MANILA, Philippines – Protesters of mostly young people occupied the People Power Monument in Quezon City on Wednesday decrying government’s attempt to revise history in allowing the burial of dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Heroes’ Cemetery.
Despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s insistence that Marcos was not buried as a hero, protesters opposed the move as violating democratic principles and symbols by honoring the long-dead strongman.
Organizers estimated the crowd at the monument alone at 30,000 at around 8:45 p.m., while the Quezon City police reported a conservative count of 3,000. Other unofficial estimates also reached 50,000.
Former Sen. Roberto Tanada, a human rights lawyer, urged Duterte to retract his order to have Marcos laid to rest among heroes.
“Nananawagan ako sa Marcos family. Gusto natin mag-move on o magkaisa pero paano magkakaroon ng closure kung ganyan ang ginagawa ninyo,” Tanada said, speaking before the crowd.
Maria Serena Diokno, who resigned from her post as the chair of the National Historical Commission on Tuesday, said people should not allow Martial Law to return. Marcos’ martial law is considered among the darkest periods of history when thousands who opposed the authoritarian leader were killed or tortured.
Diokno said she has talked to historians and academics to help mend educational gaps on the period.
“They are ready to go around schools and offices to talk about Martial Law,” Diokno said at the rally.
Other demonstrations, meanwhile, were also staged at various sites such as at Plaza Miranda in Manila and Plaza Independencia in Cebu City against Marcos’ burial earlier during the day, a nationwide holiday commemorating the birth of 19th century revolutionary leader Andres Bonifacio. – Reports from Jonathan de Santos and Patricia Lourdes Viray
Tags: authoritarian leader, “people power”, Duterte, Ferdinand Marcos, Heroes' Cemetery, Maria Serena Diokno, martial law, National Historical Commission, Philippines, Roberto Tanada, torture, urged Duterte to retract his order to have Marcos laid to rest among heroes, violating democratic principles