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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)
FROM THE MANILA STANDARD

BY VICTOR AVECILLA: AT THE SENATE, THE PACQUIAO-DE LIMA COMEDY ACT


AUGUST 15 -VICTOR AVECILLA -Manny Pacquiao was an absentee congressman. Although he was elected to attend House sessions, Pacquiao spent almost all of his time preparing for and slugging it out in the boxing ring. Why Pacquiao was not sued for shortchanging his constituency, and for drawing a salary which he obviously did not earn, is a mystery. Under the law, his extended absences should have warranted an anti-graft case against him.
Because Pacquiao was an absentee in the House, his presence in the Senate last week shocked many Filipinos watching the proceedings on television. The freshman senator was dressed to the nines, beard and all, and looked determined to disprove that he is unfit for membership in the Senate. In fact, he was able to deliver his first privilege speech. As expected, Pacquiao’s speech consisted of many sentences in broken English. From what could be discerned from his disorganized discourse, Pacquiao wanted the restoration of the death penalty because drug syndicates are not deterred by current laws from pursuing their nefarious activities. Pacquiao also cited the Bible repeatedly. There is no problem about the Bible. The problem is that the Constitution mandates the separation of Church and State. It seems inappropriate that a senator of the republic, who is expected to be aware of that constitutional mandate, based his legislative proposal on sectarian grounds. Since it is reasonable to assume that many Muslims and other non-Christians voted for Pacquiao, the senator should not anchor his legislative proposals on the Christian Bible. Pacquiao should be told that any law based solely on religious considerations is vulnerable to intense scrutiny, on constitutional grounds, in a suit before the Supreme Court. Another freshman senator, Leila De Lima, interpellated Pacquiao. This also came as a surprise because De Lima was not too keen on being interpellated when she delivered her first privilege speech as a senator. From the way Senator De Lima began her interpellation, it seemed like she was certain that she will be able to reveal to the public that although Pacquiao can practice for a speech, Pacquiao cannot answer questions relating to his speech. De Lima’s style was almost condescending. In the May 2016 election for the Senate, Pacquiao got more votes than De Lima, who placed last among 12 winning candidates. Did De Lima want to upstage Pacquiao? READ MORE...

ALSO EDITORIAL: FOR OUR OFWs - The least we can do


AUGUST 16 -AT the ground floor of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration compound in Mandaluyong City, as many as 2,000 to 3,000 overseas Filipino workers can be serviced by a so-called one-stop shop. Operations began Monday, Aug. 15. At least 14 government agencies providing services relevant to migrants’ needs are there. Among these are the Department of Foreign Affairs, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Professional Regulation Commission, Maritime Industry Authority, Home Development Mutual Fund, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, Social Security System, Philippine Statistics Authority, Bureau of Immigration, National Bureau of Investigation, Commission on Higher Education, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority and the POEA. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. A similar setup will be followed in regional offices of the Department of Labor and Employment. This is in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for public agencies to improve their front-office operations to serve the people better. And indeed if there is one segment of the population in dire need of decent government services, it would be our migrant workers. There is no dearth of horror stories about their having to go from one office to another and back again for their documents. They waste precious money on transport fare and even more precious time and energy when they should be resting or spending time with their families. It is hardly likely that our OFWs willingly explored opportunities outside the country for the sake of going abroad. Chances are, they tried to find gainful employment with adequate earnings here—and failed. It is not for lack of ability or effort that they finally decided to make the sacrifice of working in a foreign land to improve their lot. READ MORE...

