By CNN Philippine Staff
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte early Sunday gave the green light to bury former president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Duterte said Marcos, as former president and a soldier, is qualified to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
If some groups oppose this move, the president said protests are welcome.
“He is qualified to be buried there. Kung ayaw ng ibang Pilipino, fine,” Duterte said. “Mag-demonstrate kayo, go ahead. You can use the streets.”
[Translation: ““He is qualified to be buried there. If other Filipinos don’t want this, fine. You can demonstrate, go ahead. You can use the streets.”]
The announcement came after reports claimed the Marcos family wants the former leader buried at the said cemetery on September 18, a week after the latter’s birthday.
Duterte is willing to allow the Marcos family decide on the date of the burial, saying they can even set the date of the burial on the former president’s birthday on September 11.
“If Bongbong (Marcos) feels that it would be a fitting day to celebrate his birthday in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, so be it. It is their right, because nag-go signal na ako [because I gave the go signal].”
No to Marcos ‘hero’s’ burial
Burying Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani is among the campaign promises of Duterte. Several groups have already opposed this move, including the relatives of martial law victims.
Bantayog, Martial Law Chronicles Project Team, UP Samasa Alumni, Claimants 1081, Akbayan Youth and Nameless Martyrs and Heroes launched a non partisan initiative called Bawa’t Bato on June 26 to support their conviction that the former president does not serve a hero’s burial. Participants placed at the Libingan’s proposed gravesite for the former president stones bearing the names of victims of human rights abuses during the Marcos regime in a silent protest called Bawa’t Bato.
Marcos’ critics oppose a hero’s burial for him because of the alleged human rights abuses, extra-judicial killings, and ill-gotten wealth he allegedly accumulated during his dictatorship.
Meanwhile, the Ilibing si Marcos sa Ilocos movement is set to hold a protest on August 14.
The Libingan ng mga Bayani was established in 1947 to pay tribute to Filipino soldiers and fallen heroes, and to serve as a final resting place for former Philippine presidents, war veterans, notable government statesmen, dignitaries and national artists.
CNN Philippines Correspondent Ina Andolong and Digital Producer Arra Perez contributed to this report.