PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said he knew nothing about the clandestine burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) on Nov. 18.
In a press conference on Nov. 21 in Lima, Peru, Duterte said he never bothered to ask the late president’s family for the details of the burial.
“In all honesty, I’m telling you: Wala akong alam. Nagtanong lang sila when would be the appropriate time for me? Sabi ko, ‘Bahala kayo.’ And wala ako, wala, wala. Andito man si Defense Secretary, wala rin siyang sinabi sa akin.”
Source: RTVM – Press Conference Lima, Peru (Watch 33:16 – 33:41)
The burial happened when the president was on a flight to Peru to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. Asked about the timing of the burial, Duterte said:
“I allowed it already, so what’s it to me? What would I get if I have known in advance whether he will be there for the interment on that day.”
Source: Source: RTVM – Press Conference Lima, Peru (Watch 33:42 – 33:59)
However, the Office of the President knew about the burial ahead of time.
In a video showing former Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. delivering his funeral speech on Nov. 18, a flower arrangement with Duterte’s name was seen in the background. The video was posted on the Facebook page of the senator. It was also uploaded on the Facebook page of Ilocos Norte governor Imee Marcos.
The same floral arrangement was seen in another video posted on Nov. 22. The Marcos family held a funeral vigil at LNMB over the weekend.
The Social Secretary’s Office of the Office of the President customarily sends flowers for various occasions, including death anniversaries of heroes and past presidents, on behalf of the president.
A staff from the Social Secretary’s Office told VERA Files that the office was informed the night of Nov. 17 that the late dictator might be buried on Nov. 18, 19 or 20. It in turn instructed the flower shop to ready the flower arrangement. The source did not say who supplied the information.
But other Malacañang officials earlier said they were not aware of the burial schedule.
In press conference in Malacanang, Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag said she learned about it only while they were having the briefing.
“It was being texted to me, that’s why I got my phone, we don’t really know, we honestly don’t know,” she said.
Source: RTVM- Press Conference of PCO Asec for Operation and Special Concerns Marie Banaag and DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones (Watch 31:48 – 33:36)
However, in multiple media reports Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said the president knew about the burial.
Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Col. Restituto Padilla also told journalists that the military the assumed the directive on the burial came from Duterte.
“The president is always kept aware of everything that’s happening in the country,” Padilla said.
GMA News Online: Bato: Duterte knew about surprise Marcos burial