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Can Erap be buried at the Libingan?

My apologies to former President Joseph Estrada, and knock on wood. But there isn’t any other case I can use in order to objectively and logically analyze an issue hogging the headlines in recent weeks: former strongman – and president — Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) official cemetery, called the Libingan ng mga Bayani. President Duterte has allowed the burial set for September 18, defying the objection of even his allies.

Estrada was a President of the Republic and, therefore, certainly complies with the AFP’s guidelines that those who can be buried there are “former presidents, secretaries of defense, dignitaries, statesmen, national artists, widows of former presidents, secretaries of national defense and chief of staff.”

Legally, however, Estrada could be barred from the cemetery as the AFP guidelines stipulate that “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.” Estrada was convicted September 12, 2007 of that crime “plunder” (large-scale graft) and sentenced to reclusion perpetua, together with the penalties of perpetual disqualification from public office and forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth.

President Gloria Arroyo’s executive clemency for Estrada does not erase that court of justice’s findings that he committed a crime. It was purely a humanitarian act by a President, as authorized by the Constitution. In contrast, Marcos hasn’t been convicted of any crime, although Ma. Serena Diokno, daughter of Ninoy’s cellmate Jose Diokno, through the National Historical Commission (NHC) she heads, tried to go around this by claiming preposterously that Marcos was in effect convicted by the “collective action of the people” who undertook EDSA I.

Would there be as much virulent opposition if some future President allowed Erap’s burial at the Libingan? Would Senator Alan Cayetano try to be irritatingly witty and demand that the cemetery be renamed Libingan ng mga Bayani at isang Mandarambong?

Would the NHC undertake a pseudo-historical investigation to find out what Estrada was doing during the Japanese occupation, since he wasn’t a guerilla? Would Vice President Leni Robredo be as brash as when she condemned Marcos for human rights abuses, by raising the questions whether Estrada was involved in the killing of publicist Bubby Dacer and the disappearance of Edgar Bentain, who allegedly leaked videos of Estrada gambling at a Pagcor casino? Would the Left and the Makabayan bloc in Congress mount demonstrations to stop the burial?

Marcos’ body (or representation) in his mausoleum in Batac, Ilocos Norte. What’s the big deal? Half the country, anyway, want him at Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Marcos’ body (or representation) in his mausoleum in Batac, Ilocos Norte. What’s the big deal? Half the country, anyway, want him at Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Certainly not. I bet Cayetano and the Makabayan bloc leaders would even volunteer to serve as pallbearers for Erap’s coffin.

The reason is not just because Erap was just in power for only three years, and didn’t impose Martial Law. The reason is that Marcos had been demonized so much since 1983 after Ninoy’s assassination. This was really the US propaganda strategy Cory adopted in the 1986 snap elections — which was to portray him as evil incarnate. History, of course, is written by the victors, in our case helped especially by the ABS-CBN Network whose owners, the Lopezes, were nearly decimated by Marcos as oligarchs, and by the newspapers run by editors and columnists who lost their jobs and high social standing after Martial Law was imposed.

In contrast, after his conviction, the elite and the Yellow Cult didn’t bother to demonize Erap — so that he easily recovered his popularity and managed to land second in the 2010 elections, and even got to be mayor of Manila starting 2013.

But is the Yellow narrative accurate? We just don’t know.

Most of the accounts of Martial Law were written by obviously biased partisan writers or by that kind of American authors who take advantage of flavor-of-the-month issues to churn out lucrative best-selling paperbacks. There have been many deceptions disseminated. For instance I had exposed in a column last April that the number of extrajudicial killings during the Marcos regime that have been so frequently cited to this day — 3,257 — which that respected scholar on the Philippines Alfred McCoy had popularized, was based on another writer’s data, which was in turn based on figures churned out by a group controlled by the Left, and were even obviously flawed. Worse, the writer who initially came up with that figure had concluded that there were more incidents of extrajudicial killings during Cory’s watch.

What’s sickening is that many of those so angry with Marcos are those who have the means to do historical research on that era so that history books could finally have an objective account of the Martial Law years, yet do not do so. Instead, they have preferred to take the Yellow narratives as articles of faith.

