MANILA -– As promised, President Rodrigo Duterte said on Wednesday he will not stop the protest rally against the burial of the late strongman President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
”President Rodrigo R. Duterte declared this morning that he will allow public demonstration protesting the burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a press statement.
Abella said Pres. Duterte will assign only a minimum number of policemen to direct traffic near the areas where protesters are set to hold public demonstrations.
A group of relatives of victims of martial law and civil organizations threatened to hold a rally to oppose the president’s decision to allow the burial of Marcos at the hero’s cemetery on Sept. 18.
In a press conference last Tuesday in Cagayan de Oro City, Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary Martin Andanar said Pres. Duterte was fulfilling his promise to bury the remains of the former strongman at the hero’s cemetery to stop the division that has hindered the country’s politics.
Andanar said anti-Marcos groups have the right to hold protest rallies “but the protesters must carry the protest peacefully without obstructing traffic flow.”
Marcos served as the 10th Philippine President for 20 years, from 1966 to 1986.
He died in exile in Hawaii on Sept. 28, 1989 or three years after a popular bloodless People’s Power revolution forced him to leave Malacañang.
Marcos’ political archrival, former Pres. Corazon Aquino has refused to allow the return of his body to the Philippines until in 1993 when then Pres. Fidel Ramos allowed the return of Marcos in his hometown in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
The remains of President Marcos are until now interred in a family-owned museum and mausoleum in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
Pres. Duterte has explained that Marcos, as a former soldier and former President, deserved to be buried at the hero’s cemetery. Jelly Musico/PNA/northboundasia.com