I suppose it's given that I was the first political prisoner in Iloilo - at age 18 (I was arrested in the evening of September 23, 1972, and my final release order from military custody, under the signature of Maj. Gen Fidel V. Ramos, Commanding General of the Philippine Constabulary, was dated September 24, 1976 - under the condition that I cannot give any statement nor have any interview with any local or foreign media. That condition has never been lifted and I haven't been charged with any offense in court.)

The younger generation may find it politically "enlivening" to go Marcos bashing even at this late stage. Sorry, but I have forgiven Mr. Marcos long ago - even when he still held me in his prison.
I'm sad that those who oppose his burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani are mostly well-intentioned freedom fighters who just happened to be born too late. They weren't there when the war was being fought. They are now fighting their wars in retrospect.

With due respect for their views, let me give my vote for the burial of Mr. Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Not for any love lost, but it's the lawful thing to do.
As a soldier, a veteran, and a former President, Mr. Marcos deserves a burial plot at the Lingingan equal to all the others.

From various sources, Rappler.com has come up wit these guidelines:
"In a press release, the AFP said that under its regulations, the following persons are qualified to be interred at the cemetery:
Medal of Valor awardees
Presidents or commander-in-chief, AFP
Secretaries of national defense
AFP chiefs of staff
Generals/flag officers of the AFP
Active and retired military personnel of the AFP (including active draftees and trainees who died in line of duty, and active reservists and CAFGU Active Auxiliary who died in combat-related activities)
Former members of the AFP who laterally entered or joined the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police

Veterans of Philippine Revolution of 1890, World War I, World War II, and recognized guerrillas
Government dignitaries, statesmen, national artist and other deceased persons whose interment and re-interment has been approved by the commander-in-chief, Congress or the secretary of national defense

Former presidents, secretaries of defense, dignitaries, statesmen, national artists, widows of former presidents, secretaries of national defense and chief of staff."

But by way of an actual enactment of Congress, we have this law which goes all the way back to1948 - when our Republic was barely two years old:

Section 1. To perpetuate the memory of all the Presidents of the Philippines, national heroes and patriots for the inspiration and emulation of this generation and of generations still unborn, there shall be constructed a National Pantheon which shall be the burial place of their mortal remains.
Sec. 2. There is hereby created a Board on National Pantheon composed of the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Public Works and Communications and the Secretary of Education and two private citizens to be appointed by the President of the Philippines with the consent of the Commission on Appointments which shall have the following duties and functions:

(a) To determine the location of a suitable site for the construction of the said National Pantheon, and to have such site acquired, surveyed and fenced for this purpose and to delimit and set aside a portion thereof wherein shall be interred the remains of all Presidents of the Philippines and another portion wherein the remains of heroes, patriots and other great men of the country shall likewise be interred;

(b) To order and supervise the construction thereon of uniform monuments, mausoleums, or tombs as the Board may deem appropriate;

(c) To cause to be interred therein the mortal remains of all Presidents of the Philippines, the national heroes and patriots;

(d) To order and supervise the construction of a suitable road leading to the said National Pantheon from the nearest national or provincial road; and

(e) To perform such other functions as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act.
Sec. 3. The sum of one million pesos, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated out of any funds in the National Treasury not otherwise appropriated to meet the initial expenses in carrying out the provisions of this Act.

Sec. 4. The Board is authorized to open a popular subscription during a period of time not beyond December thirty-first, nineteen hundred and fifty, to be determined by the Board, in order to raise such additional funds as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this Act. For the purpose of raising such funds by popular subscription, the Board may appoint such committees as may be necessary.

The Board shall cause all the money thus raised by voluntary contribution to be deposited in one of the government depositories or banks in Manila and shall withdraw therefrom such sums as the need for them shall arise.

Sec. 5. The Board is further authorized to appoint an executive secretary, auditor and such other personnel as it may deem necessary and the compensation of which shall be fixed by said Board.
Sec. 6. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
Approved: June 16, 1948"

My gentle advice to our younger generation of patriots: Let the dead bury their dead (that's Jesus teaching us in the New Testament), and let the old (like me) die in our good time.
Instead of living in the past, look to the future! That's where you have your place, and that's where we pray our beloved country will be!


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