Pres. Duterte: FM burial in LNMB is in accordance to existing law

ZAMBOANGA CITY – President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday explained he cannot deny the burial of the late President Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB).

Duterte made this declaration after he visited the wounded soldiers at Camp Navarro General Hospital in Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) headquarters in this city.

On June 16, 1948, Philippine President Elpidio Quirino signed into law the Republic Act 289, also known as An Act Providing for the Construction of a National Pantheon for Presidents of the Philippines, National Heroes, and Patriots of the Country.

Duterte said he cannot contradict to the law that states a soldier and a former president are qualified to be buried in the LNMB.

The late President Marcos was both a former president and a soldier.

Duterte’s statement came as protest mounts when the late President Marcos was buried on November 18 in the Hero’s cemetery and afforded with proper honors.

“I am a lawyer. We are trained to stick to the letter of the law. Wala kaming choice, we cannot have a different interpretation because it simply says that a soldier and a former president are qualified to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” Duterte said.

The President said “it was not because of the Marcoses but it’s a question of law” that he publicly committed during his campaign for the presidency to allow the burial of Marcos in the Hero’s cemetery.

“I made it very clear to everybody and I explained already the reason why, it’s a matter of law,” he added.

He said it is not also stated in the law that a former president accused of being a dictator, which is a political matter, cannot be buried at the LNMB.

He cited that the Aquinos, who strongly opposed the burial of Marcos in the LNMB could have amended the law disqualifying the former president to be buried in the LNMB since they have served for 12 years in office.

“It was a simple matter of amending the law. They had 12 golden years to do it,” he said citing that both mother and son – Corazon and Benigno – became presidents.

He said “for as long as the law is there,” he could not do otherwise but to allow the Marcos burial in the LNMB.

“Well, the Supreme Court sustained me in my decision,” he added.

The SC, voting 9-5, dismissed all petitions challenging the burial of the former strongman Marcos at the Heroes’ Cemetery.

He said the Marcoses could even charge him of violating the law for reneging his promise to allow the former president’s burial in the hero’s cemetery.