By GENALYN D. KABILING
Presidential Communications Operations Secretary Martin Andanar said the President’s position on the Marcos burial remains “firm,” believing there is legal basis for the interment of the former president at the heroes’ cemetery.
“The President has repeatedly said that he would allow any form of protest, like organizing mass actions against the FM burial at the LNMB. This is consistent with his philosophy that criticism, good or bad, true or not, is part of the territory of governance in public,” Andanar said.
“The President’s stance, however, remains firm: There is clarity in the regulations governing the late President Marcos burial,” he added.
Hundreds of people gathered in Luneta on a rainy Sunday morning to protest the President’s decision allow the burial of Marcos at the heroes’ cemetery. The groups insisted that Marcos does not deserve a hero’s burial due to corruption and other martial law abuses under his watch.
Despite the protests against the Marcos burial, Andanar said the President would “remain undistracted” in his carrying out his duties.
“It shall be governance as usual with his full and undivided attention in winning the war against drugs, criminality and corruption,” he said.
The President earlier gave the go-signal for the burial of Marcos at the heroes’ cemetery because he was a former president and a soldier. He said he would be violating the law if he does not allow such funeral rite for Marcos.
The President likewise argued that Marcos burial at the heroes’ cemetery does not automatically mean he was hero. He said the cemetery has a “generic title because not everybody there is a hero.”
At Lapu Lapu Park in Luneta, some 5,000 individuals signed the signature campaign launched during the “Citizens’ Assembly Against the Marcos Burial in Libingan ng mga Bayani.”
“Our goal is to get as many [signatures] as we can. Not just one million,” Silent Majority member Debbie Page, who is manning the signature drive booth, said.
Page added that the campaign has just started and that they are planning to mobilize volunteers to gather more signatures “to let the government, particularly President [Rodrigo] Duterte to be aware that there are those against the idea of burying Marcos at the Libingan.”
“We can go to malls, bus terminals, anywhere,” she said.
Page added that while there is also an on-going signature campaign online, they decided to stage one to avoid questions on the legitimacy of the signatories. (with a report from Jaimie Rose R. Aberia)