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Oct 20th
Home Sections Politics An Open Letter to President Noynoy Aquino Regarding Vice President Binay’s Recommendation on the Burial Site for Ferdinand Marcos
An Open Letter to President Noynoy Aquino Regarding Vice President Binay’s Recommendation on the Burial Site for Ferdinand Marcos PDF Print E-mail
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Sections - Politics
Written by Benjamin G. Maynigo   
Monday, 20 June 2011 10:41


An Open Letter to His Excellency, President Noynoy Aquino, Regarding Vice President Binay’s Recommendation on the Burial Site for Ferdinand Marcos

Dear Mr. President:


B ased on leaked reports, Vice President Jejomar Binay has already submitted his recommendations on the burial of Marcos to you. What is being floated is that Binay recommended the following: 1) Marcos should be buried ASAP; 2) he should NOT be buried at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani; 3) he should be buried in Ilocos Norte; and 4) he should be buried with Full Military Honors.


For fear that you might misconstrue silence as acquiescence to Mr. Binay’s entire proposal; the undersigned would like to express his views for all they are worth.


The undersigned worked with your father, Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., Senator Raul Manglapus, Colonel Boni Gillego, John Sharkey of the Washington Post, Dr. Arturo Taca of St. Louis, Mo. and others in proving to the world that Mr. Marcos was no hero and a soldier who the U.S. military claimed to have committed “fraudulent, absurd, preposterous and malicious criminal acts.”


Your father and the undersigned acted as signatory witnesses to the signed testimonies of Commandant Colonel Romulo Manriquez and Adjutant General Captain Vicente Rivera of the 14th Infantry Division, USAFP – NL, under whom Marcos served which proved that Mr. Marcos’ claim of heroism in Kiangan, Mt. Province, were false and fabricated.


While the undersigned agrees with Vice President Binay with respect to recommendations 1, 2 and 3, he disagrees with the recommendation that Marcos should be buried with Full Military Honors.


If Mr. Marcos is disqualified from being buried at LNMB, he is also disqualified from being buried with Full Military Honors for the same reasons and more. The attempt of a political compromise by going around the objections to a hero’s burial through the military route is legally, morally, and even practically unsound.


VP Binay is banking on the fact that since Mr. Marcos was a soldier enlisted by the Philippine Commonwealth Army under the Command of the U.S. Military Forces, he is entitled to at least standard military honors. And since he was a former President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, he is entitled to Full Military Honors.


There are several laws, military rules and jurisprudence that you could rely on to support a fair judgment. As I explained in my letter to Mr. Binay (An Open Letter to Vice President Binay About Where to Bury Ferdinand Marcos), Philippine Laws (Republic Act 289) and AFPR G 161 374, disqualify Mr. Marcos to be buried at LNMB or any National Cemetery/Pantheon. Under the rules, because he was dishonorably deposed as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and as a Dictator through the People Power Revolution, he is also disqualified from receiving Full Military Honors.


Having served as a soldier under the United States Armed Forces, Marcos’ burial benefits as well as military honors could be subjected also to American standards, rules and jurisprudence. Title 10 Sections 985 and 1491 and Title 38 Section 2411 of the United States Code and the Timothy McVeigh case could guide you. The fact that Marcos or somebody was a soldier does not guarantee military honors. By the time of burial, it must be shown that the soldier did not dishonor his country and is not found guilty of any crime against his fellow citizens and/or the nation. If no trial is held because of death but some clear and convincing evidence proving guilt existed, he would still be disqualified from any military honors.


Terrorist Timothy McVeigh was a soldier who fought for his country. But he killed innocent civilians, dishonoring his country and the military which is duty-bound to protect civilians.


In the U.S. Military Archives, the following historical documents can be found:


1.      That the U.S. Court of Claims found that Marcos’ reparation claims for the commandeering of his alleged 2,366 heads of cattle was false and therefore, rejected;


2.      That U.S. Military investigation found that Marcos’ claim for back pay benefits for his alleged guerrilla unit, “Ang Maharlika” were  “fraudulent, absurd, preposterous and malicious criminal acts.”


