Ferdinand Marcos granted hero's burial by Philippines' top court

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  Nov. 8, 2016 at 6:56 AM
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MANILA, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- The Supreme Court of the Philippines has voted to allow the body of Ferdinand Marcos, ruler of the country for about two decades, to be moved to Manila's Heroes' Cemetery.

Justices ruled 9-5, with one abstaining, on Tuesday to dismiss a case seeking to block Marcos' burial at the cemetery set aside to commemorate heroes. The ruling will allow Marcos to receive an honorable burial despite accusations he was a ruthless dictator who is blamed for thousands of deaths, tortures and military kidnappings while ruling under martial law.

Protesters -- many carrying signs that read "Marcos is no hero!" -- for months have said Marcos' human rights and corruption record should prohibit his remains from being interred at the cemetery, known as Libingan ng mga Bayan. Marcos' embalmed body is on display in his home city of Batac.

After winning election in May, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced the plans to move Marcos -- citing his service as a soldier. Marcos fought in World War II.

Marcos' daughter Imee said her father "wanted to be buried together with his men."

"The burial will be a simple, ordinary soldier's burial," Imee told CNN.

The vice president of the Philippines, Leni Robredo, an opposition party member who was elected separately from Duterte, said she was "deeply saddened" by the ruling.

"We have consistently opposed the burial of the martial law dictator in the heroes' sacred ground. Their family's refusal to take responsibility for atrocities of the regime is an insult to the Filipino people," Robredo wrote. "Our nation's healing begins with the acknowledgement of the truth and resolution of the past. To bury Marcos in the Libingan ng mga Bayani would keep the wounds of the past unhealed."

Marcos died in 1989 -- three years after being removed from power when more than a million people took to the streets in the People Power Revolution.

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