MANILA, Philippines – The burial of the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery) would become the "first headache" of the incoming administration of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, a senator predicted on Wednesday, June 15.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, an incoming member of the minority in the 17th Congress, echoed the sentiment that giving a hero’s burial to the late president would not heal the country and bring "closure" to victims of Martial Law but would, instead, divide the nation.
If the Marcoses would insist on a hero’s burial for their patriarch, Trillanes assured it would be one of the “first headaches” of the Duterte administration.
“Kung pipilitin nila 'yan (If they insist on it), I believe that would be one of the first headaches of the Duterte administration," he said in an interview with GMA News.
“Ang mga mangyayari nito, di nila kailangan ng ganyang issue na mababawasan ang kanilang political capital. Very sensitive issue. Talagang maraming tinamaang personal sa issue na 'yan kay Marcos. I would advise against it,” Trillanes added.
(It [Duterte administration] doesn't need an issue like this that would erode their political capital. Very sensitive issue. The Marcos issue is very personal to many people. I would advise against it.)
He said the Marcos family should take the initiative to spare the incoming Duterte administration from such “headaches.”
“Pero ang problema rito, ang pamilya Marcos sana they could spare itong Duterte administration from all the headache, kung sila mismo [magkaroon ng initiative] na ipalibing na lang kung saan, kasi di naman lahat ng president ng Pilipinas nakalibing sa Libingan ng Bayani,” he added.
(Hopefully, the Marcos family could spare the Duterte administration from all the headache if they themselves would [take the intiative] to bury him elsewhere. Not all Philippine presidents are buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.)
Other Philippine presidents are buried at the Manila North Cemetery such as Ramon Magsaysay, Sergio Osmeña, and Manuel A. Roxas, while others have their own shrines, like Emilio Aguinaldo and Manuel L. Quezon.
The senator then advised the family of his partymate in the Nacionalista Party to pursue the patriarch's legacy in other ways. "Kung ang gusto naman nila [If they want to leave a] legacy, legacy can be defined by history and historians. They can pursue it in other ways,” he added.
No closure, more division
Otherwise, Trillanes believed, the burial would only reopen wounds and the revive the pain suffered by victims of the Marcos regime and their families. (READ: '#NeverAgain: Martial law stories young people need to hear')
“Di magkakaroon ng closure kasi the people would make sure di magkakaroon ng closure. Yung pagpapalibing mismo, 'yan ang magrereopen ng wounds. Alam 'nyo may mga tao kasing naging biktima, natorture, talagang naghirap nang mga panahon na 'yun. 'Di sila magmo-move on and precisely lalo sila maaiinsulto, masasaktan dahil sa mga pangyayaring ganyan,” Trillanes said.
(There will be no closure because the people would make sure that there will be no closure. The burial itself would reopen wounds. There are people who were victims, who were tortured, who really suffered during that period. They will not move on and will precisely feel insulted, hurt, if that happens.)
President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr, earlier agreed it was high time for the country to "move on" from the issue, and tentatively set the burial date in September.
During a presidential debate in March, Duterte said he is for Marcos' burial at the Heroes' Cemetery. In a media interview on May 23, when he was already president-elect, Duterte said this could be "arranged immediately" drawing strong objections from some citizens and human rights groups. (READ: Relatives mull move out of Heroes' Cemetery to protest Marcos burial)
Under the Armed Forces of the Philippines guidelines, those who have been dishonorably discharged from service, or personnel convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude, do not qualify for interment at the cemetery. (READ: Who can be buried at Heroes' Cemetery? AFP explains rules)
Meanwhile, Trillanes maintained he would continue his role as a “fiscalizer” and would stay with the minority group.
Asked if he would continue his exposés against Duterte, Trillanes only said he would give the president-elect the “leeway” to achieve the “change” he has promised.