MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday described the controversy over the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani as a feud between the Marcos and Aquino families.
“It’s basically an away (fight) between the two families. Nadamay lang tayo dito (we just got involved),” Duterte told reporters over dinner in Malacañang.
With the Supreme Court's ruling on the case last week, Duterte said there is no option but to follow the law.
Duterte added, his predecessors should have supported a law that would explicitly bar Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
“Why did they not, right after the revolution, pumasa na sana sila [ng batas] disallowing, denying the person already dead, to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” he said.
Not giving up, human rights victims are seeking a temporary injunction against the decision to allow the burial.
But Duterte said the burial will push through unless the court extends its halt order while hearing the petitioners’ motion for reconsideration
“I must have, at the time, a paper which says I cannot proceed. Unless hawak ko, wala akong magawa,” he said.
Marcos was ousted in a popular revolt in 1986 after being in power for two decades. The killing in August 1983 of Marcos’ political nemesis, Benigno 'Ninoy' Aquino Jr., was one of the events that triggered the revolt.
Following the overthrowing of the dictatorship, Aquino's widow Corazon became the country’s president, restoring democracy in the country.
Old wounds were reopened when Duterte said he would allow Marcos’ burial at the heroes’ cemetery.
Given his high popularity ratings, Duterte is unfazed by the criticisms over his decision to allow the burial.
Duterte said it is just right to allow the burial as it has alienated many Ilocanos who up to this day hold the late strongman close their hearts.
Those opposing the burial say the the SC decision perpetuates impunity as it did not take into consideration the sins of the late dictator.
The Marcoses, meanwhile, have asked the public to move on and forgive them for the “unintentional” wounds caused by the patriarch’s rule.
In its majority decision, the SC ruled that the late president possesses all the qualifications to be interred at the cemetery.
It ruled that Duterte’s decision was within the bounds of the Constitution and the Administrative Code. It also argued that the petitioners failed to demonstrate how the burial threatened their rights.
The majority also pointed out the procedural error of the petitioners when it ran to the SC instead of seeking relief from a lower court.