Marcos body was accorded military honors in 1993
By Raïssa Robles
Should we be surprised?
In his very last news conference as outgoing President, Fidel Ramos told reporters that the Marcos family broke one of the three preconditions they had agreed to in exchange for bringing Ferdinand Marcos’ remains to the Philippines.
“I authorized the return of the remains of the late president under certain conditions,” Ramos said on June 24, 1998 on the eve of his transfer of presidential power to President-elect Joseph Estrada. [I’m sure media outlets can dig up the sound bites on this.]
Ramos, a cousin of Ferdinand Marcos, said his first condition was that the body not stop over in Manila but be flown directly to Ilocos. That was fulfilled. And it is for this reason that no public wake was held for Marcos’ body in Manila.
The second precondition was that during Marcos’ burial in Ilocos, “he (would) be given the honors befitting a major of the armed forces,” Ramos said. The Marcoses in effect agreed that their father would be denied state honors.
That, too, was fulfilled, Ramos said. Which was why Marcos’ remains were not given a 21-gun salute but those of a middle-level military officer. The rank of major was the highest rank Marcos claimed being promoted to during the Second World War.
But the last precondition – a quick burial – was never fulfilled, Ramos disclosed five years after the Marcoses broke their promise on this issue.
Ramos told reporters:
My third condition was that he be buried in the meantime in Ilocos Norte, (pending) on the decision of the family as to the place. But that was not fulfilled because he was not buried.
Wait a minute.
Did Ramos say Marcos was given burial military honors befitting an army major?
Then why are the Marcoses still demanding full military honors when that was clearly not part of the deal they agreed to in order to transport his body to the country?
Seeing that the Marcoses gave their promise to a President of the Republic of the Philippines. And that promise remains unfulfilled. Can’t the incumbent Philippine President just collect on that burial promise?
UPDATED INSERT –
Reporting on the same news conference, the Philippine Daily Inquirer published on June 25, 1998 that two of the three preconditions were fulfilled – the direct trip to Batac and military honors befitting an army major:
“These two conditions were eventually fulfilled when Marcos was brought to Batac through the Laoag International Airport. He was later given military honors before being placed in an air-conditioned mausoleum in the Marcos ancestral home in Batac.”
Below is the New York Times article on the return of Marcos’ body which the Marcoses then said would be buried in a “black marble mausoleum.”
“Fooled ya,” Imelda Marcos must have muttered afterward as she displayed his corpse like a grotesque version of Sleeping Beauty” inside a glass coffin.
If you notice, according to the NYT report, the body of Marcos’ mother Josefa had been kept in a refrigerated crypt for 10 years since her death in 1988.
Hmmm. Imelda Marcos buried her mother’-in-law’s body and instead kept Ferdie in a refrigerated crypt. Why didn’t she just lay both bodies side by side? It would have been a first – a mom-and-son death show. Did that gesture say something about Imelda Marcos’ relations with her mother-in-law?
Body of Marcos Is Flown Home to the Philippines
Published: September 07, 1993 (New York Times)
Four years after he died in exile in Hawaii, the body of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos arrived here this morning on board a chartered plane from Guam.
A mournful Imelda Marcos held back tears as a woman plaintively sang a traditional mourning song, “Our Signs and Cries are Endless.” Several thousand of Mr. Marcos’s loyal friends and supporters cheered and sang “I Am a Filipino” as the plane landed.
Seven and a half years after he was forced to flee the Philippines after a popular uprising, his body was returned to the country he ruled with an iron hand for nearly 20 years.
Mr. Marcos died in exile in Hawaii in September 1989, but his successor, Corazon C. Aquino, rejected pleas by his widow, Imelda, to allow burial in his native soil.
Mrs. Aquino cited reasons of national security. Although the return of Mr. Marcos’s body is being ignored in much of the country, here in his home province of Ilocos Norte the Marcos name is still celebrated and the deposed President is considered a hero.
Thousands turned up at Laoag International Airport, 320 miles north of Manila, to take part in welcome ceremonies arranged by Mrs. Marcos, who mounted a macabre and festive spectacle. Schoolchildren performed folk dances, priestesses performed rites of communing with the dead and chickens were slaughtered to drive away evil spirits. Vendors made brisk business by selling pins, fans and T-shirts.
Mr. Marcos’s body will lie in state for four days before it is publicly displayed in a black marble mausoleum built by his wife on the grounds of the old Marcos family home in the town of Batac.
Mr. Marcos’s mother, Josefa, who died in 1988, will also be buried this week. Her body has been kept in a refrigerated coffin, as her family refused to bury her until her son’s remains were brought home.
President Fidel V. Ramos has refused to give full state honors to Mr. Marcos, who during his time in power imposed martial law, arrested and tortured thousands of opponents and ransacked the national treasury. But by allowing Mr. Marcos’s burial here, Mr. Ramos is also trying to woo the support of the still-substantial Marcos constituency and douse the passion of intensely loyal supporters.
Members of the old Marcos retinue have been in full attendance: former generals and Cabinet ministers and the society matrons who once graced the balls at the presidential palace arrived in their limousines on Sunday to call on Mrs. Marcos, who held court in the cold and cavernous family mansion.