“Marcos is not a hero!” – this is the battle cry of those who do not want the late dictator and former President Ferdinand Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Cemetery of Heroes). When the strongman was hurriedly buried there last week, thousands of anti-Marcos protesters took to the streets and social media to protest the ‘sneaky’ action by his family.
Many blamed the ‘atrocious’ hero’s burial for Marcos (which came with a full military ceremony and a 21-gun salute) on Pres. Rodrigo Duterte who had always been vocal about allowing his burial at the heroes’ cemetery – but did you know that former President Benigno Aquino III (whose family is a staunch enemy of the Marcoses) was OK with Marcos’ inclusion in the AFP Hall of Heroes?
While many anti-Duterte people would surely say that this must definitely be fake news, the news actually came from reputable news sources and mainstream such as GMA News.
In an article dated April 12, 2011, Abigail Valte (then deputy presidential spokesperson to Pres. Aquino) issued a press statement declaring that the Palace sees Marcos’ inclusion in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’s Hall of Heroes as a non-issue, especially because the military recognition and awards were conferred on him before he became chief executive and, later, dictator.
“These awards continue to be on the official roster of awards of the AFP. Until otherwise revoked, the awardees continue to receive appropriate recognition,” Valte said, also noting that the awardees were recognized for specific deeds that put them on this roster but that “subsequent actions” were excluded.
She added, “While there is public interest in the conferment of AFP awards, we should note these awards are generally viewed as nonpartisan and non-political in the recognition open to all recipients given the Medal of Valor as established by law.”
But Marcos did not just receive the Medal of Valor – he also had a lot of medals conferred by the military and past presidents!