MANILA (Mabuhay) — Malacañang will oppose petitions against the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, President Rodrigo Duterte’s chief legal adviser told reporters on Tuesday.
“As I said, anybody can file a petition in the court. Let us have the courts decide on that. But certainly we will be opposing it as having no legal basis for the reasons I already stated,” chief presidential legal counsel Salvador Panelo said.
He said Marcos was entitled to be buried in the Libingan ng mga Bayani either as a president or as a soldier since he qualifies for both.
“The regulation issued by the Armed Forces of the Philippines is very clear. Those who are entitled to be interred in the Libingan ng mga Bayani are, among others, soldiers and presidents. So on the basis of that, the late President Marcos is entitled to be buried there,” Panelo said.
He then said that claims of Marcos’ fake medals did not diminish the fact that he was still once a soldier.
“According to some oppositors, President Marcos had fake medals. But then again, the regulation does not distinguish whether a soldier has a fake medal or not. The fact remains: President Marcos was a soldier. He fought the Japanese forces. He even created his own Maharlika group and we cannot dispute that. And therefore, since he was a soldier he is entitled to be buried in the cemetery,” Panelo said.
He added that the AFP regulation did not specify what kind of presidents should just be buried at the Libingan.
“It does not distinguish whether a president is good or bad or handsome or ugly. The regulation says if you’re a presidentm, you’re entitlted to be buried there,” Panelo said.
“Mr. Marcos was not charged of any crime involving moral turpitude. So it does not apply. If you’re referring to the civil cases filed against the estate, I think it is a civil case, not a criminal charge so it won’t qualify,” he added.
Panelo also reminded the public that the President allows and encourages them to express their dissent.
On whether Marcos would be buried as a hero, Panelo said, “The word hero is a relative term. For others, Mr. Marcos may be a heel, but to millions others he is a hero. It depends on the perception.”
Panelo said that Marcos’ impending interment at the Libingan ng mga Bayani was a fulfillment of campaign promise.
“I’d like to remind our countrymen that during the campaign, President Duterte repeatedly said if he becomes president he would bury and allow the burial of Mr. Marcos at Libingan ng mga Bayani that is a promise and commitment he made as candidate,” Panelo said.
“Considering now the voters overwhelmingly voted him as president, it necessarily follows that he was given the mandate to fulfill the promises he made to the Filipino people,” he added.(MNS)