In a rare interview granted by Celia Diaz Laurel to CNN Philippines, the matriarch of the Laurel family, during the 88th Birth Anniversary of former Vice President Salvador H. Laurel last Nov 18, 2016 she called for unity among Filipinos. She said that we should all move forward, learn from the past and unite for the future of the Philippines. “This is what Doy Laurel would have wanted if he were still alive today.”
The simple and sublime celebration of Doy Laurel coincided with the controversial burial of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani where the former Vice President is also at rest.
As history would have it, Doy Laurel and Ferdinand Marcos were at the opposite sides of the political divide – Laurel being a staunch leader of the opposition united under his UNIDO party and Marcos the strongman who was then ruling the Philippines. Both Laurel and Marcos are members of the Upsilon Sigma Phi of the University of the Philippines, and despite being on opposite sides and of opposite beliefs would be courteous and respectful to one another because of their brotherly bonds. It was in fact Marcos who called Doy to Hawaii during his waining days to discuss his proposal to return to the Philippines and be buried in his country, with Doy delivering the message in his official capacity as the Vice President and as a direct link to the wife of Ninoy Aquino, another Upsilonian, – then President Cory Aquino.
The revelations of this meeting are contained in the memoirs of the late Vice President.
In response to a loaded question by CNN Philippines reporter JC Gotinga meant to incite further controversy on the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, Mrs. Laurel responded by saying Marcos was a soldier and that he served in World War 2. She further added that Filipinos must follow our laws and find a common ground in the interest of national unity. This is how we should move forward as a nation and this is how Doy Laurel would have wanted it – putting the interest of the nation above that of personal interest.
The Supreme Court decided to allow the burial of the late President Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, lifting a TRO that was filed at the lower courts to stop the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte allowing the controversial burial. The President was at the APEC Summit in Peru during the burial last Nov 18. Congressman Edcel Lagman said he will initiate a move in Congress to have the body of the late strongman exhumed from the sacred burial grounds.
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