‘In all honesty, I’m telling you: wala akong alam,’ [I don’t know a thing] claimed President Rodrigo Duterte about the unexpected burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) on November 18.
“Nagtanong lang sila [They simply asked] when would be the appropriate time for me. Sabi ko, ‘Bahala kayo’ [It’s up to you]. And wala ako, wala, wala [I have no idea. None],” Duterte told reporters during a press conference in Lima Peru on Monday, November 21.
On November 18, the whole nation was shocked when the Marcos burial at the LNMB just suddenly happened without notice. In fact, some reports say it happened just about an hour after it was reported about to happen by media, according to a Rappler report.
Accordingly, even the military and police only knew about it the day before, Thursday. But since the Marcoses asked them to keep it a secret, they said nothing about the matter to anyone.
Likewise, Duterte said he knew nothing of the burial plan that day and in fact was on a plane headed to Peru for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit while the burial was taking place. He never bothered to ask the Marcoses about the date, he added.
“Hindi rin ako nagtatanong at bakit ako magtanong? (I did not ask and why should I ask?) I allowed it already so what’s it to me? What would I get if I had known in advance whether he will be there for the interment on that day?” the President said.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana likewise claimed innocence of the exact burial date, though his office has power over the Armed Forces of the Philippines or AFP which manages the LNMB.
Though Duterte reiterated how he was merely following the law when he approved of the controversial burial, he agreed with protesters that Marcos was not a hero.
“Maraming pros and cons (There are many pros and cons) but there are two outstanding [roles that Marcos played]: soldier and a president. But he was not a hero. That’s a word against their word,” Duterte explained.
To those who cannot forgive Marcos, Duterte said they would have to live with the pain.
“There was really a deep wound somewhere in the country. But for those who cannot really forgive, ‘yun ang mahirap (there’s the difficulty). You just have to live with your grief and that grief is hate,” the president said.
Protesters filed a petition on Monday to place in contempt the Marcoses and key government offices and individuals involved in the unexpected burial of Marcos. They say they buried Marcos even if the Supreme Court decision on the matter was not yet final and executory.