It is final: Former President Ferdinand Marcos can be buried at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday.
Voting 9-5, the high court dismissed all seven cases challenging the proposed burial of the former strongman Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, two independent Supreme Court sources confirmed to CNN Philippines.
One of Duterte's campaign promises was that he will allow the burial of Marcos at the LNMB "not because he was a hero, but because he was a Filipino soldier."
The Libingan ng mga Bayani was established in 1947 to pay tribute to Filipino soldiers and fallen heroes, and to serve as a final resting place for former Philippine presidents, war veterans, notable government statesmen, dignitaries, and national artists.
Duterte maintained his position that "there is a law which grants Marcos a burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani."
He earlier appealed to the Supreme Court to rule on the issue based on the law and not on emotions.
He added that regardless of its ruling, the Supreme Court's decision be followed.
Supreme Court's delays
The Supreme Court decision puts to rest the issue of a hero's burial for Marcos, which has been a divisive one for almost 25 years.
The Supreme Court has issued a status quo ante order (SQAO), which was extended twice, on the burial decision.
The order, first issued in August, prevented Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, the Department of National Defense, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and others from proceeding with preparations for the hero's burial.
In September 7, the high court extended the SQAO, postponing the initial plan to bury Marcos on September 18 — the late president's 99th birthday.
Solicitor General Jose Calida argued before the Supreme Court that Marcos is qualified to be interred at the Heroes' Cemetery because there is no longer a "national trauma" caused by the martial law.
As proof, Calida cited the 14 million Filipinos who voted for Marcos' son, Bongbong Marcos, for vice president in the last elections. He lost by more than 200,000 votes to Leni Robredo.
For the second time, the Supreme Court extended its stay order to November 8 because several justices were still writing their separate opinions on the issue.
The long road to a hero's burial
Marcos's remains have been interred and preserved in an airconditioned family mausoleum in Ilocos Norte since 1993.
Marcos died in exile in Hawaii on September 28, 1989, three and a half years after he was deposed by the People Power revolution.
People Power swept his opponent and the symbol of opposition to the Marcos dictatorship —the housewife Corazon Aquino — to the presidency from 1986 to 1992.
Following her death in 2009, her son Benigno Aquino III, won the elections and served as president from 2010 to 2016.
Aquino was succeeded by Duterte, who won the presidential elections in May.
"He (the late President Marcos) is qualified to be buried there. Kung ayaw ng ibang Pilipino, fine," Duterte said then. "Mag-demonstrate kayo, go ahead. You can use the streets," he added.
[Translation: "He is qualified to be buried there. If other Filipinos don't want this, fine. You can demonstrate, go ahead. You can use the streets."]
Duterte has always believed the issue on Marcos' burial has been a source of division among Filipinos.