Hundreds protest heroic burial plan for former Filipino dictator

Hundreds crowded a park in the Philippines on Sunday to protest plans by President Rodrigo Duterte to bury former leader Ferdinand Marcos in the National Heroes’ Cemetery.

The demonstration in Manila was held to protest the decision to re-inter Marcos, the dictator who ruled the Philippines with an iron fist for two-and-a-half decades. His preserved body is currently in repose in his hometown of Ilocos in the north of the country.

Organisers said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) guidelines disqualify Marcos from receiving a hero’s burial: citing a clause that states “personnel who were convicted by fine judgment of an offense involving moral turpitude,” were disqualified, according to a statement released by the coalition.

The crowd gathered despite intermittent but heavy rain to listen to speeches by prominent activists, politicians and victims of Marcos’ brutal crackdowns on dissent during a 20-year period of martial law, CNN said.

The location of the protest was significant — a park honouring Lapu-Lapu, the warrior recognised as the Philippines’ “first hero” for his uprising against Spanish colonial occupation in 1521.

Opponents content it is the victims of Marcos’ regime who should be honoured in the cemetery, a shrine to “martyrs, heroes and upstanding Filipinos who served the country with courage and dignity,” the statement said.