The Ateneo faculty, for instance, had issued manifestos against Marcos Jr.’s bid for the vice presidency and more recently against the dictator’s burial at the Libingan. Yet that supposed community of scholars has done nothing to undertake historical research on the Marcos years. An indication of this are obscure subjects of its publications such as “A Collision of Masculinities: Men, Modernity and Urban Transportation in American-Colonial Manila,” and “Engkuwentro: Kayaw kontra Digmang-Galera, 1565–1567.” Is finding out what Rizal had for breakfast, or how much he won in a lottery in Spain, more important than finding out whether the Jabidah massacre was just propaganda fiction or whether the Communist Party really ordered the Plaza Miranda bombing?

Are they afraid to find out for themselves, through historical research, if the Yellow narrative of the Martial Law era is accurate?

One Vicente Rafael, a scholar based in the US, posted a 1,000-word rant against the burial, even seeing a conspiracy, in which Duterte is a willing member of: “The Marcos burial should be seen as part of a long trajectory designed to return them to power…. Marcos is dead, more dead than ever. But in Duterte and in the Marcos family, his specter lives on to haunt us all.”

Rafael, however, is the epitome of Marcos bashers living comfortably abroad, filling Facebook with frequent posts, telling us what to think here in ‘Pinas. For all his seeming concern about the country, Rafael didn’t care at all about Martial Law when he was a history lecturer at the Ateneo from 1977 to 1979. After that, he spent his life climbing the academic ladder in the US, moving from one university to another, even from one college to another) Since 2003, he has been history professor at the University of Seattle.

With history as his field, shouldn’t he have done historical research on Marcos and the Martial Law years, which have been so important to the nation, the different assessments of which still divide us? Apparently not. Rafael’s publications have such titles as “White Love and Other Events in Filipino History and Contracting Colonialism” and “Translation and Christian Conversion in Tagalog Society Under Early Spanish Rule.” Perhaps he thinks he’ll never get tenure if he works on the real history of Martial Law.

Perhaps we should just approach the issue pragmatically. Erap, despite his conviction, will certainly be buried, if he or his family wants to, at the Libingan when he passes away. He is just too loved by the masses for the Cayetanos and Robredos to curse. A bit more than half the country want Marcos buried at the Libingan. The SWS surveys in July 1998, March 2011, June 2011 showed that at least 52 percent of respondents agreed Marcos should be buried at the Libingan, with 30 percent in the 2011 survey saying that he should even be given honors. (Strangely or not, SWS had not undertaken any survey on the issue after that.)

Let’s just give half the country what they want, and hope the nation becomes more united.


This Post Has 37 Comments

  1. Kurokuro lang

    Less than 16 million filipinos voted for pdigong knowing and understanding his stand about marcos burial at the lnmb. To me, that is more than a go signal and approval for that matter. Bkit, talak pa rin kayo ng talak? Bbm almost got the vp seat for just a matter of 200k. Kung papalarin baka pagdilat natin isang umaga eh sya na ang bise natin. Hindi b natin ito nakikita. Taungbayan ang humusga! Sino si drilon? Sino si grace poe at roxas n natalo dahil halata n mga kontrabida….? Move on na day! 2016 n!

  2. Johnny Ramos

    Bakit hindi nila durin ang ginawa ni Binigno Aquino Sr. nuon panahon ng hapon. Mas masahol pa sa ginawa ni Marcos kasi nagtaksil siya Bayan nuon panahon ng Hapon. Kung dapat tayong magalit kay Bongbong ay marapat lang magalit kay Ninoy dahil traydor sa bayan ang kanyang ama sa panahon ng digmaan. Si Benigno Sr. ay nadakip nila MacArthur sa Japan.

    1. Esoj Lazir

      Di ba sabi ng Wikipedia si mariano marcos ay pinatay ng mgaPilipino mismo dahil nag traydor sya sa bayan. Itinali sya sa dalawang kalabaw at ipinatakbo ang kalabaw.. World war II was between the US and Japan here in the pacific. Kung kakampi ka ng Americano, traydor ka sa mata ng mga Japanese. Kung kampi ka sa mga Japanese, traydor ka sa mata ng mga Americano. Di ba ganito lang naman ka simple ang argumento?

