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Why PNoy copped out

/ 07:08 PM May 18, 2011

Less than three months before the May 2010 Philippine presidential elections, candidate Noynoy (PNoy) Aquino spoke at a Makati forum and “unequivocally rejected the idea of allowing a state and hero’s burial for the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos” (Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 24, 2010).

“I would like to apologize to the relatives and those who love Mr. Marcos but we still carry the memories of his long years in office, from 1965 to 1986. What has he done that is so special that makes him deserving to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani?” Aquino asked.

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As Gil Cabacungan reported, Aquino said his family and supporters had celebrated the Edsa People Power Revolution of 1986 for the past 24 years because this has been the “defining moment of the country’s departure from the darkness.”

Elaborating on this point, PNoy added that the country continued to suffer from problems that were created under Marcos’ rule and the promises he made that he turned his back on. “Why should we honor him by burying him at the Libingan ng mga Bayani?”

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More than a year after Aquino won the presidency, the question he asked then is asked of him now.

PNoy’s supporters, especially overseas Filipinos, are puzzled at why it is even an issue. If former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo would not allow Marcos to be buried in the Libingan during her 9 years in office, even if by doing so it would create a precedent for her to be similarly buried there, then why would PNoy even consider it?

According to columnist Amando Doronilla, “the issue of that past came to a head on February 15, when the late dictator’s son, Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr., had the gall to call for the burial of his father at Libingan ng mga Bayani (Cemetery of Heroes), on the grounds that he was a war hero and the longest-serving President of the country (from 1965 to 1986).”

While the sons of Moammar Khadafy and Hosni Mubarak may try to use Bongbong’s “longest serving” argument when they lobby for their fathers to be buried in their country’s heroes cemetery, it is not even debatable that Marcos was not a war hero as his claim is not supported by any US military record. Even though he claimed in his biography that he “single-handedly delayed the fall of Bataan by three months”, the fact is he was never even in Bataan before its fall.

Unfortunately, PNoy copped out and passed the issue on to Vice-President Jejomar Binay. Was this “abnegation of responsibility” the advice he received from his Executive Secretary, Jojo Ochoa, the law partner of Bongbong’s wife?

Binay then sought to obtain the people’s sentiment on this issue by sending out a letter to the 130 political parties accredited by the Comelec in the last elections to gauge their position on whether Marcos should be buried in the Libingan. In a statement released on May 10, 2011, the Office of the Vice President (OVP) reported that not one single political party responded to Binay’s query.

So why is this even an issue?

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According to Candy Cruz, the daughter of Marcos’ former Ambassador J.V. Cruz, this renewed controversy is all thanks to “wily Imee”. In a recent Facebook message, Candy wrote: “my late Dad did tell me that those medals were fake. I honestly believe that wily Imee succeeded in sweet talking PNoy. Na bola sya. She’s so good at that—the “best” politician among them. A combination of a brilliant sense of humor and gift of the gab… Everyone knows how Imee likes to impress on everyone about her closeness to PNoy during their days in Congress.”

Perhaps PNoy should read the published decision of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals about his friend, Imee. In Trajano v. Ferdinand Marcos, Imee Marcos-Manotoc et al (978 F. 2d 493), Agapita Trajano, a Philippine citizen who lived in Hawaii, filed suit in 1986 in federal court in Honolulu against Marcos and Imee “for the torture and wrongful death of Trajano’s son, Archimedes, in the Philippines on August 31, 1977.”

According to the Court synopsis of the facts, “in August of 1977, Ferdinand Marcos was President of the Philippines, Marcos-Manotoc was the National Chairman of the Kabataang Baranggay, and Fabian Ver was in charge of military intelligence. Archimedes Trajano was a student at the Mapua Institute of Technology. On the 31st of August, Trajano went to an open forum discussion at which Marcos-Manotoc was speaking. When Trajano asked a question about her appointment as director of an organization, he was kidnapped, interrogated, and tortured to death by military intelligence personnel who were acting under Ver’s direction, pursuant to martial law declared by Marcos, and under the authority of Ver, Marcos, and Marcos-Manotoc. He was tortured and murdered for his political beliefs and activities. Marcos-Manotoc controlled the police and military intelligence personnel who tortured and murdered Trajano, knew they were taking him to be tortured, and caused Trajano’s death.”

The Ninth Circuit Court pointedly rejected Imee Marcos-Manotoc’s defense of “sovereign immunity” even though it noted that “Marcos-Manotoc concedes that she controlled the military intelligence personnel who tortured and murdered Trajano, and in turn that she was acting under color of the martial law declared by then-President Marcos.”

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the Honolulu district court’s award of $2.5 million in punitive damages against Imee Marcos-Manotoc in addition to $1.25 million for mental anguish to Agapita Trajano as well as $246,966 in attorney’s fees and costs.

Mr. President, will you allow your personal friendship with Imee to overturn what you once called the “defining moment of the country’s departure from the darkness”?

(For more information on the Ninth Circuit decision against Imee Marcos, please check out: http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F2/978/493/183067 . Send your comments to Rodel50@aol.com or mail them to the Law Offices of Rodel Rodis at 2429 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127 or call 415.334.7800).

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