Protests as Mar­cos given hero’s burial

The Myanmar Times - - World -

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. –

Photo: AFP

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.

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