A total of 1,158,606 signatures in favor of allowing the late former President Ferdinand E. Marcos (FEM) to be buried at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani (LNMB) were formally submitted as a petition to the Supreme Court (SC) today, October 6, 2016.
Marcos loyalists held a unity mass in front of the SC before the presentation of signatures, interceding for a positive response towards the cause of their petition.
According to the Marcos heirs’ lawyer Atty. Hyacinth Rafael-Antonio, the steady support for FEM even 27 years after his passing shows that “there are numerous Filipinos who are in favor of the burial of the late President at the LNMB.”
The signatures are composed of those collected on-ground by loyalists and pro-Marcos groups as well as e-signatures gathered through a Change.org petition, “#ilibingNasi President Ferdinand Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani.”
E-signatures were cross-checked with the tangible petition to make sure that one person counted as one vote.
Within Metro Manila, it was loyalists like the United Marcos Loyalists in the Philippines (UMLP) and Friends of Imelda R. Marcos (FIRM) 24k, as well as other activist groups including the Kilusang Kaisipang Diwang Pilipino (KKDP) and Buong Bayan Magkaisa (BBM) Youth Movement who carried out the campaign.
In other areas, it was more localized groups like Ilocos Norte’s Sirib Ilokano Kabataan Association (SIKA) and the Bayanihan Bayan Movers−Pangasinan Organization of Genuine Inhabitants (BBM-POGI) that spearheaded the gathering of petitions.
The involvement of the BBM Youth Movement and SIKA show strong support for Marcos even among Filipino youth.
Weenter Ventura of SIKA shared, “Si President FEM ay isang inspirasyon at isang bayani para sa mga kabataan dahil sa mga nagawa niya para sa ating bansa, para sa kabataan, at para sa kalakhang Pilipino.”
Other Marcos loyalists conducted the signature campaign in other provinces like Abra, Batanes, Ifugao, Ilocos Sur, Isabela and La Union.
Meanwhile, former Kabataang Barangay (KB) officers such as Edward Chua of Leyte and CrisLindo of Agusan del Norte led the collection of signatures in their localities.
The campaign reached even Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) like those in Canada, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
Last September 18, Marcos loyalists from Australia paid a courtesy to Ilocos Norte Governor Imee R. Marcos, daughter of the late president. They had initially intended to fly home in order to attend Marcos’ burial, before the temporary restraining order (TRO) was placed by the SC on burial preparations.
Efforts for the signature campaign spanned a period of a little over one month, excluding international group BongBong Marcos Loyalists Movement, who had the initiative to begin collecting signatures immediately after President Rodrigo R. Duterte declared his favor for FEM’s interment at the LNMB.
Throughout the rest of the Philippines and other nations, “pro-libing” netizens shared the online petition link on social networking sites. Many expressed their support by using the #iLibingNa and #iLibingNaNatinhashtags.
“Those who signed are also citizens of our country whose convictions must be considered for national unity and healing to become a reality,” shared Atty. Antonio yesterday.
She also urged people to “trust that the SC will rule in accordance with law.”