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Philippine dictator Marcos buried with military honours at heroes' cemetery

JT-40591849 - 18_11_2016 - PHILIPPINES-POLITICS-DEMOCRACY-MARCOS.jpg
Former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos was buried with military honours at a heroes'cemetery in the capital Manila on Friday, almost 30 years after his death in Hawaii, amid small protests by human rights groups and a politicians.

[MANILA] Former Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos was buried with military honours at a heroes'cemetery in the capital Manila on Friday, almost 30 years after his death in Hawaii, amid small protests by human rights groups and a politicians.

Many in the Philippines were angered by the way Marcos' family had kept the timing of the burial secret, including Vice President Leni Robredo who likened the ceremony to "a thief in the night". "This is nothing new to the Marcoses - they who had hidden wealth, hidden human rights abuses and now hidden burial - with complete disrespect for the rule of law," Mr Robredo, who belongs to an anti-Marcos political party, said in a statement.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who is attending the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima, Peru, had given orders in August that the interment could go ahead, fulfilling an election campaign promise. But it only took place after a Supreme Court ruling last week that dismissed objections from human rights groups.

Marcos' eldest daughter, Imee Marcos, the governor of Ilocos Norte province, thanked Mr Duterte for allowing her father, a former soldier and guerrilla leader during World War Two, to be laid to rest with soldiers. "At last, my beloved father's last will to be buried with fellow soldiers was fulfilled today," she said. She also asked people to understand the family's decision to keep the ceremony"simple, private and solemn".

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The media was banned from the ceremony and waited outside the cemetery as a 21-gun salute was fired and a Philippine flag was handed to Marcos' widow, Imelda.

Dozens of protesters rallied around Manila, some burning pictures of the late ruler.

Past governments had blocked the burial, because they were either led by enemies of Marcos or bowed to public opinion, and the body had lain in refrigerated mausoleum in Marcos' hometown of Paoay since its return to the Philippines in the early 1990s.

Marcos had imposed martial law in 1972, before the end of his second term as president and ruled by decrees.

He ruled the Philippines for 20 years, during which time he, his family and cronies amassed an estimated US$10 billion in ill-gotten wealth, a commission found. Tens of thousands of suspected communist rebels and political foes were killed.

He was chased from office in a people's power revolt in 1986 and died in exile in Hawaii three years later. The Marcos family returned to the Philippines in the 1990s and became powerful politicians representing his home province of Ilocos Norte.

In Lima, Duterte's spokesman Ernesto Abella said the family did not inform the president about the burial, insisting the government was only implementing the court's decision. "He was given a soldier's burial," Abella said. "I hope the burial would bring about a cycle of healing for the Filipino people," he said, noting that a generation of Filipinos had "grown up not really knowing about the Marcos years."

REUTERS

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