Duterte on Marcos burial: It is my sole decision

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

DAVAO - Presumptive president Rodrigo Duterte defended Thursday his decision to allow the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

The longtime Davao City mayor said the issue of Marcos' burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani has divided the country and must now be put to rest. Rights groups have said Marcos’s forces killed or tortured thousands of people during martial law.

"Patay na ang tao, [ano] pa ang gusto niyo? Do you want the cadaver to be burned? Would that satisfy your rage?" Duterte said.

"It is my sole decision. I accept full moral, legal responsibility. I believe it has created division in the country,” he added.

The presumptive president added Marcos' children must not be made to suffer for their father's actions.

"Look… the sins of the father, if there are any, should never be visited upon the children," he said.

Duterte: Marcos burial in Libingan to 'erase hatred'

Duterte, who is set to be proclaimed the country's 16th president, earlier said he will allow Marcos' burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani "not because [Marcos] is a hero…but because he was a Filipino soldier."

Martial law victims have warned the dictator's burial in the heroes' cemetery would whitewash the strongman’s crimes and trigger street protests.

Asked how will he deal with the “hatred” that may arise among martial law victims with his decision, Duterte earlier said: “Nandyan na yung kuwan, kubrahin niyo" in apparent reference to the reparation for human rights victims.

Human rights victims nix hero's burial plan for Marcos

Marcos and his wife Imelda were accused of plundering $10 billion from state coffers and overseeing widespread human rights abuses by security forces.

However Imelda and her children were allowed to return and over the past two decades have enjoyed a stunning rise back into the political elite while fending off a barrage of lawsuits and criminal probes.

Imelda is a congresswoman representing the family’s northern provincial stronghold, while Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. was elected to the Senate in 2010.

Marcos Jr. ran for the vice presidency in this month’s elections against Rep. Leni Robredo but the winner has yet to be proclaimed.

Thousands ask Duterte: Don't allow hero's burial for Marcos

In a statement, Marcos’ only son and namesake noted that it has always been the position of his family that it is his father's right to be buried at the Heroes' Cemetery.

The body of the late dictator, who died in exile in the US in 1989, remains in a glass coffin in a mausoleum in his hometown in Ilocos Norte.

"Our campaign has always been towards achieving unity to move the country forward. And it is this kind of pronouncement that we hope could end the decades of divisiveness that have been imposed upon us by our leaders," the younger Marcos said.

"We would like to thank President Duterte for this kind, rightful and healing gesture," he added. With Agence France-Presse