ALSO: EDITORIAL - Beyond shock and awe


AUGUST 18 -In a speech at the Philippine National Police anniversary at Camp Crame on Wednesday, President Rodrigo Duterte linked a female senator to the drug menace, saying she funded the construction of her lover’s house with collections from illegal drugs in Muntinlupa—where the National Bilibid Prison, and supposedly powerful convicted drug lords, are. Later in the day, he named the senator as Leila de Lima, the former Justice secretary and Human Rights commissioner who had called for a congressional investigation into the spate of killings related to the supposed campaign against illegal drugs. The hearings are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday next week. In fact De Lima, who chairs the Senate committee on justice and human rights, has advised the President and the PNP chief, Director General Rolando dela Rosa, to follow the probe. In her open letter to the two officials, De Lima said that not all the killings were related to the government’s war against illegal drugs. But the senator, who reacted to President’s words before he actually named her, said it was a case of character assassination that would not deter her from leading next week’s probe on the killings. It is easy to be distracted by the shaming method in which the President conducts his campaign. The idea of people in high places, posturing themselves as the “conscience of the country” but who turn out to lead double lives is always fodder for gossip and derision. Shock and awe is a good way to impress upon the public the enormity of the drug problem, and beyond it, the erosion of confidence in our public officials. A swift trial that considers evidence in a real court, not that of public opinion, is the only logical next step. As a former prosecutor, President must know and inspire this.READ MORE...

ALSO: By Jojo Robles - The hatchet woman
[The woman [Leila De Lima} is no “fiscalizer,” as she claims; she’s just another high-profile political hatchet-woman in the Senate. And as far as I know, the Senate hatchet-job committee is still headed by a certain Antonio Trillanes.]


AUGUST 17 -by Jojo Robles Leila is all over the place once again. Her puppet masters must be so proud of their investment in her Senate victory. I find myself agreeing with the new senator for Bicol, Leila de Lima, when she says that she believes the hoary old theory that “scalawags” in the ranks of the national police are behind many of the killings of drug suspects to coincide with the anti-narcotics campaign of the Duterte administration. But I cannot really take De Lima’s side when she says, in the same breath, that she has “witnesses” to back up her claim in the Senate investigation that she will soon conduct. Allow me to explain: On the same day that De Lima railed against the killings yet again (with accompanying fanfare from some sectors of the media) and urged everyone from President Rodrigo Duterte on down to monitor her investigation, the agency that she used to head did something very un-De Lima-like. The Department of Justice, headed now by Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, filed charges against 88 suspects in the so-called Mamasapano Massacre—more than a year and a half after the gory killing of 44 members of the Special Action Force by rebel forces in Maguindanao. The filing of the formal charges against members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other suspects was something De Lima was never able to do. As late as January this year, when the Senate was already demanding that the DoJ lodge formal charges in connection with the massacre, no one was still being held responsible for the heinous crime by the department. De Lima had earlier enumerated unidentified Moro suspects (all of them surnamed with the generic “Doe”) that she wanted held responsible; none of them were really named by her or her department—or by her successor in office last January, Emmanuel Caparas. This is why I can’t really trust De Lima to get to the bottom of the supposed extra-judicial killings of drug suspects. She couldn’t even get moving on the Mamasapano case when she had the authority to do so; what makes her think that now, as a mere senator with no real authority to lodge actual charges against crime suspects, she can actually do so? It’s just like De Lima’s well-publicized campaign against drugs and other contraband in the New Bilibid Prison. Not only did she not make a dent in the thriving trade in all things illegal inside Muntinlupa, her term has become synonymous with the blossoming of the narcotics “industry” behind bars, of all places. READ MORE ABOUT (Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III is working to bring home or to find new jobs for upwards of 9,000 Filipinos stranded by company closures in Saudi Arabia) ...

ALSO: By Emil Jurado - Law and the greater good
[What surprises me is that most of those protesting Marcos’ burial were not even born at that time. How could they know what really happened? They must have been reading and hearing about the martial law days in the Daily Inquirer and ABS-CBN, both Marcos haters and Aquino lovers. I say Marcos truly and finally deserves to be buried at the LNMB. Only the Supreme Court can prevent it now. We must put closure to this lingering controversy. What will we tell our children later on?]


