Protest over hero’s burial for Mar­cos

The Myanmar Times - - World -

PHILIPPINE ac­tivists and a his­tor­i­cal body yes­ter­day crit­i­cised Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte’s plan to give late dic­ta­tor Fer­di­nand Mar­cos a hero’s burial, say­ing the ex-leader lied about his mil­i­tary record.

Mr Duterte said on Au­gust 7 he would ful­fil his prom­ise to bury Mar­cos at the na­tional “He­roes’ Ceme­tery”, a con­tentious is­sue be­cause of wide­spread cor­rup­tion and rights abuses un­der the late dic­ta­tor.

The Na­tional His­tor­i­cal Com­mis­sion of the Philip­pines re­leased a study ques­tion­ing Mr Duterte’s stance that Mar­cos qual­i­fied for a hero’s burial be­cause he was a soldier dur­ing World War II.

“Mar­cos lied about re­ceiv­ing US medals ... [His] mil­i­tary record is fraught with myths, fac­tual in­con­sis­ten­cies,” the agency said.

“A doubt­ful record does not serve as sound, unas­sail­able ba­sis of his­tor­i­cal recog­ni­tion of any sort, let alone burial in a site in­tended, as its name sug­gests, for he­roes.”

Mr Mar­cos was top­pled in a mil­i­tary-backed pop­u­lar re­volt in 1986 and died in ex­ile in Hawaii in 1989.

But his fam­ily has in­sisted on a hero’s burial even though pre­vi­ous pres­i­dents re­fused this.

In the mean­time, they have kept his pre­served body on dis­play in their home town in the north­ern prov­ince of Ilo­cos Norte.

Mar­cos was elected pres­i­dent in 1965 and de­clared mar­tial law in 1972, rul­ing as a dic­ta­tor while he, his fam­ily and al­lies en­riched them­selves through mas­sive cor­rup­tion as his troops sup­pressed dis­sent.

Anti-cor­rup­tion watch­dog Trans­parency In­ter­na­tional in 2004 named Mar­cos the sec­ond-most cor­rupt leader of all time.

De­spite his pro­claimed stance against cor­rup­tion, Mr Duterte has heaped praise on Mar­cos as the Philip­pines’ “best pres­i­dent”. He main­tains close ties with the Mar­cos fam­ily, who sup­ported his cam­paign.

Mr Duterte’s de­fence sec­re­tary or­dered the mil­i­tary on Au­gust 7 to start pre­par­ing for the burial. –

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