3.      Disproving that Marcos’ claims for awards and medals did not exist and his alleged heroic acts in specific events never happened; and


4.      That Marcos had written documents favorable to the Japanese Occupation forces and derogatory to the U.S. Government.


In the U.S. Court System, on record is a decision by a Hawaii court ruling that victims-plaintiffs of human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship were entitled to $2 billion compensation from the Marcos ill gotten wealth that may be recovered. In fact, it was later followed by another decision to distribute $7.5 million compensation to 7,500 victims.


Clearly, under U.S. military rules, Marcos who served as a soldier under the U.S. Armed Forces is not qualified to receive any military honor. A fortiori, (with more reason), he is not entitled to Full Military Honors which is usually given to regular soldiers who died in combat.


Under Marcos, 60,000 Filipinos were kidnapped, illegally detained, and tortured. Many of the women including the current Chairman of the Commission on Human Rights were repeatedly raped by the military. Many disappeared and up to this day remain missing. Several were killed and “salvaged”. The Task Force for Detainees of the Association of Major Religious Superiors, the Amnesty International, the Red Cross and the U.S. State Department detailed and documented these atrocities. Under the Principle of Command Responsibility enunciated in the Yamashita case and in Aberca, et al vs. Ver, et al, Marcos is as guilty as those who actually committed the offenses.


Citing “violations of human rights” is too vague for the Filipino people to visualize and comprehend. But specifically describing, in all multimedia formats, the gruesome details that Mr. Marcos and his partners in crime did to these victims would make the nation realize that Marcos deserves no honor – military or otherwise.


The details would also show that Mr. Marcos and his cohorts committed not only offenses involving moral turpitude but most especially crimes against humanity. For these, not only is he disqualified to receive Full Military Honors under Philippine and U.S. military rules, he is disqualified under International Law as well.


Mr. Marcos closed Congress during Martial Law. People Power reopened it. Yet, 216 Congressmen want to bury him as a hero.


Ferdinand Marcos grabbed TV and radio stations, closed newspapers, and illegally imprisoned publishers and journalists. People Power reinstituted Freedom of the Press. Yet, the beneficiaries failed to inform and educate the current generation of these experiences so that they will not happen again. Worse, many who never saw Marcos alive and were never informed of his misdeeds are ignorantly willing to bury him as a hero.


Then-President Marcos castrated the judiciary, placing the tenure of judges at his capricious disposal. People Power made it more independent. Yet for the human rights victims, for the recovery of ill-gotten wealth, for the prosecution of corrupt officials under Marcos, the wheels of justice have been slow;


Mr. Marcos transformed the Armed Forces into his private army. He used them to massacre Filipino Muslim brothers, and non-Muslim Filipinos who were fighting for social justice. As a consequence, he caused the death of thousands of young Filipino soldiers. People Power returned the Armed Forces into professional stature. Now it is being called upon to provide military honors to him.


Your predecessors including your own mother had the opportunity to bury Marcos as a hero or with military honors. All of them never did. It was the wise and right thing to do.


Since you are called upon to make a decision, understandably aware of your bias, the undersigned suggests the following: you agree to bury Mr. Marcos as soon as possible in Ilocos Norte (not in Libingan Ng Mga Bayani) as recommended by VP Binay but without military honors.


You will not, however, object to any ceremonies that the Marcos family and their loyal friends may organize or initiate in his honor as they finally make him rest in peace.


If 216 Congressmen decide to honor him by signing a resolution to be read at the burial, it is their prerogative - in the same way that it is ours to organize an alternative Congress as provided for in the Cory Constitution using the People’s Initiative. It could also be opportune to transfer pork barrel funds to compensate human rights victims and to reinforce local development projects.


In God We Trust and In You We Bank Our Hopes!


Benjamin G. Maynigo


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