On Friday, November 18, news broke out that the remains of the late President Ferdinand Marcos would be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) on that day too. The burial was hurried and hushed, as only a select number of people were privy to the event.
The authorities said that the Marcos family wanted to keep things "private." Indeed, most media outfits only got wind of the burial mere hours before it was supposed to occur.
ABS-CBN News correspondent Chiara Zambrano reported that "representatives of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) held a meeting about the burial on Thursday night, November 17, which stretched to the early morning."
Zambrano noted: "Some in the AFP thought that what would happen on Friday was just a rehearsal, only realizing later on that it was not a rehearsal but the actual Marcos burial."
Anti-Marcos protesters were blindsided by the burial.
That explains why on Friday morning, only one anti-Marcos protester showed up at the gates of the LNMB: 22-year-old Nicole Aliasas.
"According to Aliasas, she took a few hours off from her work at a fashion event in the Bonifacio Global City as soon as she heard the news of Marcos' discreet burial," reports Kat Domingo on ABS-CBN News Online.
"Since nasa BGC na rin naman ako, I said I'll go [there] even if mag-isa ako, even if walang organized protest," she said. ("I thought that since I was already in BGC, I might as well go there even if I'm alone, even if there's no organized protest.")
A photo taken by Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent Tarra Quismundo shows Aliasas raising her fist in protest outside LNMB.
— Tarra Quismundo (@TarraINQ) November 18, 2016
Later, though, Aliasas was seen weeping.
She told ABS-CBN News, "I am mad because we allowed Marcos to be buried in this sacred ground intended for honorable men."
The report noted: "Aliasas, who was not yet born when Marcos declared military rule in 1972, doesn't have relatives who were martial law victims." Nevertheless, she expresses her sympathy and support for those who suffered the horrors of that time.
"I feel for all the torture victims of the Martial Law even if I am not directly related to them. They [fought for] our freedom," she said.
The issue of Marcos burial at the LNMB has been controversial, as the former president and dictator is responsible for declaring martial law during his reign. Numerous human rights violations were committed during that period.
Marcos, who was president for 20 years, is also known to have enriched himself, his family members, and cronies from the nation's coffers.
That said, the Marcos family still insisted that he had every right to be buried at LNMB, arguing that he was not only a president but also a soldier and war veteran. The Supreme Court agreed with them, voting 9-5 in favor of the LNMB burial for the former dictator.
However, martial law survivors and the relatives of those killed during the era pointed out that the matter could not be resolved using mere legalese alone. Marcos had also faked his war records.