AUGUST 17 -by Emil Jurado THE burial of the late strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos continues to divide the nation. But if we have to move forward, we have to have closure on this matter. This is why I admire and respect President Rodrigo Duterte as a leader. We have longed for this kind of leadership in the past and we have been frustrated with those who came before him. I think it is important to remind everyone on who exactly can be buried at the Libingan: AFP Regulations G K61-373, subject: Allocation of Cemetery Plots at the LNMB issued in April 1986 by GHQ AFP under then-AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel V. Ramos and then-President Corazon C. Aquino, prescribes who are entitled to be interred: Pursuant to the aforecited AFP Regulations, re-published on 11 September 2000 as AFP Regulations G 161-375, there are 10 categories of deceased persons entitled to be buried at the LNBM, namely: Medal of Valor Awardees; Presidents or Commanders-in-Chief, AFP; Secretaries of National Defense; Chief of Staff, AFP; General/Flag Officers of the AFP; Active and retired military personnel of the AFP; Former AFP members who literally entered/joined the PNP and the PCG; Veterans of Philippine Revolution of 1896, WWI, WWII, and recognized guerrillas. Government dignitaries, Statesmen, National Artists and other deceased persons whose internment or reinternment has been approved by the Commander-in-Chief, Congress or the Secretary of National Defense; For Presidents, Secretaries of National Defense, widows of former Presidents, secretaries of National Defense, and as Veteran of World War II. The AFP was very clear about former President Marcos being entitled to be interred at the LNMB on any of the following categories: as Medal of Valor Awardee, as former President, as a soldier, as former Secretary of National Defense, and as veteran of World War II. “In regard disqualifications,” the ruling added, “Marcos was neither dishonorably discharged nor convicted with finality of an offense involving moral turpitude. While he was charged with several offenses, he was not convicted. Thus, he died an innocent man.”  The AFP regulation that the LNMB is military cemetery (just like the Arlington Cemetery in the United States) intended primarily for military personnel and veterans. ONE DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A HERO TO QUALIFY TO BE BURIED THERE ...” (caps mine). The fact is that presidential approval is not required for the interment of a person meeting the qualifications. The late Cory Aquino made an exception for Marcos; subsequently, President Ramos also tried to make it appear obligatory. It is only now, with President Duterte, that we have a President who is firm and resolute on the matter. So, what is the beef of Marcos haters? That Marcos was not a hero, nor a medal of valor awardee, nor even a guerilla veteran? Santa Banana, he was a President, a former National Defense Secretary, former Chief of Staff and Commander-in-chief and a soldier. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

The Pacquiao-De Lima comedy act


by Victor Avecilla

MANILA, AUGUST 22, 2016 (MANILA STANDARD) posted August 16, 2016 at 12:01 am by Victor Avecilla - Manny Pacquiao was an absentee congressman. Although he was elected to attend House sessions, Pacquiao spent almost all of his time preparing for and slugging it out in the boxing ring.

Why Pacquiao was not sued for shortchanging his constituency, and for drawing a salary which he obviously did not earn, is a mystery. Under the law, his extended absences should have warranted an anti-graft case against him.

Because Pacquiao was an absentee in the House, his presence in the Senate last week shocked many Filipinos watching the proceedings on television. The freshman senator was dressed to the nines, beard and all, and looked determined to disprove that he is unfit for membership in the Senate. In fact, he was able to deliver his first privilege speech.

As expected, Pacquiao’s speech consisted of many sentences in broken English. From what could be discerned from his disorganized discourse, Pacquiao wanted the restoration of the death penalty because drug syndicates are not deterred by current laws from pursuing their nefarious activities. Pacquiao also cited the Bible repeatedly.

There is no problem about the Bible. The problem is that the Constitution mandates the separation of Church and State. It seems inappropriate that a senator of the republic, who is expected to be aware of that constitutional mandate, based his legislative proposal on sectarian grounds. Since it is reasonable to assume that many Muslims and other non-Christians voted for Pacquiao, the senator should not anchor his legislative proposals on the Christian Bible. Pacquiao should be told that any law based solely on religious considerations is vulnerable to intense scrutiny, on constitutional grounds, in a suit before the Supreme Court.


DE LIMA

Another freshman senator, Leila De Lima, interpellated Pacquiao. This also came as a surprise because De Lima was not too keen on being interpellated when she delivered her first privilege speech as a senator.

From the way Senator De Lima began her interpellation, it seemed like she was certain that she will be able to reveal to the public that although Pacquiao can practice for a speech, Pacquiao cannot answer questions relating to his speech. De Lima’s style was almost condescending.

