President Rodrigo Duterte, during a speech Saturday at the San Beda Law Grand Alumni Homecoming in Taguig City, again defended his decision to allow the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani, arguing that it was made objectively and without "compassion and sentiment."
"You just have to understand my position. We [lawyers] are trained with cold neutrality," Duterte explained to his fellow law school alumni, some of whom he conceded did share his views. "You should not allow compassion, and sentiment, whatever, to taint your judgment."
The president added that he knew from the beginning that he would have to deal with Marcos' burial if he became the chief executive. He thus took the time to study the matter, and made his decision clear during the presidential debates - that he would allow the interment at the LNMB
According to Duterte, the regulations were unequivocal. "Eh, nakalagay doon, eh: president, soldier. Whether true or not, that's not my business to dig into the history. Whether or not he became good or bad, or worse, along the years, that is not for me to decide."
Despite the president having refered to Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. as the possible new vice president and Marcos Jr. calling himself lucky to have Duterte as a friend, the president on Saturday denied having a special relationship with the former dictator's family. "It's not because of the Marcoses. 'Bati-system' lang, there's nothing close. We never had any dinner together, except one or two. Wala akong ano," he explained.
Duterte also pointed out that his mother had led protests and had marched against the dictatorship. The only reason that she did not end up being arrested was because his father had been Davao province's governor.
However, the president recounted that Davao, during his father's governorship, was one huge province, that was later broken up into several smaller provinces by the Marcos government.
"When my father died - gerrymandering. So everybody was given his territory... Rabat, asawa niya malapit kay Imelda [Marcos], got Oriental. Danding Cojuanco and the Almendrases got Davao Sur. Davao del Norte was given to the Florendos," Duterte recalled.
"So it's all politics. Philippines is all politics," concluded the president. "Well because we are a political country. We elect leaders."
Duterte's speech at the alumni homecoming came a day after thousands gathered at the Luneta for a "Black Friday" rally, which protested the LNMB burial given that it honored a dictator, plunderer, and human rights violator as recognized by the legislative and judicial branches of government. — DVM, GMA News