MANILA – The reputation of the late President Ferdinand Marcos as a dictator and human rights violator did not carry weight in President Duterte's go-signal for a hero's burial set next month, a Palace spokesperson said.
President Rodrigo Duterte has been defiant in the face of mounting criticisms over his decision to allow a burial for the late strongman at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Marcos is qualified for a hero's burial, and his reputation as dictator is a different matter.
''According to the regulations that have been referred to, there are at least two reasons for him to be able to be buried accordingly and that is he was an ex-president and he was a war veteran,'' Abella told reporters.
''There is no reference as to whether he was a dictator or not. According to regulations, he seems to be qualified."
Human rights groups and even allies of the president are calling on the tough-talking chief executive to reconsider his decision, even as the Marcos family has started preparations for the transfer of the family patriarch's remains from his hometown in Ilocos Norte.
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Echoing Duterte's statement, Abella said people opposed to the burial are free to mount a protest.
''The president is aware that there are protests. He allows people to make their own comments and stand,'' Abella said.
''However, from his (Duterte) point of view, it is necessary to move on."
Critics say allowing a hero's burial for the late dictator would send a wrong message, especially since the Marcos family up to this day refuses to acknowledge and apologize for the abuses and corruption under the dictator's regime, who was ousted from power through a military-backed popular revolt in 1986.