My exclusive analysis
By Raïssa Robles
It sure seems like he did.
When Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay gave President Benigno Aquino III his recommendation to bury Ferdinand Marcos with “military honors,” a smoking-gun document was attached to his recommendation, according to sources I interviewed.
My sources came from all sides of the issue, including the Marcos camp.
The document was to show that the Philippine government had promised the Marcos family way back in August 1992 to bury the dead dictator with military honors.
This is the promise that the Marcoses had been nagging PNoy to fulfill.
The problem is that Binay did not tell PNoy the entire story behind this document, which is an agreement between then President Fidel Ramos and the Marcoses. From what my sources told me, Binay did not put the document in context.
In other words, if you read only this document, you will really think that the Marcoses have the right to be very angry with the government for not fulfilling its end of the bargain.
But the one whose signature is on the document told me that he recalled Imelda Marcos making a handwritten note on this document. You will see that this note in Imelda Marcos’ own handwriting is missing from this very document that Binay gave PNoy.
In addition, behind this document were verbal promises made by both parties. Taken altogether, these would mean that it was the Marcoses who had broken their end of the bargain, and not the Philippine government.
Binay’s office refused to give me a copy of the document
I tried to get a copy of this document from Binay’s office after he had recommended “full military honors” for Marcos.
Unable to reach him directly, I personally phoned his spokesman Joey Salgado to please give me a copy of the recommendation Binay had submitted to PNoy, along with the attachments.
I also tried to ask Salgado questions about the attached document.
Salgado said he could not answer my questions nor could he fulfill my request to release them since both the recommendation to the president and the accompanying document were “confidential”.
I told him the documents were not a matter of national security so I could not see why they could not be released.
He told me to ask Malacañang Palace instead.
And so I asked the Palace to release them both officially. I got promises to have these cleared with PNoy, but these were not officially released to me.
Hmmm. I guess this was the price I had to pay for asking PNoy if he plays video games.
Out of the blue, though, one of my sources leaked the document to me.
Before I go any further, I’d like you to read it yourself so we can discuss it together. Here it is below:
First of all, the document was dated August 26, 1992 and signed by Rafael Alunan, the Local Government Secretary then of President Fidel Ramos.
Alunan told me earlier that Ramos had assigned him to deal directly with Imelda Marcos on the burial issue.
Ramos told me the same thing in my interview with him last June entitled:
Ramos also told me that he recalled imposing the following three preconditions on the Marcos family in exchange for the return of the body. First, it would NOT be buried at Libingan ng mga Bayani but would bypass Manila and be transported directly to Ilocos Norte. Second, it would be “given the honors befitting a major of the armed forces.” And third, it would be buried at once.
Ramos told me:
The major stipulation was signed by Imelda Marcos and Alunan. His remains shall be buried at the family burial grounds in Batac itself…The remains shall be buried on the 9th of September more or less, depending on the arrival of the direct flight.
At that time they were still negotiating clearances from the US FAA (Federal Aviation Authority).
I asked Ramos what kind of written agreement was signed by Alunan and Imelda Marcos. Ramos paused to think and said, “to my recollection it was an MOA (Memorandum of Agreement) or MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between Alunan and Imelda.”
Ramos said he was not there when the agreement was signed because his presence was not needed since it was such a low-level document.
So I asked Alunan if he could recall that document he had signed with Mrs. Marcos.
At first, Alunan told me that he did not sign any MOA or MOU with Mrs Marcos. Initially, he said that as far as he could recall, everything between them was verbal.
However, I asked him to check again. He got back to me and said:
Raissa, I did some research to check if I did sign an MOU with Imelda. Blame it on E.D.A.D. I don’t have it but I was informed that it matched what you wrote about. He was supposed to be buried on sep. 9, 1992 but mrs marcos wrote on the MOU “temporarily interred” which was considered an acceptable compromise at the time. The MOU was signed in Aug ’92. Hope we can put this dead issue to rest so to speak as there’s really no point in resurrecting it.
“Sent via BlackBerry from Smart”
I asked him if he had a copy of the MOU and he replied:
Yes i am informed that I did sign an MOU with Imelda Marcos in Aug ’92. No, like I said, I don’t have it. I’ll try to get a copy but that’s would be a long shot. Most likely it’s in the Presidential archives in Malacanan. Enough has been said of this matter and should not be resurrected. Imelda did agree to those points I stated earlier except that in the case of the burial on sept. 9, ’92 she indicated “temporarity interred.” that’s all I have so, i’m signing off.
I asked Malacañang Palace for a copy of the said MOU and was told it didn’t have it.
And then, VOILA!
A letter to Imelda Marcos with Alunan’s signature on it surfaced as an attachment to Binay’s recommendation to PNoy.
Without Ramos and Alunan’s explanations of what had transpired, this document gives everyone the impression that the government has an unfulfilled obligation to the Marcoses.
I asked Alunan to clarify the promised “military honors”
Among the questions I had asked Alunan via e-mail were the following –
1. Were military honors actually given to Marcos’ body? I learned yesterday that a seven-gun salute was given to the body. But the person I talked to (not Pres. Ramos) could not say whether it was given plane-side as the body was transferred to a caisson or during the wake.
2. Do you think the military honors given to Marcos’ body upon its arrival already satisfy the demands of the congressmen to give Marcos military honors? [Note: I was referring here to the House of Representatives resolution urging Marcos’ burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani with full military honors.]
3. Why did the Ramos administration, especially you as DILG secretary, never compel the Marcoses to actually bury his body between 1993 and 1998 as per prior agreement?
Alunan gave the following reply via Blackberry:
The AFP provided honors befitting a major but Marcos’ retired generals gave unofficial full military honors at his “burial”/entombment. Gun salutes are not done plane-side for safety and security reasons.. The answer to the second question is yes since FVR’s decision in 1993 was official. As for the third point, that he wasn’t buried is the Marcos family’s call. I believe FVR gave them that allowance for political reasons.
Then Alunan e-mailed me again:
As for the second question I leave that to the incumbent administration to tackle and find out for themselves given the Marcos’ track record of telling the truth.
I sure would like to hear Binay’s explanation on the document and why he did not talk to Ramos or Alunan about it.