Thursday, 17 November 2016

Former Philippines dictator being buried in Heroes' cemetery

A surprise decision to give former Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos a hero's burial Friday has triggered further protest, according to CNN affiliate CNN Philippines.
Marcos is being laid to rest at the National Heroes' Cemetery in Metro Manila at noon (11 p.m. Thursday ET), Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa told the network.
    A helicopter carrying Marcos' remains is expected to arrive at the cemetery shortly ahead of a service attended only by his family.
    Images tweeted by CNN Philippines showed a line of police officers with riot shields outside the cemetery gates. A 21-gun salute was sounded as the funeral rites continued.


    Vice President Leni Robredo, who opposed the burial, said the surprise burial showed the Marcos family was acting "like a thief in the night."
    "(Marcos) is no hero. If he were, obviously his family would not have to hide his burial like a shameful criminal deed."
    Others said it was "a shameless betrayal."
    "It smacks of bad faith (and) bad taste," Edre Olalia, a lawyer for one of the petitioners in a court case to prevent the burial, told CNN.
    "We think that the all-time thief, tyrant, and rights violator will turn in his grave and will not never lay to rest."
    Protestors took to Metro Manila streets to voice their objections.

    Government push

    After coming to power in June of this year, Duterte's administration pushed for the former leader's remains to be moved and interred in the Manila cemetery.
    Duterte, whose father served in Marcos' cabinet and was supported by Marcos' daughter in the presidential elections, has justified the re-internment on the grounds that it is legal to do so.
    "He is qualified to be buried there. If other Filipinos don't want this, fine. You can demonstrate, go ahead. You can use the streets," he said in August.
    The Supreme Court, by a 9-5 vote on November 8, allowed the former president's burial at the cemetery.

    'Moral turpitude'

    Organizers of an August protest say that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) guidelines disqualify Marcos from receiving a hero's burial.
    They cite a clause that states "personnel who were convicted by fine judgment of an offense involving moral turpitude," were disqualified, according to a statement released by the coalition.
    Marcos ruled the Philippines with an iron fist for two-and-a-half decades until his ouster in the 1986 "People Power" revolution.
    He died three years after being exiled to Hawaii. His body was eventually brought back to a mausoleum in the family's stronghold of Ilocos Norte, in the Philippines' northeast, where it has remained until today.
    Many young Filipinos have little or no knowledge of Marcos and martial law.
    In recent years the Marcos family has re-emerged on the political scene.
    Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. narrowly lost the election for Vice President of the Philippines this year.
    The late dictator's widow, Imelda Marcos, has been elected four times to the House of Representatives, despite ongoing controversies over the huge sums of money she and her husband plundered from the country.

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