Ferdinand Marcos holds the record of serving the longest as President of the Republic of the Philippines. He was the first sitting President to run for and win re-election, but on his second term declared martial law ostensibly to combat growing public disorder and a surge of communist and Muslim insurgencies; though if you’d ask anybody claiming to have been a victim of his harsh regime at the time they’d tell you otherwise.
Upon winning a hastily-called emergency election through alleged foul means, a 1986 popular uprising centered on the widow of his worst political enemy forced Marcos into exile in Hawaii, where he died three years later. His family eventually returned and slowly became viable in local and national politics once more, but the strongman’s remains were barred by succeeding administrations from being buried with any sort of honors and thus left preserved in a family mausoleum for public viewing, until now.
CNN Philippines reports that the Philippine Supreme Court has eliminated, through a majority vote, the last standing cases that sought to prevent Marcos’ internment at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery). Deciding 9 to 5, with one abstaining judge, the Court dismissed claims by protesting parties of the late dictator’s unfit reputation for burial at the cemetery where past statesmen, ranking military officers, veterans and other officially acclaimed heroes have been laid to rest since its establishment in 1947.
The momentous decision was greeted outside with loud furor from martial law-era human rights victims and their families and supporters who are adamant in their stance that “Marcos is No Hero”. On the other hand, constituents and longtime allies of the Marcos family were overjoyed at the seemingly certainty that incumbent President Rodrigo Duterte is holding true to one of his campaign promises to finally settle the Marcos matter with his trademark cutting decisiveness.
On Tuesday November 8, Marcos’ daughter Ilocos Norte governor Imee Marcos told the media that should her father’s burial at the LMB be given the green light, they will not inter him with past presidential honors but as a former soldier instead, stating that he was a military man who would have liked to be buried with his fellows. Her brother, former senator and vice-presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., hopes that this will help to finally complete the healing process between his family and the anti-Marcos factions.
President Duterte made the call to allow the Marcos LMB internment on the view of public interest, as the Court also noted in their decision that the so-called “Martial Law trauma” still pervading Philippine society has long faded if Marcos’ widow and children could successfully run for political office. Marcos Jr. was narrowly beaten in the recent May polls by Vice-President Leni Robredo.
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