MANILA -- (UPDATED) Senator Leila De Lima on Sunday urged the public to remember the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos as a thief and not a hero on the second anniversary of his interment at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
President Rodrigo Duterte allowed Marcos to be transferred on November 18, 2016 at the Heroes' Cemetery from a crypt in Ilocos Norte province where his body had been kept for decades.
De Lima, in a statement, noted the recent graft conviction of the late strongman's wife, Ilocos Norte Rep. Imelda Marcos, for using her Cabinet position to maintain Swiss bank accounts during her husband's regime.
"Mabagal man ang naging pag-usad ng katarungan, hindi pa rin naging huli ang lahat. Dahil malinaw na pahayag ito sa buong mundo: Hindi bayani si Marcos. Nagnakaw ang mga Marcos," De Lima said in a statement.
(The pace of justice may have been slow, but it was not too late because it was a clear statement to the entire world that Marcos is not a hero. The Marcoses stole public funds.)
"Napakalaki ng pagkakaiba ng mga bayaning nag-alay ng buhay at nagmalasakit sa bayan, sa diktador na nag-udyok ng mga pagpatay, at nagdulot ng pasakit at kalunos-lunos na pagdurusa sa napakaraming Pilipino," she added.
(There is a big difference between a hero who gave up his life and showed concern for the country, and a dictator that encouraged killings and unleashed suffering for numerous Filipinos.)
The late former president Marcos and his associates were accused of pilfering $10 billion from the Philippines. He fled with his family to the US after a people's uprising ended his 20-year rule in 1986.
Marcos died in 1989 while still in exile. But his heirs later returned to Manila and have since staged a political comeback.
Imee Marcos is running for senator, while Bongbong Marcos is contesting his narrow defeat to Vice President Leni Robredo in 2016.
Imelda Marcos, meanwhile, posted a bail of P150,000 for her temporary liberty while appealing her prison sentence of 42 to 77 years.
De Lima criticized the 89-year-old widow's provisional freedom, saying, "Hindi makatwiran na ang mga inosente ay nasa piitan, habang ang nahatulang guilty ay nagagawa pang makipag-party."
(It is unjust that the innocent are jailed, while those found guilty can still party.)
Imelda said she missed the Sandiganbayan's promulgation of her case because of "multiple organ infirmities." The lawmaker, however, was seen attending the birthday party of her daughter, Governor Imee Marcos, on the same day.
The activist group #BlockMarcos on Sunday mounted a protest calling for the former First Lady's arrest and the exhumation of her husband from the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
"Mahalaga na ipakita po natin na hindi tayo makakalimot kahit na ano pang gawin nila. Alam natin na diktador si Marcos, alam natin na mamamatay-tao siya, alam natin na napakarami niyang ninakaw sa taongbayan," said the group's spokesperson Herbert Lucena.
(It's important for us to show that we will never forget no matter what they do. We know that Marcos is a dictator, we know he's a murderer, we know that he plundered public coffers.)
A civil case seeking to recover some P200 billion allegedly plundered by the Marcoses is nearing resolution at the Sandiganbayan, court records showed.
Former Commission on Human Rights chairperson Etta Rosales echoed this sentiment, saying Filipinos can only move on from the supposed atrocities of the Marcos regime if he is "moved out" out of the Hero's Cemetery.
“Sabi ni Imee we must move on. Well, sa halip na mag-move on, they must move out of LNMB kasi walang papel si Marcos ngayon na nakalibing bilang bayani kung saan napakita ng korte na sila pala ay mga mandarambong at magnanakaw," she said.
(Imee said we must move on. Instead of moving on, they must move out of LNMB now that Marcos has lost his place to be buried as a hero after the court showed that they are plunderers and thieves.)
With reports from Bianca Dava and Henry Atuelan, ABS-CBN News