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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Binay: Marcos burial verdict 'solomonic'


MANILA, Philippines — “Solomonic.

This was how Vice President Jejomar C. Binay described his way of resolving the issue that has undeniably divided the nation for more than 20 years now – whether or not the remains of the late strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos should be interred at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Cemetery of Heroes) in Taguig.

A supposed leakage of Binay’s recommendation to President Aquino showed that he favored full military honors for Marcos but his body would have to be buried in his home province of Ilocos Norte and not at the Libingan ng mga

Binay refused to confirm or deny the supposed leakage.

Solomonic,” of course, “means exhibiting or requiring the exercise of great wisdom, especially in making difficult decisions” and indeed, the Marcos burial issue was one tough decision to make for the 68-year-old Binay who once served as lawyer for alleged victims of human rights violations during Marcos’ rule.

My friends had called me a traitor, etc. But I just laughed at them because in every decision you make, you will be met with cheers and jeers,” Binay said in an interview before boarding the 10 p.m. Philippine Airlines flight PR 102 for the United States at the Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City.

He went to the US to attend a two-week program on housing finance as well as lead the Philippine independence rites of Filipino-Americans.

As they usually say, this will be ‘Solomonic’,” Binay said of his recommendation.

He expressed confidence that his recommendation will be followed by the President. “I think so,” he said.

I can defend my decision to anyone,” he boasted.

In February, the House of Representatives came up with Resolution No.1135 signed by 216 congressmen, seeking the burial of the late strongman at the Libingan ng mga Bayani which currently serves as burial site for military personnel. Former Presidents Carlos P. Garcia and Diosdado Macapagal are also buried in the cemetery.

Binay was later tasked by President Aquino to study the proposal, saying the latter would be able to give it “a fair hearing.”

At the time of the interview last Friday, Binay refused to confirm the advance information about his recommendation, but just the same, he was visibly disappointed with the leakage which he blamed to “someone from the Office of the President (OP).

“I’m telling you, someone from the OP leaked my recommendation to one of your colleagues. They leaked it to their friends in the media,” a visibly-irked Binay told reporters.

He had hoped that it would be President Aquino who will make his recommendation public during the week.

President Aquino, whose parents’ fought Marcos’ dictatorship, will have the last say, Binay said.

He had assured that the recommendation he had made to the President is “very balanced” as it contained all the sentiments of sectors he had consulted.

“It contains all the reactions, even ‘curses’ of those who are against the proposal,” Binay said.

In previous interviews, Binay said that among the scenarios that could happen if the Marcoses are bent on having the late President finally be laid to rest is for them to be offered another burial site if President Aquino decide not to allow the strongman’s body be transferred to the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

The President will still have to decide on the matter but if they really want to bury Marcos, that is a big ‘if,” other burial sites will be suggested,” said Binay when pressed in an interview what would happen in case the President decides not to allow the body of the late strongman be transferred at the heroes’ cemetery.

He stressed that the main problem is whether Marcos would be allowed to be buried or not at the heroes’ cemetery.

Even before he became President, Aquino had made known that he is not in favor of having Marcos’ body transferred to the heroes’ cemetery.

The President will decide on this issue. Contrary to all the media releases, the President did not turn his back on this responsibility. He asked me to study the issue and I took it to mean that I make a recommendation based on the result of the study. But at the end of the day, he as President will have to decide on this,” Binay said.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said the President would make an announcement on the Marcos burial issue either Sunday or Monday.

The late President’s son and namesake, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., was reportedly pleased with Binay’s recommendation. However, when reached for comment the young Marcos declined to make any comment.

Binay’s old group of human rights lawyers, the Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity and Nationalism, Inc. (MABINI), strongly opposed the idea of transferring Marcos’ preserved remains to the Libingan ng mga Bayani for the alleged massive corruption and human rights violations when he placed the country under martial law from 1972 to 1981.

On the other hand, Marcos’ loyalists had pointed out that Marcos deserved the distinction, owing to his achievements as a World War II veteran, legislator, and later President of the country.


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