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Duterte, Marcos meet on potential Cabinet post
Shared/Posted: Jun 12, 2016 at 12:33pm
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. met here Friday night and talked about different issues including a possible Cabinet post for the senator.
The meeting, which was held at a bar and lasted for about three hours, was the first time the two friends saw each other personally after the May 9 polls.
Marcos arrived at the bar at around 8:30 p.m. while Duterte, who has earned the reputation as a nocturnal mayor of this city, arrived at around 11:30 p.m.
Residents living in shanties adjacent to the bar eagerly waited for the arrival of the two political figures as journalists staked out, hoping to take photos and to get interviews. The meeting ended at about 3 a.m. yesterday.
Marcos said the meeting was an opportunity for him to congratulate Duterte for his victory and to talk about what happened during the campaign period.
“Everyone was here. We told stories about the campaign,” he told reporters in a chance interview.
Asked whether Duterte would offer him a cabinet post after the one-year ban on appointing losing candidates, Marcos said: “Well we talked about a little bit about what will happen now but there are no details yet.”
Marcos lost to Liberal Party vice presidential candidate Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo by a slim margin of 200,000 votes. Under the law, a losing candidate cannot be appointed to a government post for one year after the elections. Marcos, however, claims that the 2016 election was marred with fraud and is set to file an election protest this month.
Marcos vows to support Duterte
Marcos said he is open to joining the Duterte cabinet as it would provide him an opportunity to serve the public
“If given a chance, of course. It would be a great honor,” the senator, whose term of office ends on June 30, said.
Marcos declined to say what government post he prefers, saying it would be up to Duterte to make the decision.
“I think we're getting far ahead of ourselves. We should leave that to the president-elect., He will be the one to decide,” he said.
While they ran under different parties last election, Marcos said he is ready to support Duterte’s administration “in any way possible.” Duterte’s runningmate was Sen. Alan Cayetano while Marcos was the vice presidential candidate of losing presidential bet Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.
“I’m always ready (to support) in any capacity, even if it is just, as I said, a frieny advice, informal whatever,” Marcos said.
Marcos also thanked Duterte for saying that he would not give a cabinet post to Robredo to avoid hurting his feelings.
“I am thankful to him for those words. He has been very kind and very thoughtful, I am happy that our friendship is still there,” the senator said.
Duterte had said that there is no compelling reason for him to give a Cabinet post to Robredo. He later on admitted that including Robredo in the cabinet might hurt Marcos.
Marcos said the Duterte administration’s plan to bury his father, the late President Ferdinand Marcos, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (heroes’ cemetery) was also discussed during the meeting.
“I thanked him (Duterte) for saying that he is ready to allow the burial of my father at the Libingan ng mga Bayani,” the senator said.
Marcos said it is possible that his father's remains would be interred in September this year. The elder Marcos was born on Sept. 11, 1917.
“There are discussions that it can be done in September but of course, these are very informal,” he said.
Marcos was ousted during the 1986 People Power Revolution, which installed Corazon Aquino into power and restored democracy in the country. He died of kidney, heart and lung ailments on Sept. 28, 1989 while in exile in Honolulu, Hawaii. The late strongman’s body was brought back to the Philippines in 1993 and is now inside a glass coffin in a family mausoleum in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
Victims of human rights abuses during the Marcos regime are opposed to proposals to give Marcos a hero’s burial, saying this would insult the real heroes who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the country. Duterte, however, believes interring Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani would put a closure to an issue that has long divided Filipinos.
“I will allow the burial of President Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani not because he is a hero. He was a Filipino soldier period. That can be arranged immediately,” Duterte said in May.
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