Malacañang on Wednesday said President Rodrigo Duterte will not stop protests against the burial of the late former president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery).
“President Rodrigo Duterte declared this morning that he will allow public demonstration protesting the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos, and will assign only a minimum number of policemen to direct traffic,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
The statement came after several groups, including relatives of Martial Law victims, expressed opposition against Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Critics of the late strongman, who declared martial law in 1972, cited human rights abuses, extrajudicial killings and acquisition of ill-gotten wealth by the Marcoses.
But Duterte has insisted that Marcos was qualified to be buried at the military-run Libingan ng mga Bayani as a former soldier and a former president.
Burying Marcos at the Heroes’ Cemetery was among the campaign promises of Duterte.
With 16 million votes that put the former Davao City mayor in Malacañang, chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said the President had the mandate to fulfill his promise.
“I’d like to remind our countrymen that during the campaign, President Duterte repeatedly said if he becomes President, he would bury and allow the burial of Mr. Marcos at Libingan ng mga Bayani. That is a promise and commitment he made as candidate,” Panelo said.
“Considering how the voters overwhelmingly voted him as President, it necessarily follows that he was given the mandate to fulfill the promises he made to the people,” he said.
On Sunday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines to closely coordinate with the Marcos family in preparation for the late president’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City (Metro Manila).
The hero’s burial for Marcos is scheduled for September 18.
The strongman died in exile in Hawaii in 1989.