MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte remains committed to giving a hero's burial to late dictator Ferdinand Marcos despite allowing critics to hold public demonstrations, Malacañang said Sunday.
Presidential Communications Office Secretary Martin Andanar said the President will not stop mass actions against the internment of Marcos because "this is consistent with his philosophy that criticism, good or bad, true or not, is part of the territory of governance in public."
But Andanar said Duterte is unswayed in his belief that Marcos is qualified to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
"The President's stance remains firm: There is clarity in the regulations governing the late President Marcos burial," he said in a statement.
"The President shall therefore remain undistracted and it shall be governance as usual with his full and undivided attention in winning the war against drugs, criminality and corruption," the official concluded.
A large crowd of lawmakers, student groups and advocacy groups gathered at the Luneta Park in Manila Sunday, in a bid to stop the hero's burial for Marcos.
('Marcos not a hero': Hundreds join anti-burial assembly)
Simultaneous rallies were also held in Cebu, Davao, Baguio and other key cities.
President Duterte himself gave the green light for the burial, saying he is only following the law because Marcos was a former president and soldier, even if he was not a hero.
"The law is there existing. You read it a thousand times and you still arrive at a conclusion that he is qualified. Even if he is not a hero, he was a soldier," he said.
(Duterte: Follow the law on hero's burial for Marcos)
The President has also brushed aside findings of the National Historical Commission that the late dictator faked his military records during World War II.