• President firm on decision to have late strongman buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani
  • He said questions of Marcos’s heroism not relevant to his record as a soldier and former president
  • He also said past Aquino administrations are to blame for not passing a law banning his burial

MANILA, Philippines – Amid plans by critics to seek a restraining order from the Supreme Court, President Rodrigo Duterte said he is not backing out from his plan to have the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos’s remains transferred to the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

According to Duterte, Marcos is entitled to be buried at the Libingan because he was a former soldier and president regardless if he was a hero or not.

“Even if he is not a hero, he was a soldier. Even if he didn’t receive the medals, correct, but that is the record of another country,” Rappler quoted him as saying. “Why would I, in making a decision, refer to the records of another country? We have long ceased to be a vassal state of the United States. That’s over. It’s history.”

The country’s World War 2 records are held by the US. According to records on file with the US Army, Marcos tried several times to have his Maharlika unit recognized but such claim was rejected as “absurd and ridiculous”.

However, Duterte reiterated that Marcos’s status as a former soldier and president is the main issue here. He added that the strongman’s burial did not mean to say he would automatically be regarded as a hero.

“It does not mean that he really is a hero in the true sense of the word. Not all of those buried there have a Medal of Valor,” he said.

The president also blasted the past Aquino administrations, saying they could have prevented Marcos’s burial at the Libingan by passing a law but failed to do so.

“You know, if they had wanted it, and they were already in power at the time, the yellows, they should passed a law when Marcos was still in Guam that if ever he would return to the country dead, he cannot be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” he said. “But nothing has been done. Why was this elementary procedure forgotten?”