Philippine national historian quits post over Ferdinand Marcos burial

By Allen Cone  |  Nov. 30, 2016 at 10:48 AM
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MANILA, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- The Philippines' top government historian resigned out of protest over President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to bury dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the National Heroes' Cemetery.

Maria Serena Diokno, chairwoman of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, said in a statement Tuesday the burial in Taguig City was "wrong, denies our history, erases the memory of lives lost and destroyed, mocks the collective action we took to oust the dictator, and denigrates the value of our struggle for freedom."

Another member of the board, Francis A. Gealogo, announced his resignation after Diokno's announcement. The letter, dated Nov. 19, was submitted to the president one day after Marcos was buried at the National Heroes' Cemetery, known as Libingan ng mga Bayan.

Marcos was elected in 1965 and overthrown in 1986 after repressing dissent with torture and killings. He died in 1989 while in exile in Honolulu, and his body was brought back to the Philippines in 1993. Marcos originally was buried in his hometown of Bata.

Diokno, who said her resignation was effective Thursday, said she would "join the popular assertion of our history" in rallies in Manila on Wednesday. They were to proceed to the People Power Monument on Edsa. Diokno was appointed in 2011 by then-President Benigno Aquino III.

"For a moment I thought I could remain at the [NHCP] and protect our history from those in and out of government who attempt to deface it. But the multitude of especially young Filipinos who have come out in defense of history and are prepared to coauthor it for their generation and their future point to one clear realization: They, we all, will guard our history," Diokno said.

The historical commission released a study in July stating that Marcos lied about earning U.S. war medals and his "military record is fraught with myths, factual inconsistencies and lies."

Diokno is the daughter of the late Jose Wright Diokno, a nationalist and prominent senator, who was rounded up by Marcos during martial law in 1972 and detained for two years without being charged.

The Supreme Court voted 9-5 in favor of Marcos' burial last month but she said Duterte "could have taken the higher ground. But he chose not to."

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