Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The man who put the country under martial law may be resting in peace at the ‘Libingan ng mga Bayani‘ (LNMB) or heroes’ cemetery, but the uproar over his burial is not dying down just yet.
Just a few hours after news about former President Ferdinand Marcos’ funeral rites at the LNMB broke out, groups of protesters started to gather at the People’s Power monument along Edsa.
Most of them clad in black and carrying banners, they chanted various objections to the unexpected sudden turn of events: “Marcos No Hero,” “Dictator,” “Thief.”
The protesters cried that what had just happened at the LNMB was the “burial of truth and justice.” They said they were decrying the attempts of the Marcos family to revise history and sugarcoat the wrongdoings of martial law.
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Burial of Philippines’ Ferdinand Marcos in Heroes’ Cemetery Draws Outrage
Unannounced ceremony decried by critics who were still appealing a court ruling allowing the interment
MANILA—Former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos was buried Friday at the national Heroes’ Cemetery here in an unannounced ceremony, prompting an outcry from anti-Marcos activists who were still appealing a court decision allowing his interment.
The military said it was informed late Thursday by the Marcos family of the burial, which had been sought by President Rodrigo Duterte, a close ally of the Marcos family. Imee Marcos, the former dictator’s eldest daughter and governor in his home province of Ilocos Norte, in a statement apologized to supporters for making the ceremony private, saying the family wanted to avoid hurting the feelings of his critics.
But opponents of Mr. Marcos, whose human-rights abuses defined his 21 years in power before his fall and subsequent death in exile in 1989, decried the burial as a provocation. Campaigners had hoped to block the funeral at the Heroes’ Cemetery, which is reserved for national leaders and war heroes.
“This isn’t closure. This just opened wounds of torture, rape, killings of tens of thousands,” said Sen. Francis Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party of former President Benigno Aquino III, whose father, a staunch Marcos critic, was assassinated upon his return to the Philippines in 1983.
The Supreme Court this month had overruled objections to Mr. Duterte’s proposal to bury Mr. Marcos at the site, saying the former leader’s military service qualified him for the honor.
Court spokesman Theodore Te said there was no court order against the interment, and Mr. Duterte has said the burial should go ahead.
Bonifacio Ilagan, a victim of torture during the Marcos years and a petitioner against the burial at the Heroes Cemetery, said in a televised interview that the Supreme Court was still hearing an appeal on its decision.
“They jumped the gun on all of us,” he said.
Despite the appeal, a reversal of the 9-5 decision in favor of the burial was considered unlikely.
Photos and video shared on Facebook by Gov. Marcos showed the military helicopter arriving with the remains, a horse-drawn caisson and the flag-draped casket being carried on the shoulders of several soldiers in a somber military parade. His widow, 87-year-oldImelda Marcos, wore black while the rest of the family was in white.
Gov. Marcos said the interment fulfilled her father’s last wish “to be buried in the company of his fellow soldiers.”
Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said a gun salute was given to Mr. Marcos as his remains were buried in an area reserved for former presidents. He said the Philippine flag draped over the casket was turned over to the widow.
Mr. Marcos died in Hawaii in 1989, three years after the People Power revolution that drove him from power after years of tyrannical rule and martial law. His body had been preserved behind glass in the family mausoleum in Ilocos Norte since the remains were brought back to the country in 1993.
The question of whether to bury him alongside other former presidents has long divided Filipinos. Historians say the dictator killed, jailed and tortured over 100,000 people and plundered $10 billion in state funds.
Many Filipinos today view him affectionately and see Mr. Duterte as a similar strongman figure. Mr. Duterte’s own authoritarian tendencies include a bloody war on drugs that has claimed thousands of lives and a threat last weekend to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, which would allow for warrantless arrests.
Write to Cris Larano at firstname.lastname@example.org