  3. dakila

    Sinasabi nitong mga Yellow Tards na peke yon mga medalya ni Pres Marcos. Ang mga medalya ay iginawad ng Amerika kay Pres Marcos noon matapos ang digmaan ng 1945. Hindi hiningi ni Marcos ito at halip dumaan siya sa masusing pagsusuri ng kanyang pagkilos bilang sundalo ng USAFFE sa digmaan. Magmula 1945 hanggang simula ng 1980’s ay hindi isinailalim sa alinlangan ito at walang kwestion dito. Tatlong beses siyang naging panauhin at nag salita sa joint session ng US Congress, ngunit ni minsan hindi kiniwestion itong mga medalya. Naging bisita ng bansa si Heneral McArthur noon pangulo si Marcos at naging tagapagsalitang pandangal sa celebration ng indepence sa Luneta at doon pinuri niya ang kabayanihan ni Marcos na nasugatan at itinaya niya ang kanyang buhay sa digmaan sa mga hapon. Si McArthur ay ang pinaka pinuno ng mga Sundalong Amerikano at kanyang ka alyado. Siya ang punong namahala sa pagkilos ng mga sundalo laban sa hapon. Pati ang bansang Amerika ay walang opisyal na pagtangi sa mga medalyang iginawad nila kay Marcos.
    Kung susuriin natin, kung talagang peke itong mga ito hindi na sana nakaligtas si Pres Marcos sa Asunto sa US noon nasa Hawaii siya. Nguni’t ni isang Asunto walang inihaiin ang pamahalaang Amerika tungkol sa pagka huwad na bayani ni Pres Marcos.

  4. JustConcern

    Once FM is transferred to Libingan ng mga Bayani, the one sided theory that he is an evil will come to an end. It will now give our next generation scholars and academicians to sensible debate whether FM deserved to be buried at LB. The research will get broader and deepen. These consequences are what the oligarchs are afraid of. It will be finally put in paper what Marcos have done in our country as a President of the Philippines. Right now, there is nothing to debate yet because our current and majority of the powerful persona in our generations polluted our way of thinking.

    Salute this administration for shaking our beliefs once again. They may be right or may be wrong. However, it emphasizes that the Philippines is for Filipino people not only to few.

    1. Jaime Dela Cruz


  5. braveheart

    Isa ako sa maraming sumasangayon na ilipat na si President Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani. Sangayon din ako na sana ay baguhin na ang ating history tungkol sa panahon ng Martial Law. Isaad ang buong katotohanan kung bakit itop diniklara at kung ano ano ang mga naging buti at sama nito. kailangan ay ang katotohanan lang at hindi ang mga ayun sa mga oligarch at mga bengatibong mamamayan at mga journalist na nagtatago sa ibang bansa.Maraming salamat

  6. ricelander

    Human rights victims shout to the highest heavens for the evil of Marcos yet have not the courage to face and excoriate FVR and JPE, two of the main implementers of Martial law, who are so alive. Matapang lang sa bangkay na walang kakayahang sagutin ang mga paratang. Kay FVR at JPE, bahag naman ang buntot.

    On hidden wealth, all they could cite is the SC decision which extrapolated the joint income of FM and Imelda based on Income Tax Return and concluded from there that, beyond reasonable doubt, the Marcoses are plunderers.

  7. braveheart

    Estrada No way!

    1. braveheart

      Salamat Manila times

  8. Seymour Butts

    My father is an OFW…Bagong Bayani…pwede ba sya ilibing jan?

    1. Daniel B. Laurente

      Hindi puede uyyy…marami tayo OFW mapupuno ang Cementeryo.

    2. Daniel B. Laurente

      Gitikgitik lang yong sabihin bayani ang OFW para lahat ng kita ay ipadala nila sa Pilipinas. Sa airport pa lang hindi hindi kana makalusot kung nagbayad ka ng OEC at saka PhilHealth.

    3. wiwi kho

      oo nman. gus2 mo ngayon na habang buhay pa bk kc maubusan kayo ng space

    4. The Great Defiant

      too many of them…
      10 million….

  9. Jose Ma

    Isa ako sa maraming sumasangayon na ilipat na si President Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani. Sangayon din ako na sana ay baguhin na ang ating history tungkol sa panahon ng Martial Law. Isaad ang buong katotohanan kung bakit itop diniklara at kung ano ano ang mga naging buti at sama nito. kailangan ay ang katotohanan lang at hindi ang mga ayun sa mga oligarch at mga bengatibong mamamayan at mga journalist na nagtatago sa ibang bansa.

