Former Philippines Dictator Eligible For Burial In Heroes' Cemetery, Court Rules

Tracy FergusonNov 10, 2016

But as to whether or not the late president can be considered a "hero", Duterte said, "it depends on the beholder".

The justices overwhelmingly endorsed President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to allow the burial at the "Cemetery of Heroes" in Manila, three decades after a famous "People Power" revolt forced Marcos into USA exile and restored democracy.

"Its basis may be purely legal but the decision sweeps away the sacrifice of human rights victims of Marcos's Martial Law and signals the revision of our people's history", Baguilat lamented.

"Marcos still stirs deep feelings among many Filipinos".

"That part of the sins of Marcos has yet to be proven by a competent court", he said.

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A coalition of almost 40 groups opposed to Marcos's burial at the cemetery issued a joint statement expressing their anger over the court's ruling.

"'Yung sabihin lang na nawala ang pera (Just saying that the money was lost) is altogether a different issue", he added. His remains were returned to the Philippines four years later where they've been displayed in a glass sarcophagus since.

In the oral arguments on the case in September, Solicitor General Jose Calida argued that the burial of Marcos at LNMB was a campaign promise of President Duterte, who won the presidency with 16.6- million votes, under his platform of national reconciliation.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros said the decision would "effectively wipe the Marcos slate clean and negate the sacrifices of the thousands of courageous souls who fought and suffered under the brutal dictatorship".

Despite the track record of his regime, in 2016 the Marcos name still draws followers.

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He said former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the dictator's son who lost the vice presidential race in the May elections, asked him during the commemroation of the third anniversayr of super typhoon Yolanda in Tacloban on Tuesday: "Can we now proceed?" He collected 38 percent of the vote, just one point behind the victor, as Sullivan reported for NPR from Manila in September.

"The majority found that the allotment of a cemetery plot at the LNMB for former President Marcos as a former president and commander-in-chief, a legislator, a secretary of National Defense, a military personnel, a veteran, and a Medal of Valor awardee, whether recognizing his contributions or simply his status as such, satisfies the public use requirement", Te said, in a press briefing.

"It validates our theory that the law and the regulations are clear in the matter of burial of ex-presidents and soldiers", he said.

Baguilat meanwhile if the burial pushes through future accounts of Marcos's interment should accurately report its context - how the President insisted on the burial to fulfill a promise to the dictator's family, and how the Supreme Court disregarded the appeals to morality by human rights victims and their families.

FORMER dictator Ferdinand Marcos can be buried at a heroes' cemetery, the Philippines court ruled on Tuesday in a decision opponents say rolled back the country's democratic triumph when Filipinos ousted the strongman in a "people power" revolt three decades ago. But his family fought for his remains to be transferred to the heroes' cemetery.

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His daughter Imee, the Ilocos Norte governor, said getting the hero's burial had been a long struggle.

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