By Amita O. Legaspi
Source: GMA News

As far as Malacañang was concerned, the inclusion of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’s Hall of Heroes was a non-issue.

In a press statement, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte noted that Marcos was given the military recognition even before he became the chief executive

She even enumerated the awards conferred to the former president.

“These awards continue to be on the official roster of awards of the AFP. Until otherwise revoked, the awardees continue to receive appropriate recognition,” she said, adding that the AFP recognizes awardees for the specific deed that put them on the roster.

She said “subsequent actions” of the recipient are excluded in the AFP’s recognition.

Marcos, president for 20 years, ruled the country with an iron fist when he declared martial law in 1972. Scores of people were arrested, tortured and killed during that period. Marcos and his family were also accused of abusing their power and using government resources to advance their interest.

Marcos was dethroned in 1986 at the height of the historic People Power Revolution. He was replaced by Corazon Aquino, mother of incumbent President Benigno Aquino III.

Among the awards given to Marcos was a Medal of Valor citation issued on October 16, 1958, during the administration of President Carlos Garcia, when the former was still a representative of the first district of Ilocos Norte.

The citation was by order of the Secretary of National Defense and signed by then Armed Force chief of staff Lt. Gen. Alfonso Arellano.

Valte said the Medal of Valor is conferred by authority of the President of the Philippines and the regulations concerning its conferment are stated in AFP Regulations G131-053 issued on July 1, 1986.

She added the controversies concerning Marcos’ awards as researched by historian Al McCoy and the late Bonifacio Gillego concern, mainly, the former President’s US awards.

“Philippine awards remain post-war conferments during the time Marcos began his public life up to his being a Senate President,” Valte said.

Marcos was also conferred a Gold Cross medal in 1947 when he was a technical assistant to then President Manuel Roxas; Distinguished Conduct Star in 1948; Philippine Legion of Honor by President Elpidio Quirino in 1950; First Bronze Anahaw Leaf to the Distinguished Conduct Star, the Distinguished Service Star; First, Second and Third Bronze Anahaw Leaves to the Gold Cross from October to December 1963 by President Diosdado Macapagal.

Only the Second Bronze Anahaw Leaf to the Distinguished Conduct Star was awarded while Marcos was a President in 1983, Valte said.

“While there is public interest in the conferment of AFP awards, we should note these awards are generally viewed as nonpartisan and non-political in the recognition open to all recipients given the Medal of Valor as established by law,” Valte said.

She added the proposals on the possible burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani remain at the hands of Vice President Jejomar Binay.

“The Vice President has been tasked to study the issue and decide the matter,” she said.