PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte maintained that he was only following his duty to enforce the law in deciding to bury the former President Ferdinand Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
“That is a law. It is very clear to me that my decision was correct. As a lawyer, I could only stick to what is the law,” Duterte was quoted as saying by Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, a daughter of the former president who died in exile in 1989.
“He was a soldier. He was a president. And nobody can deny that,” Duterte added.
Duterte met briefly with the governor at Laoag International Airport after visiting calamity-stricken victims in Batanes.
The President made the remark as some 500 Ilocanos began the four-day Kailian March from Ilocos Norte to Metro Manila.
“Using the word kailian implies being part of the same barangay or sitio, growing with and around each other… a much stronger and close-knit relationship,” explained June Arvin Gudoy of northern Ilocos.
Two unity masses were held at the San Agustin Church in Paoay and then at the St. John the Baptist Parish Church in Badoc, both in Ilocos Norte.
“This should have been finished in September but for the cases [that were filed before the Supreme Court],” Marcos said.
Six cases were filed before the high court protesting Marcos’ burial at the Libingan, but the temporary restraining order (TRO) the SC issued against any preparation for Marcos’ burial at the Libingan is set to expire on Octoner 18.
The Kailian March left the Paoay church past 6 p.m. Friday and arrived at the Badoc church before 8 p.m. An hour later, the group left Ilocos Norte and arrived at Vigan City, Ilocos Sur, at around 10 p.m.
By 2:30 a.m. Saturday, they were already in San Fernando City, La Union and was headed for Pangasinan yesterday afternoon.
“Thank you very much for your support. I am certain that with our continued prayers, we will finally bring peace to my father, to my family, to this province, and to the entire country, the Republic of the Philippines,” Marcos said.