President-elect Rodrigo Duterte says he will follow through on his controversial campaign promise to allow former president Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery).
“I will allow Marcos’ burial in Libingan ng mga Bayani, not because he was a hero but because he was a Filipino soldier, period,” said Duterte on Monday night, May 23.
When asked when the burial will take place, he said: “That can be arranged immediately.”
The dictator’s burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani has been met with opposition since his death in 1989 particularly by the victims of abuses committed during Martial Law.
Duterte lamented how the issue has created division in the country.
“Iyang issue ni Marcos diyan sa Libingan ng mga Bayani has long created a division amongst our people. Almost all of the Ilocanos naghihinakit talaga. Lahat. Halos lahat, mga Ilokano, galit kung bakit ganoon ang ginawa sa kanya," said Duterte.
(That issue with Marcos’ burial at the Heroes’ Cemetery has long created a division amongst our people. Almost all of the Ilocanos are hurting because of it. All of them. Most of the Ilocanos are angry at what they did to Marcos.)
Asked if the move will really unify the country, the Davao City mayor says he does not know.
“I do not know, but it would erase one hatred. I am sure it would erase from our people one hatred,” said Duterte.
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When asked about how the victims of human rights violations during Martial Law will react to the burial, Duterte says the compensation are already in place for them to collect.
“Wala iyan. Nandiyan na iyong kwan — kubrahin n’yo iyong pera (That’s nothing to worry about. It’s already there — you just have to collect the money)" said Duterte.
Duterte earlier promised to bury Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani last February while he was campaigning in Ilocos Norte.
Ilocos Norte is the home and bailiwick of the Marcoses.
Marcos’ son and namesake, Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr ran for vice president in the recent elections. He is currently in a tight race against the Liberal Party’s Leni Robredo.