Marcos burial in hero grave back on in Philippines

Top court dismisses petitions arguing burial at national cemetery would be injustice to victims of martial rule

Marcos burial in hero grave back on in Philippines

World Bulletin / News Desk

The Philippines is to allow a controversial ex-president to be buried at a cemetery for national heroes after a top court dismissed petitions from opposition groups.

At a press briefing in Manila on Tuesday, a spokesperson for the country's Supreme Court said magistrates voted 9-5 to dismiss petitions arguing Ferdinand Marcos' burial at the Heroes' Cemetery would be a "grave injustice" to those who suffered and were killed under the dictator's rule.

Petitions to block the burial were filed after President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he would allow the internment, as Marcos -- whose remains have been held in a refrigerated crypt since his family returned from exile in Hawaii in the early 1990s -- was a former president and a soldier.

The decision has not sat well with victims and rights groups, who have argued that only those who serve as an inspiration and as models for emulation can be buried at the cemetery.

The government has clarified, however, that Marcos would not gain the status of a "hero" as it acknowledged the "dark pages of history during martial law", where thousands were killed and jailed for opposing his one-man rule.

On Tuesday, Philippines news website Philstar quoted one of the petitioners as saying that he respects the court's decision but is "puzzled" as to why the court would allow the burial.

Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman called Marcos a "judicially and historically confirmed despot, plunderer and transgressor of human rights".

Following Marcos' 1972 announcement of martial law, hundreds of outspoken critics of the Marcos administration were rounded up, while the military put an end to newspaper publications and radio and television networks.

He was toppled by the so-called People Power rallies in 1986 that forced him into exile in Hawaii, where he died in 1989.

Human rights lawyer and activist Rep. Neri Colmenares told Philstar that opposition to the burial would continue.

Colmenares -- who Philstar reported was a victim of torture during the Marcos administration -- said his group would file a motion for reconsideration of the ruling and try to convince the president not to go ahead with the move.

In June, victims of martial law laid stones -- inscribed with the names of those killed during Marcos’ rule -- at a gravesite in the cemetery said to reserved for the late strongman.

Last Mod: 08 Kasım 2016, 13:42
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