In the May 2016 election for the Senate, Pacquiao got more votes than De Lima, who placed last among 12 winning candidates. Did De Lima want to upstage Pacquiao?

READ MORE...

Actually, De Lima performed more miserably than Pacquiao did, not because Pacquiao did better, but because De Lima’s remarks were legally unsound for a lawyer.

De Lima started by announcing that she is personally against the death penalty. For her, the death penalty has all the badges of a cruel or unusual punishment prohibited by the Constitution.

It seems that De Lima forgot that she was elected to enact laws in accord with the Constitution, and not to object to laws for personal reasons, especially reasons which are incompatible with the charter.

Anyway, De Lima threw many questions at Pacquiao.

First, De Lima asked if Pacquiao was aware of an existing treaty by which the Philippines bound itself to the international community to do away with the death penalty. Pacquiao admitted he had heard of that treaty, but did not elaborate on it.

De Lima then asked Pacquiao for statistics to support his proposition that the death penalty will be an effective deterrent against drug-related offenses and other heinous crimes. She was almost visibly delighted when Pacquiao was unable to cite figures.

Pacquiao does not understand the Constitution because he has no actual involvement with it. As stated earlier, De Lima is a lawyer and is expected to know what the Constitution is all about. From her remarks and style of questioning during the interpellation, De Lima gave herself away.

In the first place, the Constitution does not prohibit the death penalty, and even allows Congress to impose it for heinous crimes. If the Constitution itself allows the imposition of the death penalty in certain instances, then the death penalty cannot be considered as unconstitutional punishment. That is why even if the Constitution disallows the imposition of any cruel or unusual punishment for crimes, the death penalty cannot be considered cruel or unusual punishment within the context of the constitutional ban, precisely because it is allowed by charter itself.

Thus put, the view that the death penalty is a cruel or unusual punishment, as stressed by De Lima, is untenable.

Next, the Constitution can only be amended or modified with the consent of the Filipino people expressed through a plebiscite. A treaty cannot supersede, amend or modify any provision of the Constitution because a treaty does not enjoy the express consent of the people. Surely, a document that does not have the direct approval of the people cannot take precedence over one which has, like the Constitution.

Moreover, the inferior status of a treaty to that of the Constitution is underscored in the charter itself. Under the charter, the Supreme Court has the power to declare a treaty unconstitutional.

In other words, a treaty cannot be cited against the Constitution.

Since the Constitution does not prohibit the imposition of the death penalty and even allows it in certain instances, the treaty cited by De Lima is not a valid impediment against the restoration of the death penalty.

De Lima wanted statistics which support the view that the death penalty is an effective deterrent against drug syndicates. If De Lima wants empirical justification, she should take a look at what repeatedly took place in the national penitentiary during her watch as Justice Secretary. Convicted drug lords, snug in the knowledge that they cannot be put to death, continued their criminal activities inside prison, and in living conditions almost akin to five-star hotel accommodations, in violation of prison rules De Lima failed to enforce in the first place!

Perhaps the ongoing investigation of that unprecedented prison anomaly will disclose the real reasons why De Lima is very much against the restoration of the death penalty.

WATCH VIDEO: DE LIMA INTERPOLATES PACQUIAO ON 'Death Penalty'

 
https://youtu.be/88ghZGuT1a4


EDITORIAL: The least we can do posted August 16, 2016 at 12:01 am

AT the ground floor of the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration compound in Mandaluyong City, as many as 2,000 to 3,000 overseas Filipino workers can be serviced by a so-called one-stop shop. Operations began Monday, Aug. 15.

At least 14 government agencies providing services relevant to migrants’ needs are there. Among these are the Department of Foreign Affairs, Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Professional Regulation Commission, Maritime Industry Authority, Home Development Mutual Fund, Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, Social Security System, Philippine Statistics Authority, Bureau of Immigration, National Bureau of Investigation, Commission on Higher Education, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority and the POEA.

The center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. A similar setup will be followed in regional offices of the Department of Labor and Employment.

This is in response to President Rodrigo Duterte’s call for public agencies to improve their front-office operations to serve the people better. And indeed if there is one segment of the population in dire need of decent government services, it would be our migrant workers.

