawan ng tatay ko'—it would be a historical recognition of the fact that many disappeared, were killed, arrested, as brought about by a policy system under the father's rule."
"Pero hindi eh. Naghahanap pa ng lusot to fall under a legal justification"
(If Imee would only say 'Sorry, we are asking for forgiveness from those who were killed, those who disappeared during Martial Law'—she need not include 'because of my father'—it would be a historical recognition of the fact that many who disappeared, killed, arrested, as brought about by a policy system under the father's rule"
But that's not what is happening. They were trying to find a leeway for it to fall under a legal justification.)