Half of Filipinos want hero’s burial for Marcos

MANILA, March 30, 2011 (AFP) – Half of the population in the Philippines want to give late dictator Ferdinand Marcos a belated hero’s burial, according to survey released Wednesday.

Fifty percent of respondents said Marcos was “worthy to be buried in the heroes’ cemetery”, according to the respected Social Weather Stations research group, which undertook the nationwide survey.

However 49 percent said Marcos was unworthy of such honours while one percent did not answer, the research group said.

The survey of 1,200 adults, conducted this month, came amid growing pressure by the Marcos family and its allies to have the late president interred in a Manila cemetery normally reserved for military veterans and respected leaders.

Marcos was elected president in 1965 but declared martial law in 1972, ruling with dictatorial powers until a popular revolt toppled him from office and sent him fleeing to US exile in 1986.

He is accused of overturning the country’s democratic system, overseeing widespread human rights abuses and looting billions of dollars from state coffers.

Marcos died in exile in 1989 and the government then refused to give in to his family’s demand for his internment in the heroes’ cemetery.

His family was forced to instead keep his embalmed body on display in a crypt in his hometown.

But Marcos’s family and political allies have slowly started to regain political power, and as part of their rise have pushed for the family patriarch to have a hero’s burial.

His widow, the flamboyant former first lady Imelda Marcos, was elected to the House of Representatives last year.

In the same elections his son and namesake was elected to the Senate, and many political observers expect he will run for the presidency in 2016 polls.

The current president, Benigno Aquino, has asked his vice president to study whether Marcos should be buried in the heroes’ cemetery, saying he cannot look at the issue objectively.

Aquino’s father and namesake was murdered by Marcos’s troops in 1983 while his mother led the revolution that toppled the dictator. She then served as president for six years.

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