There is no dearth of horror stories about their having to go from one office to another and back again for their documents. They waste precious money on transport fare and even more precious time and energy when they should be resting or spending time with their families.

It is hardly likely that our OFWs willingly explored opportunities outside the country for the sake of going abroad. Chances are, they tried to find gainful employment with adequate earnings here—and failed. It is not for lack of ability or effort that they finally decided to make the sacrifice of working in a foreign land to improve their lot.

READ MORE...

For many years, the government has given our OFWs ample recognition, citing their contributions to the economy in terms of dollar reserves and the personal consumption and investments that they boost. Their poignant stories of loss, risk, and sacrifice have also been highlighted. Anything for the family—so goes the narrative.

The recognition has not been matched by action to provide them better options. Attempts have been, at best, only halfway successful. Poverty and inequality here at home have in fact worsened, prompting more to go away—and stay away.

This new administration promises a lot. While we await for the promises to materialize —if they will—the government can at the very least refrain from compounding the hassles and inconveniences for our migrant workers. These small things count for a lot. Small things like this one-stop shop.

We have yet to see whether it achieves its purpose and points to better things in store for the migrants, or whether it would become just another thoughtful idea, novel at first but unsustained and useless in the long run.


EDITORIAL: Beyond shock and awe posted August 18, 2016 at 12:01 am

In a speech at the Philippine National Police anniversary at Camp Crame on Wednesday, President Rodrigo Duterte linked a female senator to the drug menace, saying she funded the construction of her lover’s house with collections from illegal drugs in Muntinlupa—where the National Bilibid Prison, and supposedly powerful convicted drug lords, are.

Later in the day, he named the senator as Leila de Lima, the former Justice secretary and Human Rights commissioner who had called for a congressional investigation into the spate of killings related to the supposed campaign against illegal drugs.

The hearings are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday next week. In fact De Lima, who chairs the Senate committee on justice and human rights, has advised the President and the PNP chief, Director General Rolando dela Rosa, to follow the probe.

In her open letter to the two officials, De Lima said that not all the killings were related to the government’s war against illegal drugs.

But the senator, who reacted to President’s words before he actually named her, said it was a case of character assassination that would not deter her from leading next week’s probe on the killings.

It is easy to be distracted by the shaming method in which the President conducts his campaign. The idea of people in high places, posturing themselves as the “conscience of the country” but who turn out to lead double lives is always fodder for gossip and derision.

Shock and awe is a good way to impress upon the public the enormity of the drug problem, and beyond it, the erosion of confidence in our public officials.

A swift trial that considers evidence in a real court, not that of public opinion, is the only logical next step. As a former prosecutor, President must know and inspire this.


The hatchet woman posted August 17, 2016 at 12:01 am by Jojo Robles


by Jojo Robles

Leila is all over the place once again. Her puppet masters must be so proud of their investment in her Senate victory.

I find myself agreeing with the new senator for Bicol, Leila de Lima, when she says that she believes the hoary old theory that “scalawags” in the ranks of the national police are behind many of the killings of drug suspects to coincide with the anti-narcotics campaign of the Duterte administration. But I cannot really take De Lima’s side when she says, in the same breath, that she has “witnesses” to back up her claim in the Senate investigation that she will soon conduct.

Allow me to explain: On the same day that De Lima railed against the killings yet again (with accompanying fanfare from some sectors of the media) and urged everyone from President Rodrigo Duterte on down to monitor her investigation, the agency that she used to head did something very un-De Lima-like.

The Department of Justice, headed now by Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre, filed charges against 88 suspects in the so-called Mamasapano Massacre—more than a year and a half after the gory killing of 44 members of the Special Action Force by rebel forces in Maguindanao. The filing of the formal charges against members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and other suspects was something De Lima was never able to do.

As late as January this year, when the Senate was already demanding that the DoJ lodge formal charges in connection with the massacre, no one was still being held responsible for the heinous crime by the department. De Lima had earlier enumerated unidentified Moro suspects (all of them surnamed with the generic “Doe”) that she wanted held responsible; none of them were really named by her or her department—or by her successor in office last January, Emmanuel Caparas.

