Just so she could bring his body home in 1993
By Raïssa Robles
My editor at South China Morning Post has given me permission to post my story below:
Marcos burial plans hit a snag
Imelda signed away any right to inter the late dictator in the Heroes’ Cemetery so she could bring his body home, where it lies in a glass casket
Raissa Robles in Manila
Jun 13, 2011
After 18 years of keeping his body in a refrigerated viewing coffin, the flamboyant widow of dictator Ferdinand Marcos is making plans finally to bury him.
However, efforts by Imelda Marcos to secure a presidential agreement that would allow burial at the nation’s famed Heroes Cemetery in suburban Manila appear set for failure after it emerged she signed away the right to such a burial in exchange for bringing his body back to the Philippines from Hawaii.
Investigations by the South China Morning Post (SEHK: 0583, announcements, news)discovered the existence of such an agreement, which has been confirmed by three people including former president Fidel Ramos, who was in power at the time of the agreement.
Ramos said Imelda Marcos had agreed “in writing” to waive not only a burial at the Heroes’ Cemetery but also state and full military honours for her husband.
Marcos was ousted in a 1986 “people power” revolt led by current President Benigno Aquino’s late mother, Corazon Aquino. Marcos died three years later in exile in Hawaii and his body was returned in 1993 to his northern hometown of Batac in Ilocos Norte province, where it has been displayed in the glass coffin and has become a tourist attraction.
In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Ramos confirmed there were “three preconditions” he had set in exchange for allowing the body’s return. Other confirmations were made by a former cabinet secretary and a person close to the Marcos family.
However, the presidential palace, which is mulling the family’s request, said it was not aware of such an agreement but would now take this information into consideration.
“President Ramos’ actions upon the return of the Marcos body will certainly be taken into account when the president makes his final decision,” communications strategy secretary Ricky Carandang said.
President Aquino asked Vice-President Jejomar Binay four months ago to study Marcos’ burial and recommend how the long-divisive issue could finally be settled. Aquino has refused to decide alone on the issue, saying he would naturally be biased.
Binay has recommended that Marcos be given “full military honours”, though that would most likely occur in Ilocos Norte instead of the Heroes’ Cemetery.
New attempts to bury the body of Marcos, who has lain in a refrigerated glass coffin for the past 18 years, has divided people in the Philippines.
His 14-year military rule was marked with torture and executions of tens of thousands and the theft of billions of US dollars.
One of the people close to the family confirmed that Imelda Marcos had agreed to Ramos’ three preconditions because “his return was the most important thing and was a big thorn off our hearts”.
The person said that Ramos agreed to Marcos’ request because she had helped him gather support after winning the presidency by a slim margin. She was the first presidential candidate to concede to him and by running herself, she prevented businessman Eduardo Cojuangco from winning.
Ramos said three preconditions at the time included that Marcos’ body be transported directly to Ilocos, bypassing Manila.
Second, the Marcoses would waive state and full military honours and instead agreed to “honours befitting a major” (Marcos’ last army rank). Third, the body had to be buried immediately.
He said Imelda Marcos fulfilled the first precondition, but broke another by not burying the body
Ramos said he never pressed the family because “it was Imelda who decided to put Marcos in a mausoleum in a refrigerated state. As for what to do with the remains, the family has the absolute right.”
The Marcoses have tried but failed to get the two presidents who succeeded Ramos to agree to a hero’s burial. People close to the family said that Imelda revived plans for Marcos’ hero’s burial a year ago. That was the ex-dictator’s dying request, one of them said.
An epitaph for his grave has long been carved and is now stored at the old family residence. It reads: “For him, in order to maintain democracy and peace, he was willing to sacrifice even if it forced him to admit sins or crimes he did not commit.”
“There are [burial plans now) but we cannot yet divulge them,” a second person said.
Tomorrow, I will finish and upload the Part 2 I promised entitled:
PH gov’t bestowed Marcos’ body military honors in ’93 – Rafael Alunan
No need for anything more