Protests as Marcos given hero’s burial
FORMER Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos was buried in a secretive ceremony at the National Heroes’ Cemetary, triggering street protests as opponents denounced what they said was the whitewashing of his brutal and corrupt rule.
The burial at the “Cemetery of Heroes” on November 18 was another stunning development in the remarkable political comeback of the Marcos family, a phenomenon given fresh energy by the clan’s strong alliance with new President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Supreme Court last week endorsed a decision by Mr Duterte to lay the dictator to rest at the heroes’ cemetery, three decades after millions of people took to the streets in the famous “People Power” revolution that ended Marcos’ reign.
The Marcos family and government moved quickly after the verdict, secretly flying the embalmed body to the cemetery and interring him despite appeals still pending with the Supreme Court.
“Like a thief in the night, the Marcos family deliberately hid the information of burying former president Marcos today from the Filipino people,” said Vice President Leni Robredo, who was elected separately to Mr Duterte and belongs to another party.
“This is nothing new to the Marcoses – they who had hidden wealth, hidden human rights abuses, and now, a hidden burial – with complete disregard for the law.”
His wheelchair-bound widow Imelda, 87, and their children and grandchildren followed a horse-drawn carriage with military escort that bore his Philippine flag-draped casket, footage released by the family on Facebook showed.
The military honoured Marcos at the ceremony with a 21-gun salute as soldiers in parade dress and ceremonial rifles stood to attention.
Two thousand riot police and soldiers guarded the perimeter of the cemetery during the ceremony, blocking entry by journalists.
Marcos opponents taken by surprise by the burial quickly organised a series of rallies across the Philippine capital of Manila that attracted thousands of people.
Marcos, his wife and their cronies plundered up to US$10 billion from state coffers and plunged the Philippines into crippling debt during his rule, according to government investigators and historians.
The dictator also oversaw widespread human rights abuses to maintain his control of the country and enable his plundering, with thousands of people killed and tortured, previous Philippine governments said.
Anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International in 2004 named Marcos the second-most corrupt leader of all time, behind Indonesian dictator Suharto.
After Marcos died in Hawaii in 1989, his family was allowed to return and began its political resurrection. –
Former Philippine first lady Imelda Marcos (in black) speaks to supporters at the graveyard of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the National Heroes’ Cemetery in Manila on November 19, a day after the late president was buried there.