MANILA, Aug. 23 (UPI) — The high court in the Philippines has stopped plans by the government of President Rodrigo Duterte to bury former President Ferdinand Marcos at the Heroes’ Cemetery.
The court issued a 20-day Status Quo Ante Order in response to four petitions seeking to have the former dictator’s body moved to the national cemetery, officially known as Libingan ng mga Bayani.
That means the government’s plans can’t proceed until the high court issues a ruling. Oral arguments have been reset for Aug. 30.
“A status quo order brings us back to the prevailing situation before a certain event,” government spokesman Theodore Te said in a news conference. “The event we’re talking about is the order issued by the DND. So we are back to the day before that order.”
The order pleases Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares and Gabriella Party List Rep. Emmi de Jesus, who both claim to be martial law victims under Marcos’ regime.
“The Marcoses have persisted in demanding his LNB burial to send a political message to the world that Marcos was a hero and that the People Power that overthrew him was an unjust coup against a hero president,” Colmenares told CNN.
“This will not only exacerbate the long festering wounds of the victims of his abuses who have yet to get justice but is also an odious reversal of history.”
De Jesus said the petitions “are just and historically necessary to remind the nation of the horrors of a brutal dictatorship.”
On Aug. 14, about 1,500 people protested in Manila against plans by Duterte to move the embalmed body of Marcos from his home town of Batac.
Marcos was elected in 1965 but overthrown in 1986 after repressing dissent with torture and killings. He 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.
Duterte has defended his decision to bury Marcos at the Heroes’ Cemetery, saying Marcos “was a Filipino soldier.”