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After the recent hijacking incident involving a military official who hijacked a bus load of foreign nationals and some Filipinos, another public uproar emerged when his casket was draped with the Philippine flag. I had twitted that I was of the view that this was inappropriate.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted the Chinese embassy’s statement:
“The person who deserves a national flag at the funeral should be someone of heroism, decency and integrity, not someone who inflicts atrocity on innocent lives. This is nothing but a smear on the dignity of the Philippine national flag.”
PDI further quoted Director Leocadio Santiago Jr., the chief of the National Capital Region Police Office saying that they did not give the Mendoza family the flag, but that if the family draped his coffin with a flag, they could not forbid it.
Section 2 of Republic Act No. 8491 otherwise known as the “Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines” states that:
“Reverence and respect shall at all times be accorded the flag, the anthem, and other national symbols which embody the national ideals and traditions xxx”
Sec 24 of the said law further states:
“The flag may be used to cover the caskets of the honored dead of the military xxx”
The respect that must be accorded our Philippine flag, which the law states “embodies our national ideals and traditions” is blatantly disregarded when the flag is draped over the casket of a person who caused the loss of lives of innocent people. To do so would be a distortion of our ideals and values as a people. Likewise, Captatin Mendoza, cannot be considered an honored dead of the military. Consequently, the Philippine flag should not have been draped over his casket.