MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said it before, and he said it again: the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos deserves to be buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
"I will allow the burial of Marcos sa Libingan ng mga Bayani," Duterte said in a press conference in Davao City early morning Sunday, August 7.
Duterte reiterated that the law qualifies the late dictator to be buried at the revered resting place for the country's heroes.
"As a former soldier and former president of the Philippines, I see nothing wrong in having Marcos buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani," the President said.
The late strongman's son and namesake Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr reportedly bared that his father's remains will be transferred from Ilocos Norte to the cemetery in Taguig City on September 18. The younger Marcos said Duterte already gave them the go signal earlier this week.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, however, refused to confirm Marcos' claim, saying that it "has not been formally discussed."
Duterte, a close friend of the former senator, has been clear with his stance on Marcos' burial at the Libingan, saying that he was a "great president and a hero of the country." (READ: Duterte in Ilocos Norte: I will allow Marcos' burial in Heroes' Cemetery)
Last February, Marcos Jr argued that his father deserves the honor because he served as a soldier during the World War II (WWII).
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) recently circulated an online pamphlet that disputed the Marcos scion's claim.
Among the facts the NHCP pointed out in its 17-page pamphlet was that Marcos' service as a WWII soldier has been "officially called into question" by the United States military.
His supposed guerrilla unit Ang Mga Maharlika and promotion from major to lieutenant in the 1940s were also unrecognized.
Various groups have opposed Duterte's approval of Marcos' burial.
Last June, a group of martial law victims laid down stones inscribed with names of those who were abused and murdered during the dictatorship on the gravesite supposedly reserved for Marcos. Youth leaders also staged the same protest in early July at the Oblation statue at the University of the Philippines in Quezon City.