Duterte to SC: Keep emotions out of Marcos burial decision

MANILA, Philippines – When ruling on the possible hero's burial for strongman Ferdinand Marcos, the Supreme Court should not decide based on "emotions," said President Rodrigo Duterte.

"I hope that the Supreme Court decides not on the emotion, but of course we know that it will be all legal at the end of the day," said Duterte on Sunday, October 16, during a press conference before his departure for Brunei.

The President reiterated his intention to abide by whatever the highest court of the land decides on the controversial plan.

"We will follow what the Supreme Court says for after all it is the Supreme Court who interprets the law and decides which of the public interest is served among the contending parties," he said.

But his position on the matter remains: that laws and military guidelines grant the late dictator a burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery).

As to whether or not Marcos can rightfully be called a hero, Duterte said it is not up to the present generation to decide.

"In the matter of the medals and heroism of the late Marcos, that is not the issue and that is to be resolved in the generations to come. It could not be decided on the group now which was actively, physically, and emotionally involved in the issues that went past," he said.

But one thing is clear for him – that refusing a hero's burial for Marcos has "alienated" a majority of Ilocanos from the rest of the country.

Duterte has insisted that the burial will "unify" the country and allow Filipinos to move on from the trauma of the Marcos dictatorship.

Even as a presidential candidate, Duterte was open about his intention to approve Marcos' burial at the Heroes' Cemetery if he wins the presidency.

His administration had already been making preparations with the Marcos family for a burial in September.

But critics who oppose the move filed complaints with the Supreme Court (SC) which led the court to issue a status quo ante order prohibiting the burial for a certain period of time.

To arrive at a decision, the SC held oral arguments with all parties involved in the case.

The court is expected to announce its decision soon. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.