Philippines rules out hero's burial for dictator Marcos

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 18, 2011 3:18 AM
Philippines rules out hero's burial for dictator Marcos

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine President Benigno Aquino has decided not to allow the body of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos to be buried in a cemetery for national heroes in Manila, his spokesman said on Saturday.

Ricky Carandang, head of the presidential communications development and strategic planning, told Reuters the president had yet to decide whether Marcos would be granted military honors when he is buried in Ilocos Norte, his home province.

After two decades in power, Marcos was toppled in an army-backed popular uprising in 1986 that swept Corazon Aquino, the mother of the current president, to power.

Marcos died in exile in Hawaii in 1989. His widow, Imelda, brought the preserved body back to the Philippines in the 1990s and his family had sought a hero's burial with full military honors, based his World War Two service and as a president.

"The president has said a hero's burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Manila is out of the question," Carandang said, referring to the national heroes' cemetery in the capital, an equivalent to Washington's Arlington cemetery.

"The only issue we're trying to resolve is whether Marcos deserves military honors as a former soldier. He was an army major during the Second World War."

Aquino's vice president, Jejomar Binay, had recommended a military ceremony at Marcos's burial in Ilocos Norte after he asked Filipinos, through emails and mobile phone text messages, to help decide the issue.

(Reporting by Manny Mogato; Editing by John Mair)