Days before the 32nd anniversary of the end of the 1986 EDSA People Power Revolution that deposed Ferdinand Marcos, President Rodrigo Duterte again justified his controversial decision to allow the late dictator to be buried at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani.
In a speech on Thursday, Duterte said Marcos could be buried in the heroes' cemetery because the strongman had served as a soldier.
"Eh talagang sundalo ‘yon. As far as the truth of his exploits, that is history for judgment, hindi tayo," said Duterte, admitting the decision was made on the request of the Marcos family, with whom the President is known to be close.
Marcos ruled the country for 20 years and declared Martial Law in 1972, a period that historians have decried as among the darkest in Philippine history because of widespread human rights abuses and suppression of civil freedoms. Marcos fled for Hawaii in 1986 in the aftermath of the bloodless EDSA revolt, after allegations of massive cheating in that year's snap elections against Corazon Aquino.
His remains were buried in an unannounced ceremony at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani in November 2016, leading to numerous protests across the country.
In his remarks on Thursday, Duterte insisted that Marcos was still looked upon as a hero in his native Ilocos.
"So sabi ko give the Ilocanos their hero. Because if you don’t, about a fourth of this country, ‘yung mga Ilocano maghihinanakit ‘yan," said Duterte, who will be skipping the EDSA celebration on Sunday as President for the second straight year. —JST, GMA News