Chief Justice aspirant believes Marcos burial united Filipinos

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 16) — The controversial burial of former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB) has helped unify the country, a Supreme Court Chief Justice candidate said.

Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta faced members of the Judicial Bar Council in a public interview on Thursday as one of five candidates vying for the post of ousted Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Despite protests, the Supreme Court in November 2016 ruled Marcos can be buried at the LNMB. Peralta not only voted to dismiss petitions to block the burial of the former strongman, he also penned the Supreme Court decision.

JBC member Toribio Ilao Jr. asked Peralta about the decision put to rest the issue of an LNMB burial for Marcos, which has divided the country for over 25 years.

"Do you think Filipinos found closure and the families of the dead and injured by the martial law were able to move on?" Ilao said.

Peralta said the issue of the burial should have been buried the same time Marcos was formally laid to rest at LNMB.

"I hope that issue has already been buried, your honor. Because if you do not bury that issue, then we cannot move on. I still believe that whatever is the past, we have to move on. We will not improve as a nation if we do not," the candidate said.

Related: Martial law victims: Marcos burial in heroes cemetery mocks our sacrifices

He added it seems like the country is on its way to moving on.

Ilao further prodded Peralta, "Do you think it brought unity to the country?"

"I think so. We do not anymore receive or hear about the complaints about the burial of the late President Marcos. We are now focused on the issues faced by the nation," he replied.

Marcos' remains were buried at the LNMB on November 18, 2016, 27 years after his death. His remains came from the Marcos Museum and Mausoleum in Batac, his hometown in Ilocos Norte.