AFP is now preparing 21 Gun Salute tribute for Pres. Marcos
A 21-gun salute will pay tribute to former President Ferdinand E. Marcos (FM) following military tradition when his remains – kept in a refrigerated mausoleum in Batac, Ilocos Norte, for 23 years – will finally be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB), Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Friday.
It will not be a state funeral but will follow the military tradition of burying “a soldier who has done service to his country,” Lorenzana said.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has prepared a rifle party of seven Army soldiers who will deliver the succession of volley shots during the burial of the late President, he said.
“It will be a normal funeral. The rifle party is the only involvement of this administration although we will secure the Libingan premises from protesters,” Lorenzana told reporters during a gathering of veterans in Cagayan de Oro.
The Marcos family is taking care of the arrangements and will shoulder all the funeral expenses, he said.
The move follows the Supreme Court ruling issued Nov. 8, which allows Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. The decision followed petitions against it and many bitter protests staged by martial law victims and supporters demanding that the author of Martial Law is not a hero and therefore not fit to be buried there.
The Marcos family received officially in full the decision of the Supreme Court (SC) declaring that there is no legal impediment to the burial of late FM at the LNMB on Friday Nov. 11, at 11:28 a.m.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Marcos will be buried at the Libingan before the year ends.
Long wait to be buried
Marcos died after a long illness in 1989 while in exile in Hawaii where his family was flown after his ouster in February, 1986. He was interred in a temporary above-ground tomb in Hawaii’s Valley of the Temples, guarded day and night by former presidential guards who volunteered to watch over him until his remains are brought home.
In 1992, President Fidel V. Ramos allowed the return of the body of his cousin on condition that it be flown directly to Ilocos Norte and be buried there. The body returned in 1993. The Marcos family decided to place the body temporarily in a mausoleum until the dying wish of the late president for a Libingan burial could be fulfilled.
When Joseph Estrada became president, he initially announced approval for a Libingan ng mga Bayani burial for Marcos, but was forced to bow to pressure from the Catholic Church and civic groups.
In Laoag City, Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos said that she will not admit guilt for the shortcomings of Martial Law because she was too young to know what was happening.
“Yung admission of guilt, unang-una ang liit-liit ko noon. Paano ko ia-admit hindi ko naman alam,” she said.
Although there were many protests against the burial of her father at LNMG, Gov. Marcos said she had also received many letters informing the family of the goodness of her father.
The burial of her father at the heroes’ cemetery is not an attempt to change history, she said.
“We’re not rewriting history. We’re not changing the truth. The cases continue to be pending… We continue to fight them in court. We are still defending ourselves and defending his memory,” she said.
The Marcos family hailed the SC decision as “a triumph of the rule of law” and “a vindication of the sovereign Filipino people” in showing that President Duterte, whom they have elected by an overwhelming margin, has acted in accordance with law.
“As a family, we are happy that our grandfather, father, and husband will finally be laid in his final resting place after many years of waiting,” the Marcos family said.
The Marcos family statement ends: “As Filipinos, we are hopeful that the decision will bring about healing and allow us to move forward by putting to rest an issue that has greatly divided us.”
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