Philippines: Human rights activists urge court to order exhumation of former dictator’s remains

Ferdinand Marcos, whose rule was marked by massive rights violations and plunder, was ousted by a largely nonviolent army-backed uprising in 1986.

By: AP | Manila | Published:November 21, 2016 12:29 pm
Philippines, Philippines dictator, Ferdinand Marcos, Marcos remains, dictator remains exhumation, world news, latest news, indian express Activists hold documents after filing a petition at the Supreme Court seeking to hold the Marcos’ heirs and officials in contempt for carrying out the burial even before the highest court had heard final appeals against it. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

Human rights victims who suffered during the regime of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos filed petitions Monday asking the Supreme Court to order the exhumation of his remains that were buried last week at the country’s Heroes’ Cemetery. They also want the court to hold his heirs and officials involved in contempt for carrying out the burial before the court had heard final appeals against it.

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Left-wing former lawmaker Saturnino Ocampo and other activists urged the court to hold Marcos’ widow Imelda, their three children, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and two military officials in contempt for “the hasty, shady and tricky” burial on Friday of the long-dead president at the Heroes’ Cemetery.

They should be fined and detained for mocking the legal process that gave petitioners 15 days to appeal the court’s Nov. 8 ruling allowing the burial, the petition said.

Opposition Rep. Edcel Lagman, who represents another group of petitioners, sought a court order to have the remains exhumed “because the hasty and surreptitious interment was premature, void and irregular.”

He asked that the remains be examined to determine they are not a wax replica.

The secrecy-shrouded burial at the cemetery reserved for presidents, soldiers and national artists shocked democracy advocates and human rights victims, prompting street protests across Manila and in other cities.

Marcos, whose rule was marked by massive rights violations and plunder, was ousted by a largely nonviolent army-backed uprising in 1986. At the height of the political turbulence, he flew to Hawaii, where he lived with his wife and children until he died in 1989.

Groups opposed to the burial called for a national day of protest on Friday at Manila’s Rizal Park and in other parts of the country. Organizers called on Filipinos to protest against the burial of Marcos in the cemetery and to hold President Rodrigo Duterte accountable for allowing the burial and the Supreme Court for obscuring “the crimes of the dictator.”