Body of Marcos’ Mother Finally Entombed, 20 Months After Death
BATAC, Philippines (AP) _ The body of Ferdinand Marcos’ mother was entombed Sunday 20 months after she died, ending a bizarre vigil by supporters of the late president who had hoped mother and son would be buried together.
Marcos supporters used the entombment of Josefa Edralin-Marcos, who died May 4, 1988 at age 95, to denounce the government of President Corazon Aquino.
About 1,000 people, including local officials, gathered as the body of Mrs. Edralin-Marcos was placed in a glass and wood structure behind the Marcos family home, where she had been lying in state.
″We don’t want a political color to this ceremony,″ said the Rev. Domingo Nebres, who also officiated at Marcos’ entombment in Hawaii.
″We want a loving tribute to Dona Josefa...She is a woman who did not construct monuments that can be destroyed later but was the mother of a president who served us for 20 years to protect our country from communistic hands.″
Nebres recited a message from Marcos’ widow, Imelda, in exile in the United States, thanking people in this Marcos stronghold for ″accompanying my beloved Momma″ to her resting place.
Relatives said a refrigerated concrete structure will be built over the crypt next month to serve as a temporary tomb until Mrs. Edralin-Marcos can be buried permanently alongside the former president, who died Sept. 28 in exile in Hawaii.
After Mrs. Edralin-Marcos died, Marcos’ supporters demanded that Marcos be allowed to return to the country for her funeral. President Aquino refused, so the body lay in state, repeatedly embalmed.
Mrs. Aquino also refused to allow Marcos’ body to be returned to his homeland, citing national security.
Marcos’ body has been entombed in Hawaii, but his family has vowed to bring it back for burial one day in his hometown of Batac, 240 miles north of Manila.
During the Roman Catholic Mass before the entombment, Rodolfo Farinas, governor of Ilocos Norte province, said there will be no political peace in the Marcos strongholds until the former president is buried in the Philippines.
″They (government) are afraid of the fierce loyalties of the Ilocanos,″ Farinas said. ″Let us stand up. We will show them that we are loyal within the bounds of the law. Let us all join hands, let us give them an assurance, show them that nothing will go wrong if the body (of Marcos) is returned here and show them that we can be trusted.″
Former National Assembly Speaker Nicanor Yniguez, fighting back tears, said the government’s refusal to allow mother and son to be buried together was a sign of ″vindictiveness and vengeance.″
Several in the crowd wept during the ceremony. Others wore Marcos campaign T-shirts from the 1986 election that resulted in Mrs. Aquino’s rise to power.
After the vote, a military-civilian uprising forced Marcos to flee the country.
Marcos’ brother Pacifico attended the Sunday ceremony. A sister, Elizabeth Keon, died in 1986, and another sister, Fortuna, is in Hawaii.
Marcos’ father, Mariano, disappeared during World War II.
Marcos was accused of stealing up to $10 million from the Philippines during his 20-year rule, although the government of Mrs. Aquino has not filed charges against him.
A lawyer representing the Marcos family said Sunday in Switzerland that he has appealed a decision by a Zurich attorney to unblock $260 million deposited in Swiss banks by Marcos.
After an investigation lasting more than three years, the Zurich district attorney, Peter Cosandey, agreed in principle Jan. 4 to unfreeze Marcos assets in banks owned by the Swiss Credit Institute and release certain bank documents. But he said this was subject to the completion of criminal proceedings in the Philippines to prove the funds were illegally obtained.
Marcos lawyers have filed appeals at every level of Switzerland’s complex judicial system, frustrating Manila’s attempts to obtain legal assistance to recover the wealth.
Although the Swiss froze assets held by Marcos and his associates shortly after he was deposed, only $2.13 million has been handed over to the Philippines.