'Like a thief in the night': VP Leni, lawmakers, nation shocked and upset over 'surprise' Marcos burial

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A busy Wednesday for Vice President Leni Robredo today, as she started her day with delivering a keynote message in the AIM Breakfast Forum – [email protected] at the Asian Institute of Management, Makati City.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Vice President Leni Robredo and lawmakers expressed shock and anger at the "surprise" burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on Friday.

The covert manner in which the strongman was buried is in keeping with the status of the Marcos family as thieves who stole from the nation, they said.

"Like a thief in the night, the Marcos family deliberately hid the information of burying former President Marcos today from the Filipino people," Robredo said in a statement.

"This is nothing new to the Marcoses - they who had hidden wealth, hidden human rights abuses, and now, a hidden burial - with complete disrespect for the rule of law," said Robredo, who narrowly won the vice presidency over Marcos' son, former senator Bongbong Marcos.

This was echoed by Senate President Pro Tempore Franklin Drilon, who said Marcos' burial is "reminiscent of the dark days of Martial Law."

"Like what Marcos did for 21 years, he caught us off-guard like a thief in the night," he said.

"His burial is anything but noble. Even in death, he is a thief," added Drilon, who began his career in government under President Corazon Aquino in 1986.

Aquino was swept into the presidency by a popular bloodless uprising in February 1986 known as the People Power Revolution that ended 21 years of Marcos rule.

Filipinos were shocked when news of the funeral began to spread mid-morning Friday. Marcos was laid to rest at noon.

Robredo noted that the Marcos family's decision to go ahead with the burial defied the law because the Supreme Court ruling handed down on November 8 was not yet final and executory.

Following the high court's controversial decision which paved the way for Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, several motions to hold the decision were filed by groups opposed to his burial there.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, a young student activist in the waning years of the Marcos dictatorship, lamented how Marcos "stole from the nation until the end."

"Marcos' fake hero's burial is a stolen moment [Ang kanyang pekeng hero's burial ay isang nakaw na sandali]," said Hontiveros in a statement in Tagalog.

Others warned Filipinos against history being rewritten and the horrors of Marcos rule repeated.

The "sinister burial" is now part of Philippine history, said Senator Bam Aquino, a nephew of former President Cory Aquino, and a cousin of former President Noynoy Aquino, whose term ended in June 2016.  The senator, like his uncle and Drilon, belong to the Liberal Party.

He urged Filipinos to be vigilant so that "the bloody mistakes of the past" are not repeated.

The fight must continue against the Marcoses, said Senator Francis Pangilinan, also an LP member.

"They may have won this battle but the war is far from over," Pangilinan said, adding that Marcos' burial will only lead to further divisiveness and conflict.

Senators Hontiveros, Aquino, Drilon, and Panglinan were among eight senators who voted last week to adopt a resolution opposing Marcos' burial. But the resolution failed to pass because it did not reach the required 11 votes.

Former partylist representative Neri Colmenares, who was among the petitioners against Marcos' burial in the heroes' cemetery, said they will continue their fight.

In an interview with CNN Philippines, Colmenares said the sudden burial was done to preempt anti-Marcos protests.

Filipinos took to social media to condemn the burial as cowardly

After the 1986 revolution, Marcos and his family lived in exile in Hawaii. The strongman died on September 28, 1989. His remains were allowed to be brought back to his home province of Batac, Ilocos Sur in 1993 by former President Fidel Ramos.

Ramos is a cousin of Marcos and chief of the Philippine Constabulary during  Martial Law.  He later on threw his support for Aquino and the opposition.  He is one of the key figures credited for the success of the People Power Revolution.

LOOK: Marcos laid to rest at Libingan ng mga Bayani

Marcos supporters, on the other hand, were glad that the late president was finally laid to rest at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Pro-Marcos groups gathered outside the LNMB while the private burial was ongoing.

Some supporters on social media expressed how thankful they are for the burial, which they said marks the start of national healing.