DAVAO CITY – Presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte is ready to pardon former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and allow the burial of former dictator Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Sr. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani to “erase” hatred in a divided nation.
Duterte disclosed to reporters on Monday night that he has talked to Arroyo and offered to grant her pardon, but the former president refused because she must admit the sin to be eligible for pardon.
“To my mind she should also be released. Lahat ng mga kasama niyang nademanda, nasa labas na. Si Mrs. Arroyo na lang (All those with her in the case are out. It’s only Mrs. Arroyo),” he said.
If not pardon, Duterte urged Arroyo to apply for bail like her co-accused, former Philippines Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) head Manoling Morato, who is out on bail.
As a prosecutor and lawyer, Duterte believes that there is no good case against Arroyo. “I offered. I talked to her. Sabi ko, if I become President, ipa-pardon kita (I said if I become president, I will pardon you) not because you are my friend but I also believe that there is no good case against you,” Duterte recalled telling Arroyo when they had a chance to talk through lawyer Raul Lambino.
“She’s been there (detained) – four years? Kawawa naman yung tao (The person is pitiful). She deserved to be released,” Duterte said.
He added that a delayed trial is a ground for dismissal without prejudice under the Constitution. “Kawawa naman walang trial trial (It’s pitiful. There’s never been a trial,” he said.
On the other hand, he would allow the burial of Marcos Sr. in the Libingan ng mga Bayani not because he is a hero but he was a Filipino soldier.
He said the issue on whether to allow Marcos Sr. to be buried has created a division among the Filipino people and hurt some, especially the Ilocanos.
Duterte said it depends on the Marcos family as to when they prefer to bury the former dictator. “They can arrange it immediately,” he added.
His planned moves may be unpopular to some especially to Martial Law victims, but Duterte said by doing these to the country’s former presidents, he said he could ‘erase’ at least one hater.
When asked if his decision to bury Marcos could draw haters, Duterte said: “Eh nandyan na ‘yan, anong gagawin mo diyan? (It has already happened, what else is there to be done?)”