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Binay in no rush to decide on Marcos burial at Libingan


Vice President Jejomar Binay is not in a hurry to decide on whether he will allow the remains of the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery), his spokesman said Tuesday. In a text message to GMA News Online on Tuesday, Binay's spokesman Joey Salgado said that the vice president has not set any deadline for a final decision on the Marcos burial issue. "None [Binay has no deadline]. He wants to get the opinions of as many groups and sectors as possible," said Salgado. Binay is still waiting for the reply of the heads of various political parties and civil society groups on the matter, his spokesman added. Those allowed to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani are military personnel who died in line of duty or were honorably discharged, Filipino veterans, former presidents, government dignitaries, statesmen and national artists. The remains of widows of former Philippine presidents, secretaries of national defense and Armed Forces chiefs of staff are also authorized to be interred in the same plot where their husbands are buried. A survey by pollster Social Weather Stations for the first quarter of 2011, however, had earlier found a "virtually exact split opinion" between supporters and opponents of the idea to let Marcos be buried at the Heroes' Cemetery. Meanwhile, Sorsogon Rep. Salvador Escudero III, who served as agriculture minister during the Marcos regime, had earlier proposed a resolution at the House of Representatives urging President Benigno Aquino III to allow the burial of the late strongman at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Over 200 congressman have so far signed the resolution. President Benigno Aquino III, however, said he will inhibit from deciding on the matter. Instead, he had earlier announced that he was leaving the decision to Binay. The 20-year reign of former strongman Marcos ended through the People Power revolt in 1986, which at the same time put into power Aquino’s mother, the late President Corazon Aquino. Aquino’s father, Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. was a leading opposition senator and Marcos critic before martial law, and was among the strongman’s most celebrated prisoners before he was allowed into US exile in 1980. Ninoy was assassinated at the Manila International Airport on August 23, 1983 as he was returning from exile. The airport was later renamed Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in his honor. —JV, GMA News