  10. Juan T. Delacruz

    In the Philippines, anything is possible when you have these two elements called “money and power”. These two elements can make impossible to a more favorable, whoever have this mighty elements. Words can be twisted to fit any purpose, whatever it may be, and this can be done only in the Philippines

    For all seriousness, I think they should let Marcos be buried there at libingan ng mga bayani and to answer the other question, Erap is fully qualified to be buried there as well. Martial Law years can never be forgotten, but forgiving can be attained, so we can move on as a nation. Cleaning and purging are still in progress and hopefully, PDU30 can put everything under control so he can start the development of the country, as long as there is no constitutional crisis by then.

    To SC Justice, don’t create a crisis that will make PDU30 declare Martial Law. He already have the AFP and PNP on his side and I am sure he will succeed.

    1. ex tee

      I concur, anything is possible in the Philippines when you have money and power. So let Apu Lakay Macoy be buried at the libingan, he has been in purgatory for a very long time. So many must have prayed long enough for him and paid the offerings required.

  11. Sta. Cecilia

    Im asking those people whining about FM burial at Libingan N M B, if you were the president during those years what would you do? Nobody is perfect only” God” tell us whose president is perfect that doesnt commited an anomaly who is interred at Libingan? If you can find one- no FM burial.

  12. Dale Gozar

    Definitely Erap is not qualified burial @Libingan ng mga Bayani since he was convicted “plunder” (September 12, 2007).

    I’m also infavor allowing FMarcos burial (set for September 18) not because dictator hasn’t been convicted of any crime, but mainly to destroy the DUALISM in Philippines politics.

    Demonizing the Marcoses is an essential formula to Aquino/Cojuangco rise into power (30yrs).
    DUALISM is the belief of the great complement or conflict between the benevolent (Aquino/Cojuangco) and the malevolent (Marcos). It simply implies that there are two moral opposites at work, independent of any interpretation of what might be “moral” and independent of how these may be represented.

    For example:

    HORUS vs. SET
    Day vs. Night
    Light vs. Dark
    Good vs. Evil
    Right vs. Wrong
    Heaven vs. Hell

    It’s a ubiquitous & mythological dualities that still expressed on many levels especially in Philippine Society & Politics:

    Ninoy vs. Marcos
    Cory vs. Marcos
    Cory/Noynoy vs. GMA
    Noynoy vs. BBMarcos
    Daang Matuwid vs. Martial Law

    The sole achievements of Aquino/Conjuanco is highlighting the Dirts and Failures of MARCOS in order to make themselves as Hero/Good and pretended to be complete the opposite of Marcos.

    1. Bonny


      Thank you…

  13. Michael

    It is time for the nation to move forward and to bury the past. The problems faced by the country cannot be blamed on Marcos alone. All the ills of the system that are being exposed today suggest that we need to focus on present problems. Drug abuse, terrorism, poverty, environmental problems have not disappeared since Marcos was deposed. Time to look within and in the present for our flaws and to find solutions by curing the ills of today.

    The burial of Marcos should be seen as putting to rest all the imaginary ghosts that the country has created for itself and an awakening to the present and the future.

    1. mangcosme

      Very well said, sir. Although I am not a fan of martial law and the excesses of Marcos, I believe our government has been given nearly 30 years to prove their culpability through the judicial system. Not having done that, we cannot always hide behind the ghosts of ML and forever be imprisoned by them. We should bury the dead and move on to more progressive ideas. We cannot bring back what was lost but certainly we can learn much from that unfortunate episode of our history.

  14. gil r. ramos

    Poll ran June 6-8 2016
    Are you in favor of giving Pres Marcos a hero’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani as proposed by Prez-elect Duterte? Yes/No www. surveyngbayan.com

    At the 99 percent confidence level and margin of error of 4 percent.

    52 percent in favor
    28 percent against
    20 percent no opinion

  15. kruger

    All duly elected Presidents should be buried at the LNMB regardless – emphasis on the the words “duly elected.”

  16. kris tulo

    Thanks Mr. Tiglao for giving a true and unbiased column re: Marcos burial, hoping the propaganda fed Aquino loyalists will think and open their eyes to the realities of the Marcos administration.

