Palace spokesperson: We didn’t know about Marcos burial

Pia Ranada
With President Duterte, Communications Secretary Andanar, and Presidential Spokesman Abella abroad, Palace spokesmen could not give media information about the burial

CONTROVERSIAL BURIAL. UP Manila students protest the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Photo by Ben Nabong/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang spokespersons were themselves surprised by the news of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani on Friday, November 18.

“So far, the PCO (Presidential Communications Office) does not have any knowledge of that instruction. We don’t have any knowledge about the burial,” said PCO Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag during a Palace news briefing.

At the time, news that the former dictator would be buried at the Heroes’ Cemetery was breaking.

Pressed for more details about President Rodrigo Duterte’s instructions on the burial, Banaag said: “We don’t really know. We honestly don’t know.”

Banaag admitted that she herself only found out about the burial during the press conference, through a text message shown to her.

On the day of the burial, Duterte and his spokesmen Communications Secretary Martin Andanar and Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella were on their way to Lima, Peru to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Summit.

Duterte had previously given the Marcos family the go signal to bury their patriarch after the Supreme Court (SC) ruled that there are no legal obstacles to prevent the burial.

Banaag said that after the SC decision and Duterte’s permission, “it is up to the Marcos family as to when to bring the body to the Libingan ng mga Bayani.”

Though the Palace expects protests against the burial, Banaag said Duterte himself was “very clear” about his position on the issue since his presidential campaign. (READ: Duterte: Marcos ‘not a hero’ but ‘law’ allows burial at Libingan– Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.