MANILA (UPDATED) - Hundreds of people braved heavy rains on Sunday to join an assembly against the burial of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Lawmakers, student groups, and advocacy groups joined the non-partisan citizens' assembly at the Lapu-Lapu Area in Rizal Park, Manila.
Among them were director Joel Lamangan, former Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chairperson Etta Rosales and senators Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros.
The crowd carried a large banner stating "Marcos not a hero." They also waved "dislike" signs, placards and the Philippine flag.
Some also held mock laser swords inspired by the Japanese series "Voltes V," which was unceremoniously taken off air by the Marcos regime for its supposedly rebellious messages.
Bobby Tañada, a human rights lawyer during the Martial Law rule of Marcos, were among those who spoke before the throng.
"Huwag nang ilibing sa Libingan ng mga Bayani si Ferdinand Marcos, ilibing na lang siya sa Ilocos Norte," Tañada said, drawing cheers from the crowd.
Most of the participants were wearing white shirts that signify unity and "letting go of their political colors." But some were also clad in yellow, the color worn by protesters in the EDSA revolution that overthrew the Marcos regime.
The mass gathering was organized by the Coalition Against Marcos Burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani (CAMB-LNMB), which aims to gather signatures to stop the internment of Marcos at the Heroes' Cemetery.
Organizers were confident that they can gather 7,000 signatures through the program.
The assembly started at 8 a.m. and ran until 12 noon. Simultaneous rallies were also held in Cebu, Davao, Baguio and other key cities.
The burial of Marcos at the LNMB is expected to be held on September 18, after a nod from President Rodrigo Duterte.
Duterte has insisted that Marcos should receive a burial fit for a former soldier.
"You need only to be a president and a soldier. We are not debating about heroes here. That's the law. We cannot go out of the law," he said.
The President is also undeterred by the findings of the National Historical Commission that the late dictator faked his military records during World War 2.
The Commission has said Marcos' claims of medals and the guerrilla unit he founded were not corroborated by the National Archives of the US.
-- With reports from Zhander Cayabyab, DZMM; Raphael Bosano and Carine Asutilla, ABS-CBN News