MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte is not rewriting history with his approval of the late strongman, Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery), the chief government lawyer told the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The President is merely acknowledging Marcos as a former president, war veteran and recipient of the military’s highest honor, the Medal of Valor, Solicitor General Jose Calida said during oral arguments on petitions to stop the burial.
LISTEN: Second round of oral arguments on Marcos burial
Calida added that the move was justified by Duterte’s landslide win in the last election, where he promised to bury Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, as well as the 14 million votes for the late dictator’s son, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who narrowly lost the vice presidency.
“It is not an attempt to rewrite history,” Calida said.
Human rights groups who asked the court to stop the burial argued that such a move would condone the abuses of Marcos’ two decade-long rule wherein hundreds were allegedly raped, tortured or imprisoned and up to $10 billion was stolen from state coffers.
But the combined election mandates of Duterte and Marcos, Calida said, indicated that “there is no more national trauma as regards the martial law regime.”
“The vox populi is too deafening to be ignored,” he said.
Marcos' remains have been kept in the family's ancestral home in Ilocos Norte province since the family's return to the Philippines in 1993, three years after he died while on exile in Hawaii.
Under an agreement with then President Fidel Ramos that allowed the family's return, former first lady Imelda Marcos agreed to bury her husband in Ilocos Norte.