Ex-president Ramos “felt very bad” about Marcos burial at heroes cemetery
Former President Fidel Ramos slammed on Monday the burial of late President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, saying the move was a "step backward" by the Duterte administration.
“I felt very bad. It was an insult because of trivialization of the sacrifices of Armed Forces, PNP, Coast Guard, veterans, retired, active," Ramos told reporters in a press conference in Makati.
"The scheme of the Marcos family with the connivance of some elements of the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police is a step backward for this administration in the sense that they are losing support. They are losing friends," Ramos said.
The 88-year-old Ramos said he was set to undergo three medical procedures. "But I say, please consider this as my own protest," when asked if he would be joining the rallies to be held by different groups on Friday to show their indignation on Marcos' burial at national heroes cemetery..
President Rodrigo Duterte, in his previous speeches, admitted Ramos was among those persons who convinced him to run for president in the May elections.
Asked to describe his relationship with Duterte, Ramos said, "as I told you, I still support him. But my greater loyalty, my greater effort is with the bigger Philippine team," which has a population of over 100 million Filipinos.
In his comment before leaving for Manila from Peru, Duterte said he left it up to the Marcoses when to bury their father. “They (Marcoses) only asked when would be the appropriate time,” he said.
Duterte said the only reason he allowed the burial was “ a soldier would be buried because he has fought for his country.”.
Senator Francis Pangilinan, in a forum in Manila, said the Marcoses must emulate Japanese Emperor Akihito, who apologized for the atrocities committed by the Japan during World War II. Akihito's father, Hirohito, was the emperor during the war.
Pangilinan said when the emperor visited the Philippines in January, he said sorry even if the incident happened some 70 years ago.
In the case of the Marcoses, the atrocities happened some 30 years ago, Pangilinan said, stressing the Marcos family should at least acknowledge what happened and "sincerely apologize like what Akihito did."
Ramos gave reporters the agreement signed between his administration and the Marcos family for the return of the remains of Marcos to the Philippines in 1992 after he died in 1989 while in exile in Hawaii.
The deal, signed by then Interior Secretary Rafael Alunan III and former First Lady Imelda Marcos, imposed conditions, such as flying Marcos' remains from Hawaii to Batac, Ilocos Norte, his home province; burying him there; and no extravagance associated with his burial.
The Marcos family, instead of burying Marcos in Batac, claimed preserving his body there, and to the surprise of Filipinos, his remains were buried last Friday at heroes cemetery. The Supreme Court ruled there was no law that bars Duterte to allow Marcos to be interred at the heroes' cemetery.
During the presidential campaign, Duterte promised he would not bar the Marcoses from burying the remains of the former president at heroes cemetery.
Zenaida Mique, executive director of Claimants 1081, a group of Martial Law detainees said in a forum in Manila, expressed belief Duterte allowed Marcos' burial because he was "indebted" to the Marcoses for supporting his presidential bid.
Duterte, in several events, admitted that Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, the eldest daughter of the late president, supported and contributed in his campaign kitty.
But she denied it. .
On calls for the Marcoses to admit and apologize for the torture and killings committed during his father's term, Imee said they were still young could not be held accountable.
But Ramos said Imee was one year older than his oldest daughter and at the beginning of martial law, the governor was 18 years old.
"And within a few years after proclamation of martial law, Imee was elected as Sangguniang Kabataan head...teenager, of course not. She's (already) a responsible person," Ramos said.
But in terms of apology, he said Imelda should be the one to make it because she "knew everything including the beginning of martial law, including what must have happened in August 1983," referring to the assassination of late Senator Benigno Aquino Jr. when he returned to Manila after his exile from the United States.
Aquino, father of former President Benigno Aquino III, was a staunch critic of the Marcos, which ruled the country for over two decades until 1986.
Ramos, hen the head of the Philippine Constabulary (now PNP) during the Marcos regime, said he made atonement.
"My atonement was leading the military and the police during the People Power Edsa Revolution from 22nd to 25th February 1986," he said.
The Edsa revolution ousted Marcos from power and catapulted to the presidency late President Corazon Aquino, wife of Benigno.
Ramos said the ball is now with the Supreme Court where petition for contempt against the Marcoses and the military has been filed for the "premature" burial.
Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman filed a petition before the High Tribunal to order authorities to exhume Marcos’ remains as a form of penalty for their disrespect to the court.
A group led by former Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Satur Ocampo asked the High Tribunal to cite the Marcoses, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the defense department in contempt when the court has not said the decision is final and executory.
Meanwhile, the Duterte administration is ready for possible security threats because of the big protests by those opposing Marcos' burial, the government's chief security official said on Sunday.
But National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said they did not see any security threat from the anti-Marcos groups.
"If we have to, we will. But security cluster as it is, we always, you know, it doesn't disappear from our horizon," he said in a press conference in Peru.
Big protests are being organized by different groups on Friday to show their anger over the burial of Marcos.
Esperon said the government looks at those rallies as "democratic expression of sentiments and beliefs."
He said they expect that rallies would continue, but at the end of the day, the protesters would disperse.
"You would expect there will be their respective plans as a matter of democratic advocacy. But as a threat, I would like to think that everything has been done in due process," Esperon added. Celerina Monte/DMS