Filipinos protest hero burial plans for late dictator Ferdinand Marcos

MANILA, Aug. 14 (UPI) — About 1,500 people protested Sunday in Manila against plans by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to move the body of disgraced former President Ferdinand Marcos from his home town of Batac to the National Heroes’ Cemetery.

Marcos was elected in 1965 but was overthrown in 1986 after repressing dissent with torture and killings. Marcos died of kidney, heart and lung ailments in 1989 while in exile in Honolulu, Hawaii. His body was brought back to the Philippines in 1993.

Protesters, braving rains and wind, say a “hero’s” burial would be a “grave injustice” to his victims.

Duterte last week instructed his officials to star preparations to re-bury Marcos, whose embalmed body is on display in his hometown, in September.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who participated in the protest, has introduced a resolution opposing the move because Marcos is an “unrepentant enemy of our heroes.”

Duterte has defended his decision, saying he should be buried at the National Heroes’ Cemetery because he “was a Filipino soldier.”

More than 40,000 people are buried in the cemetery.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the president allowed protests but remains firm in his decision. Andanar said the protests are “consistent with his philosophy that criticism, good or bad, true or not, is part of the territory of governance in public.”

Duterte, addressing reports that Marcos made false claims about his war record, said last week, “Even if he is not a hero, he was a soldier.”

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