The Supreme Court should not rule on petitions seeking to stop the burial of the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery) based on emotion, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Sunday.
The President made the statement ahead of the expected release of the Supreme Court verdict on the issue on October 18.
Duterte vowed to respect whatever the court’s decision would be, but pointed out that the previous governments’ refusal to bury Marcos at the Libingan had alienated the former president’s supporters in the Ilocos region.
“What I must say now is that we have alienated the entire Ilocano; almost entire Ilocano. We cannot just do that because we are all Filipinos. I hope the Supreme Court will decide not on the emotion. But of course, we know that all will be legal at the end of the day,” Duterte told reporters at the Davao airport before leaving for a two-nation trip.
“My position is that there is a law that grants Marcos a burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. My position is that as long as there is that law, it shall be followed,” he said.
Whether or not Marcos was a hero was another matter, the President argued.
“In the matter of [war]medals, heroism of the late Marcos … that is not the issue. It will we resolved; maybe in the generations to come,” Duterte said.
The President was referring to the Armed Forces of the Philippines rules that allow soldiers, former presidents and certain other government officials to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.
Opponents of the burial however point to a law compensating Marcos human rights victims, which states that the Marcoses were liable for the human rights violations during Martial Law, making the former president unfit for interment at the Libingan.
“What the Supreme Court will rule must be followed. We will follow what the Supreme Court says for after all, it is the Supreme Court which interprets the law and decides where the public interest is served among contending parties,” Duterte said.