Duterte says Marcos burial legal, asks Pinoys to 'forgive'

Kimberly Jane Tan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 18 2016 03:34 PM | Updated as of Nov 18 2016 05:57 PM

Duterte says Marcos burial legal, asks Pinoys to 'forgive' 1
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his pre-departure speech at the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City on November 17, 2016. Ace Morandante, Malacanang Photo

President Rodrigo Duterte sees nothing wrong with the clandestine burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, saying he hopes Filipinos can find it in their hearts to forgive, his spokesperson said.

"Let history judge but I will do what it is legal and the Supreme Court has ruled that it is," Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said while reading Duterte's statement at a press briefing in Peru.

He was pertaining to the Supreme Court's majority (9 to 5) decision allowing Marcos' burial at the Heroes' Cemetery, which petitioners say was still subject to an appeal.

"The SC lifted the staus quo ante order and allowed the burial of the remains and the president adheres to the ruling of the high court," said Abella.

"There is nothing sneaky about the matter. In fact, the fact that the family buried him is part of the process," he added, although saying even Duterte was "surprised" to learn about it.

But he said the President hopes this will allow people to "come to terms" with the burial and "find a space in their hearts to forgive and to set free those who have hurt or injured them."

The Palace official, however, distanced the Duterte administration from the decision to hold the burial in secret, although it was the defense department who told the police and military to coordinate with the Marcos family.

"The decision to bury the late President Ferdinand Marcos today is a personal decision of the Marcos family. We respect their decision," he said.

"It is their private affair," he added.

Abella, however, said the President is not discouraging people from expressing their opposition to the burial as long as they do it in a "legal" and "peaceful" manner.