MANILA - Was President Rodrigo Duterte informed that the remains of former President Ferdinand Marcos was to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on Friday?
This did not become clear as Malacañang and law enforcement officials issued conflicting statements right after news of the secret burial broke.
Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said Duterte wasn't aware about the exact date of the interment, although it was the defense department who told law enforcement to assist the first family.
"As far as I know... he [Duterte] was not sure about the exact date, as far as I know," he said at a press briefing in Peru.
He added that there was no "direct line" between the President and the Marcoses, whom Duterte had always supported.
"As far as we know the President was focused on his trip to APEC in Lima, Peru," he said.
At a separate press conference, Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag also said they "honestly don't know" that Marcos was to be buried Friday noon.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Director General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa however said he "presumes" Duterte knows this information because he had been in touch with the Marcos family.
AFP spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla also said they assume the DND directive came from the President himself.
"Binigay po niya ang instruction at directive upang matuloy ang libing," he said.
[He gave the instruction and directive to go through with the burial.]
"The President is always kept aware of everything that's going on in the country," he added.
In a prepared statement, Duterte said the burial was legal and that Filipinos should start to move on from the issue.