MANILA – Victims of torture and illegal detention during martial law said Saturday they would ask the Supreme Court to stop the planned burial of the late dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes’ Cemetery).
Marcos’ internment there, which was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte, will be a “grave injustice” to the thousands who suffered under his iron-fisted rule, Samahan ng Mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) spokeswoman Trinidad Herrera said in a statement.
“Marcos is no hero. He was a mass murderer, torturer and a plunderer. To confer national honors to Marcos is a defilement of the people’s historic struggle against the tyranny of martial law,” Herrera said.
The group appealed to Duterte to reconsider his decision and instead hasten the process of compensating the victims of the Marcos regime.
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Marcos’ refrigerated remains are kept at the family’s ancestral home in Ilocos Norte province. His body was flown back to the Philippines in 1993, four years after he died while on exile in Hawaii.
Since Marcos' ouster in 1986, the government has struggled to recover $10 million in ill-gotten wealth and an arduous process to verify the claims of some 75,000 victims and their relatives will not be finished until 2018.
The Marcos family agreed in 1993, before they were allowed to return to the Philippines, to bury the former leader in Ilocos Norte and not in the Libingan ng mga Bayani, said former interior secretary Rafael Alunan.
Alunan, who negotiated with the Marcoses on behalf of then President Fidel Ramos, said a signed copy of the agreement should be available in the Malacanang archives.
Alunan, a Duterte supporter, said he was “protective” of the President and “any issue we see that could undermine his effectiveness and erode his political capital too early in the game compels us to speak out and point the way for his consideration and appropriate action.”
Marcos being a past president or soldier was not the issue, but rather whether or not he qualified as a hero, Alunan said.
“His ouster as President and commander-in-chief speaks for itself, and the exception to the rule that disqualifies a candidate should apply here,” he said.