Duterte insists he wasn't aware of Marcos burial Friday

Lynda Jumilla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 21 2016 07:19 PM

 'My mother's role vs Marcos, kanya yon' 

MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte maintains he knew nothing about the secretive arrangement to bury the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

The Palace, the police and the military earlier gave conflicting answers on whether Duterte was aware of the burial. At the time of the burial, Duterte was in Lima, Peru for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.

Duterte himself, however, said he did not know that the Marcos family was planning a Friday burial for the patriarch.

“In all honesty, I'm telling you wala akong alam. Nagtanong lang sila, when would be the appropriate time for me. Sabi ko, ‘bahala kayo,’” Duterte said.

“And wala ako, wala, wala. Andito man si Defense Secretary, wala rin siyang sinabi sa akin.”

(In all honesty, I’m telling you I was not aware of it. They just asked when would be the appropriate time for me. I said, “it’s up to you.” )

“Hindi rin ako nagtatanong at bakit ako magtanong? (I also did not ask when they want the burial done.) I allowed it already so what's it to me? What would I get if I have known in advance whether he will be there for the interment on that day."

Victims of human rights violations during the Martial Law period were outraged by the burial of the late dictator at the heroes’ cemetery on Friday since a motion for reconsideration to the Supreme Court majority decision was still an option for the petitioners. 

But the president, a political ally of the Marcoses, said he is standing by his decision, even if it goes against what his mother Soledad, who was a leading figure in the Yellow Friday Movement of Davao that fought the Marcos dictatorship, stood for. 

“I stand by my decision. I am a public employee. I decide on what is lawful and what is not. I am now called upon or I was called upon to decide whether it would be lawful for Marcos to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani or it would be an illegal act,” he said.

“My mother's cause or causes she fought in her life, kanya 'yon. But just because she is my mother I cannot state to you that Marcos cannot be buried because according to my mother he was a dictator.”