AT least two Muslim House leaders yesterday declared support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to bury the remains of the late former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNB) in Taguig City, explaining being a hero is not a legal issue.
This was stressed in separate interviews by Deputy Speaker and Maguindanao Rep. Bai Sandra Sema and Lanao del Norte Rep. Abudullah Dimaporo as the 20-day status quo ante order (SQAO) by the Supreme Court (SC) stopping President Duterte’s decision to allow the hero’s burial for Marcos that was earlier set on September 18, 2016 nears expiration on September 12.
“I fully support the President in his decision to bury the remains of former President Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. He (Duterte) is our leader and that’s his prerogative. Let history judge this and finally put closure on the matter,” Sema stressed.
Dimaporo said “President Duterte was right in ordering the burial of the late former President Marcos at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani.”
“As the people’s representative, our President can speak for us, and our incumbent President has spoken for us that Marcos be buried at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani,” Dimaporo pointed out, adding let “the Supreme Court decide on the legality of the issue.”
The Lanao del Norte lawmaker also pointed out that not a single court has decided in favor of the allegations against former President Marcos, stressing that the question of being a hero is not a legal issue.
“On whether Marcos is a hero despite claims against him is not a legal issue. What are of legal issues are the claims against him, and there is no lower court decision on these issues that is taken up before the Supreme Court (SC). On whether Marcos is hero or not is the people’s decision,” Dimaporo said.
In Islam, Sema explained, they “have the belief that a burying place does not determine whether a dead person will go to hell or heaven and all are accountable during the judgment day.”
“It all depends on what actions we have done while we were alive. Are we a bad or good person? That’s the basis on whether we are going to get the blessings or receive punishment after death,” Sema said.
To support President Duterte’s decision to bury ex-President Marcos at the LNB, the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) forwarded to the SC 11 documents supposedly showing that he was a soldier, war hero and a Medal of Valor recipient.
The 11 documents were part of OSG’s 54-page attachments to its Consolidated Comment submitted to the SC to back President Duterte’s decision to bury the remains of ex-President Marcos at LNB
Earlier, Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque filed a measure proposing to change the name of the Libingan ng mga Bayani to “Libingan ng mga Bayani at mga Dating Pangulo” as a means to prevent public unrest in light of the opposition by some sectors to the planned Marcos burial.
According to the 90-page OSG pleading, Marcos was called to active duty on November 15, 1941 as a Third Lieutenant under the United States Army Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) and remained a professional soldier until he left the service in 1963 with the rank of colonel.
The OSG said Marcos earned his Medal of Valor for “prevention of the possible decimation of withdrawing USAFFE troops in a ‘suicidal action against overwhelming enemy forces’, thus helping delay the inevitable fall of Bataan.”
Annex 14 pertained to General Orders No. 167 dated October 16, 1968 which contained a two-page narrative of Marcos’ stand together with his men defending Salian Junction along the Abucay Line against the advance of Japanese forces.
Based on the document, “For five days from 22 to 26 January 1942, he and his men stubbornly held their position at the junction in spite of additional severe casualties suffered, and successfully blocked the enemy’s determined advance…”
The same paper, signed by former Lt. Gen. Alfonso Arellano, then Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff, said Marcos only had “a hundred fighting men against a regiment of about 2,000 highly-trained and well-equipped Japanese troops” when he made the stand.
Other documents submitted include checks from the Philippine Veterans Bank and the Land Bank of the Philippines both issued to Marcos’s widow in 2003 and 2004.
The PVB checks were supposedly for the pension of former President Marcos as a retired soldier while the LBP checks were issued as “payment of gratuity pay/medal of valor”.
Likewise attached was a two-page Certification dated March 4, 1986 issued by the AFP General Headquarters signed by Philippine Army Lt. Col. Antonio Martin “according to records of Colonel Ferdinand E. Marcos, he was recipient of a “Medal of Valor”, three “Distinguished Conduct Stars” and two “Distinguished Service Stars”, among others.(RPP)