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MANILA (UPDATE) - Former Senator Bongbong Marcos on Tuesday thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for his decision to have the remains of his father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos, buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani despite opposition to the move.
The Supreme Court voted 9-5 favoring the burial of the late dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, finally settling a decades-long dispute over whether the former strongman deserves a burial in the heroes' cemetery.
"We are deeply grateful to the Supreme Court for its decision to allow the burial of my father, former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Once again, the Supreme Court has taken a magnanimous act to uphold the rule of law," Marcos said in a statement.
"We also would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte as his unwavering commitment to this issue sustained us these past several months. Our family will forever be thankful for his kind gesture."
Duterte had argued that allowing the burial of the late president at the Libingan ng mga Bayani will finally heal old wounds.
He added that the issue of Marcos' burial had left Ilocanos alienated.
"What I must say now is we have alienated the entire, almost entire Ilocano people. We can not just do that because we are all Filipinos," he previously said.
During the presidential election campaign, Duterte promised to allow Marcos' burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos, meanwhile, called for peace and forgiveness following the SC decision.
"'Wag na tayo mag-debate. Kung ano man ang ating galit, hinanakit sa inyong puso, let it go na po," Marcos' daughter said.
(Let's not debate about this anymore. Whatever hate, resentment you have in your heart, let it go.)
"Magpatawad na tayo, magkaisa na tayo, mag move on na ang Pilipinas," she added.
(Let us forgive, let us be united, let the Philippines move on.)
Mr. Marcos said he also hopes that the SC decision will " lead the nation towards healing as we endeavor to move the country forward to give every Filipino a better life."
The former senator would have been the country's vice-president had he not lost to Leni Robredo by a slim margin.
Duterte has not been shy about his support for the losing vice-presidential candidate and his family.
In its decision, the SC said President Duterte committed no grave abuse of discretion in ordering the burial of Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
It added, there is no law prohibiting the burial of Marcos' remains at the heroes' cemetery, and that Duterte has the power to reserve for public use and specific public purposes any of the lands under the public domain.
It also said that Marcos, under an Armed Forces of the Philippines regulation, is not disqualified from being buried at the cemetery. He possesses the qualifications to be buried at the cemetery, such as his role as commander-in-chief, a soldier, Medal of Valor awardee, legislator, and secretary of national defense.