This is why I can’t really trust De Lima to get to the bottom of the supposed extra-judicial killings of drug suspects. She couldn’t even get moving on the Mamasapano case when she had the authority to do so; what makes her think that now, as a mere senator with no real authority to lodge actual charges against crime suspects, she can actually do so?

It’s just like De Lima’s well-publicized campaign against drugs and other contraband in the New Bilibid Prison. Not only did she not make a dent in the thriving trade in all things illegal inside Muntinlupa, her term has become synonymous with the blossoming of the narcotics “industry” behind bars, of all places.

READ MORE...

The sad truth about De Lima is that she is hopelessly partisan. She will not lift a finger to go after her political masters (like when she protected then President Noynoy Aquino in the aftermath of Mamasapano), but will defy the Supreme Court itself (like in the case of the disregarded restraining order that allowed Gloria Arroyo to travel), if that is what these same masters of hers want.

The woman is no “fiscalizer,” as she claims; she’s just another high-profile political hatchet-woman in the Senate. And as far as I know, the Senate hatchet-job committee is still headed by a certain Antonio Trillanes.

* * *

Far away from the political acrobatics in Manila, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III is working to bring home or to find new jobs for upwards of 9,000 Filipinos stranded by company closures in Saudi Arabia, where more than a million of our overseas workers toil. Bello’s latest mission, after the Saudi king approved the waiving of the fees of the distressed workers, is to secure commitments from Saudi companies and authorities that the unpaid wages of the stranded Filipinos will be given, whether they return home or find jobs in other companies in the Middle Eastern state.

Bello told me how he has been given blanket authority to aid the stricken Filipinos, many of whom don’t even know how to find their next meal or a roof over their heads at night. And Duterte has ordered the release of millions from the President’s social fund to pay for the effort, apart from directing the various agencies involved in helping Filipinos abroad to spend their own funds.

Before Bello left, he quietly inaugurated the one-stop service center at the offices of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration at the corner of Edsa and Ortigas Avenue. The center permanently locates satellite offices of practically all the government agencies that overseas workers have to transact with and get papers from and has been drawing raves from the people who used to have to go all over Metro Manila just to secure the needed permits to work abroad.

Longtime OFW welfare rights advocate Susan “Toots” Ople is amazed at the actions of the silent but very effective new labor secretary, who is also involved in the peace talks initiated by the Duterte government with rebel groups. “Kaya naman pala gawin e,” an admiring Ople told me, apropos of the Saudi rescue effort and the new one-stop center.

As a longtime believer in the lack of empathy of the previous administration and the need for the return of simple common sense in government, I agree wholeheartedly with Ople. All it takes really for a government to succeed is a genuine desire to help our countrymen and the work ethic to get things done.


Law and the greater good posted August 17, 2016 at 12:01 am by Emil Jurado


by Emil Jurado

THE burial of the late strongman Ferdinand E. Marcos continues to divide the nation. But if we have to move forward, we have to have closure on this matter.

This is why I admire and respect President Rodrigo Duterte as a leader. We have longed for this kind of leadership in the past and we have been frustrated with those who came before him.

I think it is important to remind everyone on who exactly can be buried at the Libingan:

AFP Regulations G K61-373, subject: Allocation of Cemetery Plots at the LNMB issued in April 1986 by GHQ AFP under then-AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Fidel V. Ramos and then-President Corazon C. Aquino, prescribes who are entitled to be interred:

Pursuant to the aforecited AFP Regulations, re-published on 11 September 2000 as AFP Regulations G 161-375, there are 10 categories of deceased persons entitled to be buried at the LNBM, namely:

Medal of Valor Awardees;

Presidents or Commanders-in-Chief, AFP; Secretaries of National Defense; Chief of Staff, AFP; General/Flag Officers of the AFP;

Active and retired military personnel of the AFP; Former AFP members who literally entered/joined the PNP and the PCG; Veterans of Philippine Revolution of 1896, WWI, WWII, and recognized guerrillas. Government dignitaries, Statesmen, National Artists and other deceased persons whose internment or reinternment has been approved by the Commander-in-Chief, Congress or the Secretary of National Defense;

For Presidents, Secretaries of National Defense, widows of former Presidents, secretaries of National Defense, and as Veteran of World War II.

