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Protesters free to rally

  • Written by EMontano
  • Published in Nation
  • Read: 213

NO need for permits to stage protest rallies against the Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday said he would allow protesters to stay in public places for as long as they want – even without securing permits from local officials.

Duterte was reacting to plans by militant groups to stage a Black Friday anti-Marcos rally at the Luneta.

He also said he would order the military to stay in their barracks during the protests. But a lean number of police and traffic personnel would be on hand to keep peace and order.

Noting plans to greet his return from Peru and New Zealand with rallies, Duterte stood pat in his stance to allow Marcos to be laid to rest at Libingan ng mga Bayani, even chiding protesters .

Was Marcos a President or not?  
   
The President even dared protesters that he would step down from office if they could show that Marcos had not been a president or a soldier – among the qualifications for being allowed burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
   
“Was the late Ferdinand Marcos a president? Was he a soldier? Never mind about a hero, you have to document something like that. To document heroism requires history,” Duterte said.
   
“To all the protest organizations, let me throw this simple proposition to you. I will gladly, and be happy even to step down and relinquish my post, if you can answer in the negative these two key questions: Was the late President Marcos a president, and was he a soldier?” he said in his speech shortly after arriving at the Davao International Airport from his trips to Peru and New Zealand.
   
He said Marcos was permitted to be buried at the heroes’ cemetery because he was a former president and soldier, and the law allows this.
   
“….. let me assure you that while your, while protest actions are being staged, our military forces will remain and be confined in their camps. They are restricted to be there in their proper places. We shall also keep a lean number of police personnel. Their role shall be limited to traffic enforcement and the basic police standards. They are prohibited from carrying long firearms. Protest action shall be allowed in all open public places for as long as they want with no time limit,” Duterte said.
   
Duterte also said that protesters “will neither need, hindi na kailangan, to secure rally permits in fear of being evicted.”
 
“Eh kung ganong mag-gulo, ako na mismo ang nagsasabi, as President, I assume that responsibility. Again, I will answer for all legal issues there. The purpose is to assure the public peace. To paraphrase what was said: I may not agree with what you say but I will protect your right to say it. That is our democracy.As your President, you have my word and you have that commitment,” the President said.