MANILA, Philippines – Hundreds of supporters flocked around Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos at the gates of the Supreme Court (SC), where she was all smiles as the justices allowed a hero's burial for her late father, former president Ferdinand Marcos.
"It's a state burial and we're delighted. It's been 27 years na. Napakahaba na ng panahon. Sa wakas, [naisakatuparan] na ang karapatan ng tatay ko na mailibing," said Imee minutes after news broke on Tuesday, November 8, that her father's interment at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is a go.
(It's a state burial and we're delighted. It's been 27 years. That's a long time. Finally, my father's right to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani has been fulfilled.)
Associate Justices Arturo Brion, Presbitero Velasco Jr, Diosdado Peralta, Lucas Bersamin, Mariano del Castillo, Jose Perez, Teresita de Castro, Jose Mendoza, and Estela Perlas-Bernabe voted in favor of giving Marcos a hero's burial.
Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, together with Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and Associate Justices Marvic Leonen, Francis Jardeleza, and Alfredo Benjamin Caguioa dissented.
"Maraming salamat sa ating Korte Suprema. Malaking bagay din ito sa ating bagong Pangulo na nanawagan para sa paghihilom at pagkakaisa ng bansa. Kung kaya nating kausapin ang ating kapatid na mga Muslim, kaya nating kausapin ang mga dating NPA (New People's Army) at CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines), kaya rin naman sigurong pagbigyan ang mga Ilocano at lahat ng loyalista sa Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog, Region 8, Tacloban, sa lahat sa amin na nagmamalasakit sa aming pamilya," said Imee.
(Thank you to the Supreme Court. This is a big thing for our new President who called for healing and national unity. If we can talk to our Muslim brothers and former members of the NPA and CPP, then we can give way to Ilocanos and all the Marcos loyalists in Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog, Region 8, Tacloban, and all those who support my family.)
Her brother, former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr, also thanked the SC justices and said he hopes the ruling would lead to national "healing."
No less than President Rodrigo Duterte himself promised during the campaign period to have Marcos buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Citing the state-sanctioned human rights violations during the Marcos regime, activists and Martial Law victims opposed the move and filed several petitions before the SC.
While the magistrates extended the deliberation time twice, they ultimately decided in favor of the Marcoses.
Does the family feel vindicated?
"Matagal ko nang nakalimutan 'yang mga alitan na 'yan eh! Tuloy-tuloy lang! Gano'n lang naman kami eh, tuloy-tuloy lang lagi," said Imee.
(I have long forgotten all the debates about that. We just keep on going. That's how we do it, we keep on going.)
She said that she has yet to speak with her mother, Ilocos Norte 2nd District Representative Imelda Marcos, and her siblings on continuing the plans for the transfer of Marcos' remains from Ilocos. But she hopes that her father would be buried at the soonest possible time.
"Siyempre, kasi simple lang naman eh. Soldier's burial lang naman 'yan eh. Wala namang bonggang-bongga," said Imee.
(Of course, since it would be a simple. It's just a soldier's burial. It's nothing fancy.)
Imee to critics: 'Let it go'
As Marcos loyalists rejoiced around her, the anti-Marcos protesters across the road were quiet and visibly upset with the ruling.
Imee urged her father's critics to respect the SC ruling.
"Sa akin kasi, galangin natin at tumalima tayo sa hatol ng ating Korte Suprema. Mangibabaw ang batas bago ang lahat. At kung anuman ang ating sama ng loob, puwede tayong mag-debate hanggang kingdom come. Para sa akin, ang tatay ko ang pinaka-the best. Siyempre ako 'yung anak," said Imee.
(For me, let's respect and follow the ruling of the Supreme Court. Let the law prevail. If you have any grudges, we can debate until kingdom come. But for me, my father is the best. Of course, I'm his daughter.)
"Kung anuman ang galit, pagpopoot, hinanakit sa inyong puso, let it go na po. At pagpapatawad at mag-move on na tayo. Magkaisa na ang Pilipinas at isang buong-buong bagong Pilipinas ang ating itatatag," she added.
(Any anger and bitterness in your hearts, let it go. Let's forgive and move on. May the Philippines unite and let's build a new, solid nation together.) – Rappler.com