When the time comes several solutions may answer the issue on the rushed burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani, this was the statement of Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel last Saturday.
Being the chief ally of President Rodrigo Duterte at the Senate, Sen. Pimentel insisted that we should not lose hope for the burial of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos is a political issue so this can be reversed anytime.
Sen. Koko Pimentel is the son of the former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr. who is known to be one of the opposition leaders that was detained during the Marcos administration. And this seems to be the reason why the senator strongly disagree on the burial of the late dictator at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani.
The burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani was initiated and allowed by President Rodrigo Duterte who is known to be the son of Vicente Duterte who served the Marcos Cabinet.
Even Sen. Pimentel is the leader of President Duterte’s party, he was not eager to raise the issue to the President for Marcos was already buried at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani. But according to him, President Duterte could still change his mind. Or if not, the next president may revoke the burial of Marcos at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani.
Through a phone patch interview with Philippine Daily Inquirer, Sen. Pimentel said that by 2022 the new president can mandate the removal or transfer of the remains if he believes that these persons are ineligible to be buried at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani.
Sen. Pimentel added that, once Commission on Audit (COA) reviews all the transactions of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) who was in-charge of the funeral arrangements, it may invalidate the expenses in connection with the burial. This may require the AFP to justify or even return the total amount that was spent.
The state has remaining claims from the Marcos stolen wealth is known to have accrued for about $5 billion to $10 billion. Despite a huge debt that they owe, yet the state gave them a favor. This has nothing to do with the legal aspect, but it’s because of the benefit given to a person or to his family against which the government has financial claim that was not returned or repaid, Sen. Pimentel continued.
Because of the issue on Marcos’ burial, Sen. Pimentel was encouraged to file a measure that a land within the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani will be set aside for the burial of the “Filipinos of historical interest.” It is where the former Presidents of the Philippines, statesmen, dignitaries, national artists and scientists may be interred, separate from plots reserved for military. As per his proposal, this shall be called Libingan ng mga Makasaysayang Pilipino.
According to Sen. Pimentel, through the creation of such delineation it will preserve the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani as a military memorial and will be consistent of its purpose intended when it was established in 1947.
Filipinos should continue exercising their constitutional rights for this will strengthen our democracy and it will show the people that the Philippines has a lot of problems, this is one them but this is not the only one. This is what Sen. Pimentel said as protest over burial of the late dictator Marcos continues.
Filipinos should take time for some reflection on how much we value lessons of history for this will encourage us to value our time, value our priorities, he added.