President Rodrigo Duterte remains committed to giving a hero’s burial to former President Ferdinand Marcos, saying “there is the law that favors it.”
In a news conference on Thursday in Davao City, Duterte said he is only following the law in allowing Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery).
“Now they are saying he’s not a hero. Who are we to say that? [We were not around during the time of war]. Who are we to dispute?” he added.
Duterte issued the statement after the Supreme Court on Tuesday issued a 20-day status quo ante order temporarily halting preparations for Marcos’ hero’s burial.
The President reiterated that the law allows Marcos to be buried at the Heroes’ Cemetery as a soldier and a former president.
“I’m limited to what is the law,” Duterte said, adding that he would violate the law if he refused to allow Marcos to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
“As far as I am concerned, I follow the law. The law says that Marcos is qualified to be buried there, as a soldier,” he said.
Duterte added that the issue of whether Marcos is a hero is “political.”
“They are contesting if Marcos is a hero. I do not care. Whether he is a hero, if he is a soldier, he should be buried there. The issue about his heroism is political,” he said.
The issue of Marcos’ hero’s burial, according to the President, has made us “a nation that refuses to heal a wound.”
“I am serious. This issue has divided the nation,” Duterte said. “If he’s a hero, he’s a hero, if he’s not a hero, then he is not. But he’s a soldier. Almost half of the country says he was a good President, especially the Ilocanos. They are hurting because of what’s happening now. So the wounds are not healing.”
Marcos hailed from Ilocos Norte province in Northern Luzon.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE