The Philippine Supreme Court has allowed the burial of former president and dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Heroes’ Cemetery. Many people have expressed outrage at this decision. Ana P. Santos reports from Manila.
On Tuesday, November 8, the Philippine Supreme Court ruled that Ferdinand Marcos would be buried in the Heroes’ Cemetery.
“While he (Marcos) was not entirely good, he was not pure evil either. Certainly, he was just a human who erred like us,” the judges said.
Social media users in the Philippines were incensed at the ruling, with many Filipinos taking to the streets in several cities across the country to express their anger.
“We are flabbergasted. We were hoping that the Supreme Court would uphold democratic principles and justice,” Aida Santos, a member of Claimants 1081, an organization of Martial Law survivors who filed a suit against the Marcos estate, told DW.
Marcos ruled the Philippines for 21 years from 1965 to 1986. He ruled as dictator under Martial Law from 1972-1981. During those years, more than 60,000 people were detained, over 30,000 tortured, and an estimated 3,000 were killed, according to rights groups.
Marcos was overthrown in a peaceful revolution in 1986. The former dictator died in 1989 while living in exile in Hawaii. Later, his remains were flown back to the Philippines and they have remained in a refrigerated crypt in his home province of Ilocos in the country’s north.
“The people are aghast, disappointed and angry. We will not stop fighting for justice,” Santos said.
A coalition against the Marcos burial in the Heroes’ Cemetery is planning to appeal against the Supreme Court’s Tuesday decision.
“President Rodrigo Duterte called Marcos a hero. He should be held accountable for saying that,” said Jean Enriquez, coordinator for the World March of Women, adding that the protesters plan to block the burial, which has been tentatively scheduled for early December.
The Marcos burial has long divided Filipinos. Duterte had made it clear during his presidential campaign that he would not oppose a hero’s burial for Marcos because he was “a former soldier and a president.”
Preparations for Marcos’ burial had started in September but the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order after the Martial Law victims filed a petition against it.
Duterte’s links with the Marcos family
Marcos’ son ran for vice president in the May election but lost by a mere 250,000 votes to Leonora Robredo. Subsequently, Marcos Jr. alleged election fraud, challenging the results in more than 39,000 precincts across 25 provinces and five cities.
Although he ran with a different vice-presidential candidate, President Duterte has been vocal about his alliance with the Marcos family. He also said he would support Marcos Jr.’s bid for the vice-presidency.
The Marcos family was part of the entourage that accompanied Duterte during a state visit to China last month. At a gathering of the Filipino community in Beijing, Duterte introduced Marcos Jr. as his potential “second in command.”