  17. vagoneto rieles

    Another way to pose the question is, “If a dictator may be interred in the ‘Libingan’, can a ‘convicted felon be so buried? The answer is quite obvious…although it would further degrade this ‘hallowed ground’…”why not”?

  18. L A

    Of course, the ones most vociferous in their oppositions are the pseudo-journalists like the Jekyl and Hyde husband and wife team or that daughter of the whitewasher of the Bluebook of Mr. Harry. Does the daughter’s family kept the Bluebook as part of the family heirloom? Similar to Edsa 2 where the rantings of a mob-rule minority in Metro Manila prevailed over the 10M voters of Mr. Joseph all over the country, the cry babies once again want their voice to standout and drown the approval of 16M people of Mr. Dee Gong whose package included his promise of Andy’s burial at the LNMB. If the crybabies believed there were crimes directly committed by the former President and there were preponderance of evidence to warrant a conviction, what have theybeen doing for the last 25 years to secure a conviction in even just one sala of an RTC? Unfortunately, as revealed by that lady teacher at the Ateneo, there has not been even one single case filed against Mr. Marcos in any court in the country – yet, most of the blabbers want to cite evidence or rule of law everytime for their convenience like that Lulu at Padre Faura who wants evidence yet produced against their erring ilks. A husband has to produced corroborating witness or evidence in Court to prove adultery even if he sees his wife enter a motel room with a guy?

  19. kokis

    Marcos has never been convicted of any crime so what’s the buzz?

  20. papi

    Thank sir you for giving us the point of difference. Pag si Erap will be buried at the libingan ng mga bayani baka naka live coverage pa and Cayetano and Fake VP glorifying it. Sad to think that our history was made purely by yellow belief na pilit parin at sisiguraduhin nila that our next generation will believe it.

  21. elfieda g maddara

    Let’s not also take “libingan ng mga BAYANI” too literally. Law says “former presidents and soldiers.” Marcos was both. Oppositionists retaliate by citing his “faked medals” and “faked maharlika’ troops. Law says “soldiers” and not “bemedalled soldiers.”
    C’mon, bitterness makes your liver sick. Let the Apo rest at the “Libingan” and let majority of us Pinoys win our peace.

  22. avn41000

    SWS will not conduct another survey if Filipino people wanted Ex-Pres. Marcos because it will only prove that majority of Filipinos will be in favor and their patrons, the left and the yellows will not be happy with the result. SWS may not be even paid of the full amount for their survey services…

  23. Anton

    No. As much as possible libingan ng mga bayani are only for military perdinnel and veterans with a few exceptions to statemen who made extra efforts hinorably like romulo, quezon, etc. But not erap who does not fit the category who is immoral, alcoholic, gambler and convicted felon.

  24. Na Me

    It is obvious, the true enemies of the nation is using this issue as a tool to discredit and destroy the president.

    President Marcos, for all his faults, true or fabricated, did have a vision and pursued projects aimed at uplifting the Philippines. He was not successful, but there are reasons and lessons to be learned from that, a fair analysis should reveal that. For the true objective observer, his was not as bad as the last administration, who almost sold the philipines, whose official government actions and intents were aimed at trying to sell the pilipinos as perpetual slaves abroad.

    And now that we have a selfless president, willing to sacrifice his life, perhaps in this age of quick and global communications – this time, we will not be so easily hoodwinked and fooled by the “society of evils” in our country; and we can peacefully work and contribute to the building of our nation, wherever our true leader directs us.

    1. Bonny

      True… Even Lee Kuan Yew learned and adopted some of the brilliant platform of governance and ideas for industrialization/ nation building of FM…

  25. Entong

    kaya di umuunlad ang pilipinas ay dahil sa mga maiingay na iilan diyan na biktima diumano ng martial law. eh kaya sila na “biktima” ay kumalaban sila sa gobyerno. naranasan ko rin naman ang kapanahonan ni marcos at di hamak ay mas mabuti ang buhay noon. kung I-compare kay marcos malayo si cory sa kadakilaan.

    kung sa krimin naman, ay lumala ng lumala umpisa kay cory hanggang sa bugok nyang anak. buti nalang inaayos na ni digong.

    1. Bonny

      Tumpak… I have lived in the martial law era where the crime rate is very low…

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