The AFP was very clear about former President Marcos being entitled to be interred at the LNMB on any of the following categories: as Medal of Valor Awardee, as former President, as a soldier, as former Secretary of National Defense, and as veteran of World War II.

“In regard disqualifications,” the ruling added, “Marcos was neither dishonorably discharged nor convicted with finality of an offense involving moral turpitude. While he was charged with several offenses, he was not convicted. Thus, he died an innocent man.”

The AFP regulation that the LNMB is military cemetery (just like the Arlington Cemetery in the United States) intended primarily for military personnel and veterans. ONE DOES NOT HAVE TO BE A HERO TO QUALIFY TO BE BURIED THERE ...” (caps mine).

The fact is that presidential approval is not required for the interment of a person meeting the qualifications. The late Cory Aquino made an exception for Marcos; subsequently, President Ramos also tried to make it appear obligatory. It is only now, with President Duterte, that we have a President who is firm and resolute on the matter.

So, what is the beef of Marcos haters? That Marcos was not a hero, nor a medal of valor awardee, nor even a guerilla veteran? Santa Banana, he was a President, a former National Defense Secretary, former Chief of Staff and Commander-in-chief and a soldier.

READ MORE...

Most of those protesting claim that Marcos is no hero and should not be buried at the cemetery reserved only for heroes. They should be told that among those buried there was Shadow, the favorite dog of the late President Cory. Just what justified a dog to be buried among those qualified to be buried there is something else for the books.

How did Marcos get his Medal of Valor?

Records show that he and a band of soldiers refused to surrender to the Japanese Occupation forces when the combined forces of Americans and Filipino soldiers fought in Bataan for three months.

RECOLLECTIONS

My late brother Willie Jurado was also in Bataan as a volunteer soldier and was then with the group of Marcos, who had to swim across a river to make good their escape from Bataan and that dreaded Death March from Bataan to Capas, Tarlac.

Willie did not know how to swim and was left behind to surrender, and subsequently was forced to join the Death March on the Capas Concentration Camp where he almost died, because he had caught malaria and dysentery. I know all these because Willie told me so, and because my mother went to Capas from Manila to provide food and clothes for Willie. Willie came home after those who survived the death march were amnestied. This was also the case with my late eldest late brother Desi, who was incarcerated at Fort Santiago for eight months for being a member of the underground movement against the Japanese.

It was because of the exploits of Marcos in Bataan that he was later on awarded the Medal of Valor. Marcos later on formed the “Maharlika Guerrilla Movements,” which Marcos haters say never existed. In 1943, Marcos went to the North and joined the 14th Infantry of the guerrilla movement, as did my two elder brothers,

Marcos, with the rank of major, was then operating in the guerrilla movement in the Cagayan provinces, in Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya.

My recollection of Marcos as a guerrilla veteran was when I saw him at Camp Spencer in Luna, La Union. It was here where my two elder brothers also had their headquarters.

After the rape of Manila, when the Americans liberated the city, the Japanese Forces led by General Toshio Yamashita had to retreat to the Cordilleras to make their last stand. And that’s where the crucial Battle of Bessang Pass occurred. Desi led an assault team (he was then a lieutenant of the 3rd Battalion of the 121st Infantry under Col. Russel Volckman, and the late Major Conrado Rigor was battalion commander.)

The only hindrance was an uphill pass that must be taken. While he may not have been there in the Battle of Bessang Pass, it was the 14th Infantry led by Marcos that did the “flanking movement” in Nueva Vizcaya to prevent Yamashita was escaping from his Cordillera hideout.

These are all my recollections of the last days of the Japanese Occupation. I must have been 17 to 18 years old then, living with my parents in Bangar, La Union.

What surprises me is that most of those protesting Marcos’ burial were not even born at that time. How could they know what really happened? They must have been reading and hearing about the martial law days in the Daily Inquirer and ABS-CBN, both Marcos haters and Aquino lovers.

I say Marcos truly and finally deserves to be buried at the LNMB. Only the Supreme Court can prevent it now.

We must put closure to this lingering controversy. What will we tell our children later on?


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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